Friday, December 8, 2023

The Worst Red Sox Team of All Time Pt. 27: Urbane Pickering

Failure is often even more fascinating than success. I am definitely intrigued by the 1932 Boston Red Sox, the worst Red Sox team of all time. The team finished with a record of 43-111, for a winning percentage of .279 and very little went right.

Well, at least Pickering has an interesting name.  Unfortunately, there is not much out there to say about the player.  Pickering spent a long time playing for various minor league teams around the country.  Until the Red Sox came calling in 1931.  By that time, Pickering was already in his early 30's.

Pickering played in 103 games in his first taste of the Major Leagues, primarily at third base, but also appearing at second.  He actually had a decent season, hitting .252/.318/.393 with 13 doubles, four triples, nine home runs, 52 RBIs and three stolen bases.  It made for a 91 OPS+, which is not good, but was fourth on the team.  

1932 saw Pickering as the team's primary third-baseman.  He played in 132 games, 126 of them at third and one at catcher shockingly enough.  He had a similar year offensively, hitting .260/.320/.357, but his power was significantly down.  He hit just two home runs, but had 28 doubles and five triples.  He drove in 40.  The problem moving forward was that his defense was not good.  He made 21 errors and had a .941 fielding percentage.  That is not good.

Pickering never played in the Majors after 1932.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Season in Review: 2023

The Red Sox finished in last place once again in 2023.  This is the second year in a row for that finish.  Their record was an identical 78-84 under Alex Cora.  The year was marked primarily by inconsistency from the offense and injuries to the pitching staff.  Before the end of the season, CBO Chaim Bloom was relieved of his duties and former reliever Craig Breslow was eventually hired on.  Hopefully there will be some improvement in 2024.


Devers signed a massive extension prior to the season, which was almost a necessity after the Red Sox lost Xander Bogaerts to free agency.  Devers had what was perceived to be a down season in 2023, but still won his second Silver Slugger Award.  He hit .271/.351/.500 with 33 home runs, 100 RBIs, 34 doubles and 90 runs scored.  If that's a down season, I am thrilled he will spend most of the rest of his career in Boston.

It should not be at all surprising that I fit Wong in here.  This was the Year of Wong in my collection.  Most of the rest of the team took a backseat to my collecting Wong and he is just outside the top five players I have the most cards of.  Wong proved to be a reliable defender behind the plate and hit just enough to edge out the incumbent Reese McGuire for starting catcher.  He ended the season hitting .235/.288/.385 with nine home runs, 36 RBIs, 25 doubles and a surprising eight stolen bases as a catcher.  Hopefully he takes another step forward next season.

Bello emerged as the top starting pitcher on the team in 2023 after an uneven rookie season that saw him improve as the season progressed.  He ended up leading the team in games started (28) and innings pitched (157).  He was also the team's top winner, finishing with a record of 12-11.  Bello struck out 132 batters while walking 45 and had an ERA of 4.24.  He still experienced some growing pains, but looks like a legitimate starter going forward.

Pivetta had an inconsistent season that saw him perform in a variety of roles.  He started 16 games while finishing three.  He pitched in 38 games total and threw 142.2 innings.  He had a 10-9 record and even notched a save.  Pivetta was the team's top strikeout pitcher, notching 183, against 50 walks.  It is difficult to say what Pivetta's role will be going forward, but he has proven to be a valuable pitcher for the Red Sox ever since his acquisition during the 2020 season.  

Probably the biggest surprise of the 2023 season was the development of Duran.  He had always put up terrific numbers in the minors, but largely struggled in the Majors.  Especially defensively.  But 2023 saw Duran put it all together finally, before an injury ended his season.  He ended up playing in 102 games and hit .295/.346/.482 with 34 doubles, eight home runs, 40 RBIs and leading the team with 24 stolen bases.  The Red Sox have seemingly cleared the way for Duran to be the starting center fielder in 2024.  Hopefully he builds on this.


Crawford was an under-the-radar success as a starting pitcher in 2023.  He appeared in 31 games, starting 23 and threw 129.1 innings.  He had a record of 6-8, but his 4.04 ERA led the starting staff.  His stuff was even better.  He struck out 135 batters while walking just 36.  Crawford is not really a star, but for a bottom-rotation pitcher, there are a lot worse options.

