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.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.