The Hall of Fame voting results will be announced today at 3PM. You can get your info either by following the Baseball Writers Association of America Twitter feed, going to their website or watching the announcement live on the MLB Network or at MLB.com (the MLB show starts at 2PM, but the announcement won’t be until 3).
Note: someone always announces it on Twitter, like, two minutes before any of those outlets announce it. Some dude who is hooking up — say — Barry Larkin’s microphone. Someone who spends their day instant messaging the guy who has to actually update the BBWAA website knows. Information wants to be free. And as we’ve noted, that information is almost certainly going to be that Barry Larkin is elected and no one else is.
Anyway, we’ve kind of beaten the Hall of Fame politics to death around here these past couple of weeks because, really, what the hell else was there to talk about? But let’s see if there’s still some life in that horse by reading Colin Wyers’ latest at Baseball Prospectus. It’s pretty thought-provoking.
The upshot: Colin takes aim at something Rob Neyer said recently about how it’s OK to think through things like Jeff Bagwell’s suitability for the Hall of Fame. Rob talked about how suspicions — even if thin or baseless — still have to be contended with somehow, so better to take the time to consider it all. Colin agrees with the idea of considering things, but doesn’t think there’s much to consider in this instance.
Then he says two interesting things that those of you who like to argue about steroids probably need to contend with in some way:
- “… if we look at players who have actually been identified as taking steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs—either through the Mitchell report or suspension by MLB—they aren’t any bigger than the average player. The average PEDuser was 73 inches tall and 193 pounds. The average MLB player over the same time span was 74 inches, 195 pounds.” and
- “… the increase in home run rates for shortstops and designated hitters was essentially identical.”
I don’t consider that to be definitive of anything as opposed to being merely neat. But this does all go back to what I’ve been saying forever: PED users really don’t fit a profile, and scrutinizing the big power hitters in ways we don’t scrutinize pitchers and middle infielders has no basis in fact or reason. Either ignore it all or suspect and judge them all, but at least do it equally.
It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:
In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.
Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.
Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.
The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.
The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.
Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.