mcgwire-101020

The best Hall of Fame column I’ve read so far

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It’s Ken Davidoff’s.  And while I really like his selections — Roberto Alomar, Jeff Bagwell, Bert Blyleven, Kevin Brown, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Mark McGwire, Tim Raines, Alan Trammell and Larry Walker — I like his reasoning and explanation better.

Among many other bits of goodness, Davidoff points out how important the five-year waiting period is for players. He does this by noting that, as many other have noted, Kevin Brown was a tremendous ass while he played, but how in five years it was a lot easier to separate that from the consideration of his Hall case. It’s understandable when guys in the media get miffed at players who make it hard for them to do their job. It’s not cool when that is held against the player forever. Davidoff seems to get this better than most.

Also nice: Davidoff’s take on how to weigh the contributions of power hitters in the high-octane 90s. Money quote:

There’s concern that we’re going to honor every hitter fortunate enough to go deep a few times over the last 20 years or so. I don’t view it that way. Thanks to comparable stats like WAR and OPS+, we can measure players against their contemporaries and act accordingly.

There are many voters who have basically thrown their hands up in frustration, seemingly unable to tell the difference between the Jeff Bagwells and the Rico Brognas of the world. Davidoff puts lie to that silly notion.  He also once again deftly explains his stance on PED use and the Hall, which he did last year when he first voted for McGwire.

Like I’ve said before: it’s not helpful to say that any BBWAA member’s votes are wrong or stupid or what have you. It is helpful to critique approaches, however. Though my ballot wouldn’t be exactly like Davidoff’s — I’d be inclined to wait on Brown and Walker — his approach is unassailable.

Nice work, Ken.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.

I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.

I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.

As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.

There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
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Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.

With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.