For a time, Winckowski was one of the top relievers in the game.  Overuse caused his numbers to dip a bit in the second half, but it was a massively successful season for the top player received in the Benintendi deal before the 2021 season.  Winckowski appeared in a team-high 60 games, throwing 84.1 innings.  He did start a game as an opener.  Winckowski had a record of 4-4 with three saves and a sparkling 2.88 ERA.  He struck out 82 batters while walking 31.  

Houck was a former first-round pick and yet another pitcher who appeared in a variety of roles over the last couple of years.  In 2023, Houck settled in as a starter, but had some difficulty going late in games.  He was also set back by some injuries.  His final numbers were a record of 6-10 with a 5.01 ERA in 106 innings pitched.  He struck out 99 and walked 41.  Houck is probably getting close to a crossroads in his career.


Boston's only All Star in 2023 was new closer Jansen.  Jansen had one of the bigger career milestones in 2023 as he saved his 400th game, making him look like an eventual Hall of Famer.  He had some minor injury issues, but by and large was as advertised.  He appeared in 51 games and saved 29 of them.  He had a record of 3-6 with a 3.63 ERA that was inflated by a couple of really bad outings.  He struck out 52 and walked 17 in 44.2 innings.

I have long liked Justin Turner, so I was pretty excited when he signed with Boston to be the primary designated hitter.  The red-haired caveman was a great influence in the clubhouse and appeared at first and second base as well as DH.  He also put up some impressive offensive numbers, hitting .276/.345/.455 with 23 home runs, 31 doubles, 86 runs scored and 96 RBIs.  It would be nice to see him back in 2024.

Early in the season it looked like Duvall would put up an absolutely monstrous campaign.  Unfortunately, he got hurt early and took a bit to get going again when he came back.  As it was, Duvall ended up hitting .247/.303/.531 with 21 home runs and 58 RBIs while playing very good defense.  Duvall is another player who is currently a free agent who could help in some capacity in 2024.

I am still waiting on a card of Martin (would you believe he hasn't had one since 2020?!), who was perhaps the best reliever in the league not named Felix Bautista.  Martin appeared in 55 games, throwing 51.1 innings with a microscopic 1.05 ERA and 4-1 record.  He saved three games, striking out 46 with just eight walks.  Martin was fantastic in 2023 and really should receive more notoriety than he has in his career.


The Red Sox did not do much at the trading deadline.  The only deal they made was for second-baseman Urias after being rumored to be in the hunt for starting pitching or for shopping various players.  Urias made an immediate impact in Boston, hitting two grand slams very quickly.  He did not do much other than that and ended up hitting just .225/.361/.337 with two home runs and 13 RBIs.  He has since been traded to the Mariners.


Casas had a brutal start to the 2023 season.  For the first month, he was hitting under .200.  But, like Dustin Pedroia, who similarly struggled in his rookie season, Casas eventually figured it out and ended up putting together a terrific rookie campaign.  It was enough to finish third in the Rookie of the Year vote.  Casas ended up hitting .263/.367/.490 with 24 home runs and 65 RBIs.  He is a big part of the future of the team.

The Macho Man was not a conventional rookie, having come over from a successful career in Japan.  He started the year making a big name for himself in the World Baseball Classic, and it was this added to the strain of a much more intense travel schedule than he was used, that led him to slump badly at times.  Still, his season was a success as he hit .289/.338/.445 with 155 hits, 33 doubles and 72 RBIs.  His power was one of the things that was questioned, but he hit 15 home runs.  He even stole eight bases.  Now that he knows how to better prepare for the season, it will be interesting to see how he reacts in 2024.


When Verdugo was acquired as the main piece in the Mookie Betts trade, it was hoped that he would develop into a .300 hitter with 20-homer power.  Unfortunately, after his fourth season in Boston, he still has yet to tap into that potential.  There have been glimpses of what could be, but he struggles with consistency and maturity.  His .264/.324/.421 line with 13 home runs and 54 RBIs was just not cutting it any longer and Boston cut bait and sent him to the Yankees earlier this week.  It is unfortunate because I like Verdugo, and love that he seemed happy in Boston, at least until the second half of this season.  He just seemed to shut down.

It was yet another mostly lost season for Sale.  He ended up having his highest innings total (102.2) since 2019 and started 20 games, but he continued to suffer from injuries.  When he was on the mound, there were times that he looked like his old self.  But his final numbers of 6-5 with a 4.30 ERA are not much to write home about.  He did strike out 125 batters while walking 29, so the swing-and-miss stuff is still there, but his contract has been an expensive flop since signing the extension prior to 2019.  One of my friends frequently points out that I had predicted this even before he was acquired.

