Barry Larkin

Could … no one get elected to the Hall of Fame this year?

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Over at ESPN David Schoenfield points out something interesting. That while we’re all assuming that Barry Larkin — who got 62% of the vote last year — will be pushed over 75% of the vote and into the Hall of Fame this year, it’s not a mortal lock. At least if you look at the historic gains players who have notched 60%+ of the vote year-by-year have received:

While [being over 60% last year] is a positive sign for Larkin, as you can see from the above chart, not all the players made it immediately upon reaching 60 percent. The average percentage gain in election year for those 12 was 10.8 percent, so if Larkin receives that increase, he’ll fall just short.

Schoenfield thinks — as do I — that Larkin will top 75% this year and make it.  But man, I am sort of hung up on the possibility that he won’t now. Maybe I’m just overly prone to suggestion this morning.

Anyway, I’m wondering what it would mean for the Hall of Fame if we have a year — like we had back in 1996 — with no one elected.  This is especially intriguing in light of all of the worthy candidates that the Hall voters appear to be poised to pass on for now and the foreseeable future due to steroids stuff. It’s going to be bad enough a year from now when we’ll have likely established that the Hall of Fame has kept out the best hitter (Bonds) and pitcher (Clemens) of a generation.

If they’re also passing up guys like Larkin, I’ll really start to struggle to see the point of the place.

Justin Verlander: “I’d like to see the AL and NL have the same rules… I vote NL rules.”

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 10:  Starting pitcher Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on August 10, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”

Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:

To that, Archer said:

For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.

Rusney Castillo disappoints again by not running out a routine grounder

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 18:  Rusney Castillo #38 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after he was caught off third base for the third out of the third inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on August 18, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox inked Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract back in August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:

“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”

Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.

That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.