Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza Elected to the Hall of Fame

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The 2016 induction class of the Baseball Hall of Fame was announced Wednesday evening and we have two inductees: Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza. Two of the greatest players of the 1990s and 2000s are on their way to Cooperstown.

Players must be named on 75% of the Baseball Writers Association of America’s ballots to get in. Griffey was named on 99.3% of the ballots, which is an all-time record, topping Tom Seaver’s 98.8% in 1992. Piazza was named on 83%. Non-inductees of note include Jeff Bagwell at 71.6% and Tim Raines at 69.8%, each of whom stand an excellent chance of being inducted next year. The full results can be seen here.

Others not making the cut include Trevor Hoffman (67.3%), Curt Schilling (52.3 %), Roger Clemens (45.2%), Barry Bonds (44.3%), Edgar Martinez (43.4 %), Mike Mussina ( 43%), Alan Trammell (40.9%) and Lee Smith (34.1  %). This was Trammell’s last year of eligibility. He will now be the business of the Veterans Committee.

Players who fell off the ballot due to not having the requisite 5% to stay on: Jim Edmonds, Nomar Garciaparra, Mike Sweeney, David Eckstein, Jason Kendall, Garret Anderson, Brad Ausmus, Luis Castillo, Troy Glaus, Mark Grudzielanek, Mike Hampton, Mike Lowell and Randy Winn.

We’ll have continued updates on today’s Hall of Fame vote throughout the evening and in the coming days. In the meantime, congratulations to Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza.

Report: Dodgers talking to the Rays about Erasmo Ramirez

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 16:  Erasmo Ramirez #30 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches during the first inning of a game against the Chicago White Sox on April 16, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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The Dodgers have talked to the Rays about pitcher Erasmo Ramirez, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. With a slew of ailing pitchers, the Dodgers are on the prowl for starting pitching help.

While Ramirez has made only one start and 30 relief appearances for the Rays this season, the Dodgers believe he could pitch four or five innings if needed. The right-hander currently sports a 3.75 ERA with a 36/12 K/BB ratio in 50 1/3 innings.

Ramirez, 26, is earning $2.375 million this season. He’ll have three more years of arbitration eligibility before being eligible to hit free agency after the 2019 season.

Royals place Lorenzo Cain on the disabled list with a strained hamstring

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 6: Lorenzo Cain #6 of the Kansas City Royals reacts after grounding out to end the top of the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 6, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The Royals placed outfielder Lorenzo Cain on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports. The club recalled outfielder Brett Eibner from Triple-A Omaha.

Cain injured his hamstring running out an infield grounder in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s game. Jarrod Dyson replaced him in center field. Cain hits the DL batting .290/.336/.416 with eight home runs and 39 RBI in 307 plate appearances. It’s a step down from his All-Star caliber performance last year, which helped the Royals win the World Series.

The Royals have been bit hard by the injury bug this year. Mike Moustakas, Kris Medlen, Tim Collins, Mike Minor, and Jason Vargas are all on the disabled list

Phillies prospect Mark Appel underwent season-ending elbow surgery

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 12:  Mark Appel #26 of the U.S. Team throws a pitch against the World Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at the Great American Ball Park on July 12, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Phillies pitching prospect Mark Appel underwent surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. He’ll miss the rest of the season, but is expected to be ready for spring training next year.

The Phillies acquired Appel, along with Vincent Velasquez, Brett Oberholtzer, Harold Arauz, and Thomas Eshelman this past offseason in the Ken Giles trade. The Astros selected him first overall in the 2013 draft.

This season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Appel put up a 4.46 ERA with a 34/20 K/BB ratio in 38 1/3 innings. He hadn’t started since May 22 as he was on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder. MLB Pipeline rated him the Phillies’ fourth-best prospect.

Kelsie Whitmore signs with the Sonoma Stompers, an independent league team

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Update #2 (6:19 PM EDT):

Update (5:50 PM EDT): As noted by reader Alex on Twitter, Eri Yoshida pitched in the Golden and North American Leagues from 2010-12, so Whitmore is not the first woman to play pro baseball nor are the Stompers the first co-ed baseball team as claimed in the Stompers’ press release. Still, it’s very cool.

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The Sonoma Stompers, an independent league team in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs, announced the signing of 17-year-old pitcher/outfielder Kelsie Whitmore on Wednesday. The Stompers will be the first co-ed professional baseball team since the 1950’s in the Negro Leagues.

The Stompers are also expected to sign Stacy Piagno, 25, who is a pitcher/infielder, the club announced earlier this week. Both Whitmore and Piagno will play for Team USA in the Women’s Baseball World Cup, held in South Korea this September.

Kudos to the Stompers for helping pave the way for more inclusivity in baseball. Despite the retrograde whining from sexist men, there’s no reason a talented woman can’t compete in pro ball with the guys. And kudos to Whitmore and Piagno as well, for being the face of women’s inclusion in baseball. Hopefully, Whitmore and Piagno inspire many more women and female-identifying people to play sports and fight for inclusion.

If the Stompers sound familiar, it’s because they made headlines in April for letting Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus and Ben Lindbergh of FiveThirtyEight run the ballclub last year, which they chronicled in a book called The Only Rule Is It Has to Work. The Stompers also have Sean Conroy, who last year became the first openly gay player in professional baseball.