It's not like much was expected from the former two-time Cy Young winner, but some semblance of just a reliable starter, as he had been the last couple of seasons would have been nice.  Kluber was an unmitigated disaster in 2023.  He ended up appearing in just 15 games, starting nine, with a record of 3-6 and an unsightly 7.04 ERA in 55 innings.  He struck out just 42 batters while walking 21.  It is hard to imagine him getting a Major League contract in 2024.  

Story spent the entire first half of the season on the Injured List.  He ended up playing in just 43 games in 2023.  He has been hurt more than he has been on the field since signing a big contract prior to 2022.  When he did make it back, he was not good.  He ended up hitting just .203/.250/.316 with three home runs and 14 RBIs, though he did steal ten bases and played fantastic defense.  Hopefully this was just trying to find his rhythm and he will be back to normal in 2024.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

The 2024 Hall of Fame Ballot

First of all, congratulations to Jim Leyland on being named to the Hall of Fame.  The longtime manager of the Pirates, Marlins, Rockies and Tigers had a lifetime record of 1,769-1,728 and led the Pirates to three straight NL East titles.  He also led the Marlins to their first World Championship and led the Tigers to two AL Pennants.  

Once again, I will not be voting this year.  Not because I want to, but because apparently you have to be a member of some organization to do so.  Ridiculous I say. 

So, here's my annual run-down:

TEAMS: Astros, Phillies, Yankees, Dodgers, Mets
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 2x All Star, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Maybe by an Eras Committee?

As I said last year, Abreu has a surprising argument for the Hall of Fame.  It is an analytics-driven case, and by and large, the new breed of voters have been more and more in the vein.  The biggest argument against him is that he was not often considered a star while he was playing, as evidenced by the fact that he only appeared in the All Star Game twice and never finished higher than 12th on the MVP ballot.  Abreu is on his fifth year on the ballot, and after a modest gain last finished at 15.4%.  He's going to need some major support in the coming years to make it in.  

TEAMS: Orioles, Devils Rays, Royals, Pirates, Blue Jays, Braves, Mets, Phillies
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 6x All Star, 3x Silver Slugger
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Probably not.

Man, Bautista had a weird career.  For the first six years of his career, he was a journeyman utility player with a little bit of pop.  Then, he settled in Toronto and, for six seasons, he was an offensive force, finishing in the top ten of the MVP race four times and leading the league in home runs twice.  He even has a signature postseason moment.  But then, he went back to being ordinary.  His career numbers come to .247/.361/.475 with 344 home runs and 975 RBIs.  Certainly impressive numbers, but probably not the type to get him in to Cooperstown.  He definitely deserves to be in the Blue Jays Hall of Fame though.

TEAMS: Royals, Astros, Mets, Giants, Cardinals, Yankees, Rangers
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Rookie of the Year (1999), 9x All Star, 3x Gold Glove, 2x Silver Slugger
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Probably soon, but not this year.

In his first year on the ballot, Beltran received 46.8% of the vote.  There have been examples in the past of players who were penalized for bad acts and then went on to election very quickly, with the most obvious example being Roberto Alomar.  I do not think Beltran's involvement in the Astros cheating scandal will be as easy to wipe away, but I think he could get in in a few years.  If he makes a big gain this year, it could be as soon as next season.  I just do not think he has a 30% increase in him this year.  

TEAMS: Dodgers, Mariners, Red Sox, Rangers
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 4x All Star, 5x Gold Glove, 4x Silver Slugger
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: First-ballot inductee

The only real question is whether Beltre will be unanimous.  I think that is unlikely, there has only been one unanimous inductee, but it is real damn hard to see an argument against voting for him.  As a third-baseman, Beltre elipsed 400 home runs and 3,000 hits.  He finished in the finished in the top ten of the MVP voting six times, including second in 2004.  He had a bit of a down-turn in his career when he played for the Mariners after signing a big deal in 2005, but rejuvenated it with the all-time best one-year stint in Red Sox history.  After that, he went to the Rangers and continued to put up great numbers for the rest of his career.  He is an absolute lock.

