Rob Neyer does some back-of-the-envelope figuring and determines that, come 2014, there may be 21 Hall of Fame-quality players on the ballot. Most of them will be kept out because of PED prejudice, but will garner enough support to where it will likely erode support for the non-PED users who are viewed by many as lesser candidates. Backlog city. Rob goes on:
Has anyone even begun to consider the implications? Has the Hall of Fame’s board of directors considered the implications? Have the BBWAA’s Hall of Fame voters considered the implications of having more than 20 strong Hall of Fame candidates on the ballot?
The only way to break through this logjam is to start electing more than one or two candidates every year. And the only way to elect more than one or two per year is to reconsider this infantile, ahistorical, asinine version of morality that seems to have quite suddenly afflicted a huge percentage of the voters.
Yep. And as we discussed this morning, no one in a position to do anything about it seems to care.
Rob is not pessimistic about it, though. He thinks something will give, be it a current Hall of Famer being revealed to be a PED user, one PED guy sneaking in past the goalie or whatever. I hope he’s right.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.