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Hall of Fame case for Joe Carter

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On Monday, December 9, the Today’s Game committee of the Baseball Hall of Fame, which covers the years 1988-2018 — will vote on candidates for the 2019 induction class. Between now and then we will take a look at the ten candidates, one-by-one, to assess their Hall worthiness.

Next up: Joe Carter

The case for his induction:

We are men of action. Lies do not become us. I am not going to sit here and try to make a compelling case for Joe Carter making the Hall of Fame when, in reality, I think he’s the weakest of the ten candidates on the Today’s Game ballot this year. But I will say what good happened in his career.

It starts, obviously, with one of the most famous home runs in baseball history. The 1993 World Series-winning walkoff homer. It was a fantastic baseball moment that will ensure that Carter is never forgotten. You likely already know all about it, but it’s always worth reading about some more. Go do that here, among any other places. Or just watch it:

Beyond his greatest moment on the field — TOUCH ‘EM ALL, JOE! — Carter hit 396 homers, drove in at least 100 runs 10 times and made five All-Star teams. He finished in the top five in the MVP race twice (1991 and 1992). He was as durable as all get-out, playing in 162 games for three straight seasons and playing in 140 games or more in nine straight seasons. He was a pretty good player.

 

The case against his induction: 

While Jack Morris proved that one big World Series game can get a guy into the Hall of Fame, it’s no guarantee. Beyond that, being merely good does not get you into the Hall of Fame most of the time.

Despite his durability and despite some homers and some triple-digit RBI totals, Carter had almost no on-base skills (.306 career OBP, .259 career batting average) and was a serious, serious drag on defense, ending his career with an eye-popping -86 fielding runs below average. He shines under no other defensive metrics either, and was universally hailed as a bad fielder.

Carter could hit a home run, but there was not much else there and, due to his one-dimensional offensive game and terrible defense, he was a below average player even in some of his best seasons. He was sub-replacement level in several years in which he hit 20 homers or more and, for his career, he finished with 19.6 WAR. That ties him for 925th on the all-time list with Royce Clayton, Greg Jeffries, Carlos Baerga and five or six guys you probably haven’t heard of. Colby Rasmus and Kurt Suzuki are above him on the list. You can quibble with WAR and what it means, but I don’t think anyone being honest could find any sort of statistical measure that would make Joe Carter a Hall of Famer.

 

Would I vote for him?

Oh god no.

 

Will the Committee vote for him?

There’s this notion floating out there that Carter was way more respected during his career and that he only looks bad now due to some tyranny of advanced analytics. This is hogwash. Carter’s career ended after the 1998 season and he hit the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot in December 2003. BBWAA voters — who had not by any stretch of the imagination embraced advanced analytics by then and judged players by far more traditional means — gave Carter just 3.8% of the vote. Then, as now, Carter was not seen as a Hall of Famer and, if anything, advances in baseball knowledge in the past 15 years make him appear to be even less of one.

While it is true that the Veterans Committee is no bastion of sabermetrics, it’s hard to see what they or anyone else could latch onto in making a case for Carter. If they did do so and he got inducted, it would be a massive, massive shock.

But we still have 1993, right?

New York Yankees roster and schedule for 2020

Yankees roster and schedule
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The 2020 season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. First up: The New York Yankees roster and schedule:

YANKEES ROSTER (projected) 

When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.

In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Yankees roster to begin the season:

Catchers

Gary Sánchez
Kyle Higashioka

Infielders:

Luke Voit
Mike Ford
DJ LeMahieu
Gio Urshela
Miguel Andújar
Gleyber Torres
Tyler Wade

Outfielders

Aaron Judge
Aaron Hicks
Giancarlo Stanton
Brett Gardner
Mike Tauchman

Starters

Gerrit Cole
Masahiro Tanaka
James Paxton
J.A. Happ
Jordan Montgomery
Jonathan Loaisiga

Relievers

Aroldis Chapman
Zack Britton
Adam Ottavino
Chad Green
Tommy Kahnle
Luis Cessa
Jonathan Holder
Tyler Lyons
David Hale


BREAKDOWN:

It’s weird to say this but the delay to the season due to the pandemic actually helped the Yankees a fair amount. Because of new injuries and extended rehab from older injuries, the very injured 2019 New York Yankees were poised to begin the regular season with many key players on the injured list, including Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, and James Paxton, among others. It’s not 100% clear if all of those guys will be back and at full strength when the club starts play next week, but Stanton and Paxton seem like a go right now and Judge and Hicks are ramping up.

Obviously the biggest change for 2020, though, is Gerrit Cole, the Yankees big free agent acquisition last winter. Adding arguably the game’s best starter will take a lot of pressure off of the other guys in the rotation and ease the workload of a bullpen that, however deep and talented it is, could still use a break here and there.

With health, hopefully, not the concern it was back in March or last year, we’re left with a Yankees team that (a) has one of the most loaded lineups in the game; (b) features a much-improved rotation with a clear and solid top-four; and (c) has fantastic bullpen talent and depth. Last year’s team, despite all of the injuries, won 103 games. This year’s team is considered the favorite in the American League and, by extension, in all of baseball.

YANKEES SCHEDULE:

Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.

Yankees home stands will be July 29-Aug. 2 (Phillies, Red Sox), Aug. 11-20 (Braves, Red Sox, Rays), Aug. 28-Sept. 2 (Mets, Rays), Sept. 10-17 (Orioles, Blue Jays) and Sept. 25-27 (Marlins). Their rivalry games against the Red Sox will be July 31-Aug. 2 (Yankee Stadium), Aug. 14-17 (Yankee Stadium) and Sept. 18-20 (Fenway Park). Rivalry games against the Mets will be played Aug. 21-23 (Citi Field) and Aug. 28-30 (Yankee Stadium).

The entire Yankees roster and schedule can be seen here.