TEAMS: White Sox, Marlins, Blue Jays
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 5x All Star, 4x Gold Glove

Buehrle is on his fourth year on the ballot and received just 10.8% of the vote last year.  He does not seem to be gaining any meaningful support among voters, so I think he will likely continue to stagnate on the ballot.  He had a nice career, but his value came more in his durability than any real greatness, as he only once finished in the Cy Young voting, and that was fifth.  The only categories he ever led the league in were mostly games started and innings pitched (and hits allowed).  He certainly belongs in the White Sox Hall of Fame though.  

TEAMS: Indians, Expos, White Sox, Angels, Red Sox, Yankees, Athletics, Mets, Braves, Twins, Rangers
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Cy Young (2005), 4x All Star
IF ELECTED, CAP WOULD BE: Really tough to say, probably blank

Colon was one of the great characters in the league, particularly after a second half career resurgence with the A's and Mets, and was even once a dominant starting pitcher, evidenced by his Cy Young Award in 2005 with the Angels.  That being said, he has one major mark against him, a PED suspension in 2012.  There are historically great players who have been unable to overcome that mark by being elected, so there is no chance that even a mostly lovable player who hung around for a long time will be able to do so.  Colon's career numbers of 247-188, 4.12 ERA and 2,535 strikeouts do not stand out enough to merit election, even if he did not have the suspension.  I really like Colon, but it is hard to imagine him doing more than being able to barely stay on the ballot.      

TEAMS: Rangers, Padres, Red Sox, Dodgers, Mets
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 5x All Star, 4x Gold Glove, 2x Silver Slugger

Gonzalez was a consistent offensive threat for several years and even a great hitter.  That being said, his somewhat brief, 15-year career did not allow for any major career milestones.  His career line of .287/.358/.485 with 317 home runs and 1,202 RBIs are very impressive numbers, just not good enough to merit induction.  He finished in the top ten of MVP balloting three times and led the league in RBIs, hits, games played and walks once each, in separate seasons.  Gonzalez was a very good defensive first-baseman as well, so he does have that rare combination going for him.  Gonzalez had a terrific career, but he just does not rise to the level of Hall of Fame.  I do think he should receive a few votes.  

TEAMS: Rockies
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 5x All Star, 3x Gold Glove, 4x Silver Slugger

Helton made it up to 72.2% of the vote last year.  He looks like a strong bet to make it in this year.  And it is about time.  Helton hit .316/.414/.539 with 369 home runs and 1,406 RBIs and 2,519 hits.  And one can see where the dividing line is between Helton and Gonzalez above.  There was once concern about whether voters would view Helton as a product of Coors Field, and that certainly seems to have delayed his election, but it looks like that is finally waning.

TEAMS: Rockies, Athletics, Cardinals, Yankees
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 7x All Star, 4x Silver Slugger
IF ELECTED, CAP WOULD BE: Cardinals maybe?
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Probably not

Holliday is one of the more underrated candidates on this year's ballot, but that does not mean I think he will get in.  He's just better than I remembered him being.  For his career, Holliday hit .299/.379/.510 with 316 home runs, 1,220 RBIs and 2,096 hits.  He had an incredible 2007 season that saw him finish second in the MVP vote while leading the league in batting average, hits, doubles and RBIs.  I could see him sticking on the ballot, but I doubt he will ever get elected.

TEAMS: Twins, Angels, Tigers
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 5x All Star, 9x Gold Glove, 2x Silver Slugger
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Probably not.

Hunter is in his fourth year on the ballot and only had 6.9% of the vote last year.  With a stacked ballot this year, he is in danger of dropping off the ballot entirely.  Hunter was a dynamic player who probably looked better defensively than he actually was, but might have been a better hitter than he was given credit for.  He hit .277/.331/.461 with 353 home runs, 1,391 RBIs and 2,452 hits.  I could see him eventually becoming an interesting candidate for an Eras Committee, but he will not get elected through the BBWAA.

TEAMS: Braves, Dodgers, Rangers, White Sox, Yankees
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 5x All Star, 10x Gold Glove, Silver Slugger

Jones is in his 7th year on the ballot and made it to 58.1% of the vote, so it looks like he could make it in in the next couple of years.  Jones is a superior candidate to Hunter, with significantly more home runs and historically great defense in center field.  The only thing keeping Jones from election is the memory of the last several years of his career when his offense suddenly evaporated.  He looks like he should get elected before he drops off the ballot.

TEAMS: Indians, Red Sox, Tigers
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 5x All Star, 2x Silver Slugger
IF ELECTED, CAP WOULD BE: Indians probably
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Probably not.

