Jack Morris missed out on the Hall of Fame for the 15th and final time a little over two weeks ago. For someone who came so close — within eight percent of the 75 percent threshold in 2013 balloting — it might seem frustrating, but it sounds more like a relief to Jack Morris. Morris, though, says he is tired of being under the microscope. Via Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press:
“I’m relieved,” Morris said. “I’m glad. I’m tired of getting scrutinized by writers.”
“Fifteen years ought to be long enough for anybody, you know?” Morris said. “If it’s not going to happen in 15 years, it’s not going to happen.”
Morris can still enter the Hall of Fame starting in December 2016, if the Veterans Committee deems him worthy. It’s hard to see Morris getting snubbed again by the Veterans Committee, particularly since Gil Hodges is the only player to get more than 50 percent of the vote to not eventually get into the Hall of Fame, according to Tom Tango. Tony Oliva had the second-highest vote percentage among snubs at 47 percent.
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.