Fun things — and some not so fun things — from today’s voting results beyond the names we talked about already:
- Falling off the ballot because they didn’t receive 5%: Bernie Williams, Kenny Lofton, Sandy Alomar Jr.,Julio Franco, David Wells, Steve Finley, Shawn Green, Aaron Sele, Jeff Cirillo,Royce Clayton, Jeff Conine, Roberto Hernandez, Ryan Klesko, Jose Mesa, Reggie Sanders, Mike Stanton, Todd Walker, Rondell White, Woody Williams. Lofton deserved longer consideration. I really don’t think any of the other guys have an argument.
- Earning a vote for reasons that are clear only to the person who cast it: Aaron Sele. Really, who thinks Aaron Sele deserved a vote? For that matter, on what planet does Sandy Alomar, Jr. get 16 votes?
- Fun but sad: Curt Schilling only got 38.8% of the vote, which was a travesty. But hey, Schilling’s number was 38, so it was kinda appropriate.
- Gainers among the guys who actually stand a chance one day: Raines and Bagwell. Raines jumped from 48.7% to 52.2%. Bagwell from 56.0% to 59.6%. I think they’ll eventually make it, but it may take a few years.
- Sorry, you missed your window: Fred McGriff, Lee Smith and Alan Trammell. McGriff went from 23.9% in 2012 to 20.7% in 2013. Smith went from 50.6% to 47.8%. Trammell went from 36.8% to 33.6%. Each of those guys would require a Jack Morris-style surge in order to make it but they’re going in the wrong direction and time is running out.
- The holdover PED guys: Mark McGwire sunk from 19.5% to 16.9%. Rafael Palmeiro went from 12.6% to 8.8%. It’s never gonna happen and Palmeiro may fall off next year.
- A guy with time and little support who may yet have a shot: Larry Walker. He only has 21.6%, down from 22.9% last year. But I feel like we haven’t had a big conversation about him yet and he could very well see a Tim Raines-style jump in voter consciousness once the PED stuff begins to settle down in a couple of years.
There’s a lot more fun to be gleaned from the results. Check them out at the BBWAA site. Assuming Geocities isn’t down, anyway.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.