Martinez began his career as a bat-first catcher with Cleveland before eventually his defensive deficiencies caught up with him and he moved to designated hitter full-time by the time he joined the Tigers in 2011.  For his career he hit .295/.360/.455 with 246 home runs and 1,178 RBIs, to go along with 2,153 hits.  He might have had a better chance at the Hall had he stayed behind the plate for his entire career, even though he was not great there.  As it is, for a player who spent half his career as a DH, he did not hit enough to get in. 

TEAMS: Twins
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: MVP (2009), 6x All Star, 3x Gold Glove, 5x Silver Slugger

Mauer could get in on the first ballot.  There is no doubt he will get in eventually, but I think he could sneak in this year.  For ten years as a catcher, Mauer won three batting titles and an MVP award.  And he finished in the top ten of MVP voting three other times.  The only knock against him is that he moved off of catcher and became a somewhat ordinary first-baseman after 2013.  The last five years of his career were nowhere near as impressive and sort of taint the memories of how great he was as a catcher.  His career numbers were .306/.388/.439 with 143 home runs, 923 RBIs and 2,123 hits.  He will get in.

TEAMS: Yankees, Astros
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Probably not.

Pettitte is on his sixth year on the ballot and received just 17% of the vote last year.  I think he could be a candidate on an Eras Committee at some point, but I do not really see it.  Points in Pettitte's favor include his postseason success (19-11 record, 3.81 ERA) and his reasonably high win total (254).  But he has a couple of knocks against him, his career ERA of 3.85 is pretty high, and the big one: he was named specifically on the Mitchell Report.  He claims he was using HGH to heal from an injury, but for the most part, voters do not tend to make much distinction.  It is hard to imagine him getting in unless things change on that front.

TEAMS: Indians, Reds, Braves, Angels, Red Sox
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 3x All Star, 4x Gold Glove, 1x Silver Slugger

Phillips was a very good player and fun to watch, but he is one of the more likely players to not receive a single vote this year.  As a second-baseman, his career numbers of .275/.320/.420 with 211 home runs, 209 stolen bases, 951 RBIs and 2,029 hits, are impressive, but not nearly enough to gain election.  He was a five-tool player though with four Gold Gloves on his resume, as well as a 30/30 season.  But he only had two seasons when he received any MVP support and only made it to three All Star games.  Perhaps if he had not played the bulk of his career in the anonymity of bad Cincinnati Reds teams, we might be having a different discussion, but his 24.1 career WAR is not getting it done.  He is better than I remember, but not enough.  I do want to give mention to the last home run of his career with the Red Sox though.

TEAMS: Indians, Red Sox, Dodgers, White Sox, Rays
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 12x All Star, 9x Silver Slugger
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Maybe by an Eras Committee

Ramirez is on his eighth year on the ballot and received 33.2% of the vote last year.  He just is not making any momentum towards election and only has three years left.  So, he will be left to an Eras Committee.  His career numbers are a no-brainer, but Ramirez has not one, but two, PED suspensions to contend with, and that is just not something feasible with the way that voters look at things right now.  That's a shame, because Ramirez was one of the greatest hitters in history.

TEAMS: Mets, Marlins, Blue Jays, Rockies
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 4x All Star, 1x Silver Slugger

Early in his career, Reyes looked like a potential Hall of Famer.  His speed numbers were electrifying and he typically hit for high averages as well.  He led the league in stolen bases three times, hits once, triples four times and even won a batting title in 2011.  Unfortunately, his speed started to wane and his average went to more pedestrian territory.  His career numbers were a line of .283/.334/.433 with 2,138 hits, 517 stolen bases, 145 home runs and 719 RBIs.  He was a very good, even sometimes great, player, but not good enough for the Hall.

TEAMS: Mariners, Rangers, Yankees
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 3x MVP (2003, 2005, 2007), 14x All Star, 2x Gold Glove, 10x Silver Slugger

The numbers say that A-Rod is one of the greatest players in history.  But, much like Barry Bonds, Rodriguez continues to be on the outside looking in as a result of his admitted usage of PEDs.  He is on record as saying that he used steroids for several years, and he has a very lengthy suspension to his name.  He is on his third year on the ballot and received 35.7% of the vote last year.  He is doing better than Manny Ramirez, but still does not look like he is trending towards election.  He is one of the most blatant PED users, and voters are treating him as such. 

