Dave Cameron of Fangraphs has a great post up that looks at the historical standards for the Hall of Fame and notes that Hall of Fame voters are being way, way, way harder on the current crop of candidates than their predecessors ever were on past candidates.
Specifically: typically, between 1% and 2% of major league players born each decade make it to the Hall of Fame. The players born in the 1960s are just about to make room for players born in the 1970s on the ballot and, at present, about .1% of them have been inducted. If you assume that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Randy Johnson, Frank Thomas, Craig Biggio, Ken Griffey Jr. and Mariano Rivera will all make it, that’s still only .3% of the 1960s crop. Yes, PED-associated players cut into the number as they are most represented by players born in the 60s, but there are not enough of them — at least not enough of them for whom there is actual evidence of PED use — to account for the shortfall.
Cameron makes a strong argument that voters need to stop being idealistic about the Hall of Fame and holding its candidates to higher standards than players from the previous century were held. To start actually “putting Hall of Famers in the Hall of Fame.” That, even if voters don’t think the PED guys should go in, the best of the non-PED guys should go in so that the era in which these players played is properly represented. So that the Hall of Fame does not make it appear as though baseball was not played at an elite level from the 1980s through the early 2000s.
It all makes sense to me.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.
Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.
The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.
Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.
The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.
He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.