The fine baseball writing gentlemen of the Chicago Tribune published their Hall of Fame ballots Saturday, and what a job they did. All seven of the voters agreed that Roberto Alomar was a Hall of Famer, yet not a one picked Jeff Bagwell.
And what’s especially brilliant is not a one would admit docking him for believing he was a steroid user. Phil Rogers didn’t think “his resume was quite strong enough.” Several declined to mention him at all.
Bagwell, of course, needs to be named on 75 percent of ballots to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame. The current guess is that he’ll be lucky to clear 40 percent. That’s not so bad; most players who debut at 30 percent or higher eventually are elected. However, if Bagwell doesn’t make it this year or next, he’s going to be knocked down in 2013 and 2014 by the glut of strong candidates set to debut.
So, yeah, barring some eventual evidence of steroid usage, Bagwell will be a Hall of Famer. But while his production justifies a first-ballot induction, all signs point to a long wait.
Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.
Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list
Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.
Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.
Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).
While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.