The inner circle Hall of Fame

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The other day we talked about unanimous and first ballot Hall of Famers. That’s fun to talk about even if there is no formal designation or greater honor for Hall of Famers who got in on their first try and those who didn’t.

Also fun to talk about despite it’s lack of true significance: “inner-circle” Hall of Famers.  Those who are the best-of-the-best and would make it in even if every Hall of Fame voter adhered to the standards set by the strictest of their number.

Graham Womack of Baseball: Past and Present wanted to get a list of the inner-circle Hall of Famers, so he had readers vote. He took the top 50 and presents the results today.

I won’t spoil it for you. You’ll have to go read it. I will tell you Jim Rice fans, however, that you may be somewhat unhappy.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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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.