Two simple changes to the Hall of Fame ballot

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We usually reserve all of our Hall of Fame arguing for late December and early January when we can devote sufficient time to the obnoxiousness that requires, but any time is a good time really.

Today Jim Caple has a suggestion to improve the process:  (1) eliminate the 15-years-on-the-ballot rule; and (2) eliminate the if-you-don’t-get-five-percent-of-the-vote-you’re-dropped rule.

I’m definitely in favor of the second one, as I’ve never understood its purpose.  If we can see players go from very little support in the early years of their candidacy to ultimately being elected, why does it matter how low their vote total is in the early years?  If they simply have no support, they won’t be clogging anyone’s ballot for multiple years and eventually even the hardcore voters will stop voting for lost causes.  Make it like, a bunch of years with sub-five percent before doing it.  Who knows what make us reevaluate someone’s candidacy over time?  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to talk about Lou Whitaker now?

I’m not as sure on the 15-year thing, because it can prevent someone getting moderate though not overwhelming support from clogging things up.  We’ll see this more in the coming years when half the voters refuse to vote for the steroid guys and gridlock results.  Still, I’m not adamant in opposing such a thing and could be persuaded because there still is an arbitrary feeling to the rule.

This would all be fun to debate.  Too bad the folks that run the Hall of Fame never seem all that interested in joining in that debate.

Yankees sign top two draft picks

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The Yankees signed first-round draft pick Clarke Schmidt and second-round pick Matt Sauer on Saturday, per a team announcement. Schmidt, a right-hander from the University of South Carolina, is set to earn a signing bonus of $2,184,300. According to MLB.com’s Oliver Macklin, that’s much lower than the typical $3+ million allocated for a No. 16 overall pick. The opposite is true for Sauer, whose projected $2.5 million signing bonus tops the suggested $1.2 million reserved for a No. 54 pick.

Schmidt, 21, boasts an impressive four-pitch repertoire and profiles as a front-end or mid-rotation starter, according to reports from Yankees’ VP of Domestic Amateur Scouting Damon Oppenheimer and ESPN’s Keith Law, among others. He carried a 4-2 record through nine starts in 2017 and turned in a 1.34 ERA before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery last month to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow. While the Yankees won’t see him pitch at any level until late 2018, they seem confident in his makeup and ability to rebound over the next couple of years.

Fellow right-hander and Righetti High School senior Matt Sauer is a different story altogether. The 18-year-old hurler appears destined for the bullpen with a polished fastball-slider combo and a promising curveball and changeup. He dazzled on the mound this year, going 9-1 with an 0.98 ERA and two shutouts over 78 1/3 innings. While the Yankees seem most interested in his pitching skills, Sauer showed some pop at the plate as well, touting a .427 average with 24 RBI through 135 plate appearances.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.