TEAMS: Angels, Mets, Brewers, Orioles, Tigers

The Hall still has very little idea what to do with the one-inning closer.  Mariano Rivera got in unanimously, but Trevor Hoffman took three years to get in and Billy Wagner is still waiting.  Rodriguez is in his second year on the ballot and received 10.8% of the vote last year, but he was an absolutely dominant closer who finished in the top five of Cy Young voting three times and holds the single-season saves record.  For his career, he saved 437 games.  He was not as great as Wagner, and needs to wait until he gets in, but Rodriguez could gain support over the years. 

TEAMS: Phillies, Dodgers, White Sox
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: MVP (2007), 3x All Star, 4x Gold Glove, Silver Slugger
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Probably not.

Rollins is in his third year on the ballot and received 12.9% of the vote last year.  It is tough to say whether he will be able to start building support on a particularly stacked ballot this year.  Rollins has an MVP award to his name, was a big part of a championship Phillies team, and led the league in several categories over the years.  He was also a terrific defensive shortstop.  The major knocks against him are a relatively low OBP for a leadoff hitter, and a mid-career downturn.  It is somewhat hard to imagine him getting in at this rate.

TEAMS: Brewers, Padres, Marlins, Dodgers, Braves, Yankees, Tigers, Mets
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 9x All Star, 5x Silver Slugger
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Possibly at some point by an Eras Committee.

Sheffield is in his last year on the ballot and only received 55% of the vote last year.  I do not see enough of a jump coming for him to make it in this year, so his fate will be left up to an Eras Committee.  The numbers are certainly there for Sheffield to merit induction.  He has similar, but slightly lesser, numbers as Manny Ramirez.  The big knocks against him are the fact that he was an awful defender and his name came up in the BALCO investigation.  He also did not endear himself to many writers during his career.  As it is, Sheffield will be off the ballot one way or the other after this cycle.  I'm guessing he falls short.

TEAMS: Devil Rays/Rays, Royals, Padres, White Sox

Well, it's an honor to be on the ballot.  That is probably the best I can say about Shields here.  Someone has to be the worst player on the ballot and I think that goes to Shields.  His career numbers include a record of 145-139 with a 4.01 ERA and 2,234 strikeouts.  He did finish third in the Cy Young vote in 2011, which was his only All Star appearance, and he was mostly durable, for awhile anyway.  But, when you are most famous for the return a team received for trading you (Fernando Tatis Jr.), there is not much else to say.  He is likely to get shut out.  

TEAMS: Phillies, Dodgers
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 6x All Star, 4x Silver Slugger
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Eventually.

Utley is one of the more interesting cases on the ballot this year.  Analytics love him, with a bWAR of 64.5 at second base, he would seem to be a cinch.  He certainly had a very high peak, but he dropped off significantly afterwards.  His career numbers were .275/.358/.465 with 259 home runs, 1,025 RBIs and 154 stolen bases.  Very good numbers for a second-baseman, but a little disappointing after he started off so well.  Utley's 1,885 hits are also low for a Hall of Famer.  It will be interesting to see what happens.  I think he will get in eventually, but I would be shocked if he made it on the first ballot.

TEAMS: Mariners, Indians, Giants, Rangers, White Sox, Blue Jays
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 3x All Star, 11x Gold Glove
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Probably not.

The voting for Vizquel has certainly been interesting.  On his third year on the ballot, he received 52.6% of the vote and looked well on his way to being elected.  Then, reports came out that showed that he was truly a vile human being and his support has rapidly declined since.  This is his seventh year on the ballot and last year he received just 19.5% of the vote.  It is very unlikely he will make a comeback.  Which doesn't really bother me because I called him the most overrated player on the ballot while he was still getting increased support.  I won't go back over why that is, I covered it several times.

TEAMS: Astros, Phillies, Mets, Red Sox, Braves

Next to Adrian Beltre, Wagner is the player I most want to get elected this year.  Wagner is on his ninth year on the ballot and received 68.1% of the vote last year.  He is very close, but not yet really a lock to get in.  Wagner was a truly dominant reliever, as I have covered before.  The only marks against him are his low innings count (but he was a one-inning reliever, so what do you expect?), and his rough postseason record.  That is mostly tainted by a couple of bad outings, and since he pitched so little, it is pretty easy to have a big impact.  If Trevor Hoffman is in, Wagner should be too.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 7x All Star, 2x Gold Glove, 2x Silver Slugger
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Tough to say.

Wright is an even more extreme case than Utley of peak versus career.  The first ten years of Wright's career looked like a Hall of Famer, but then he declined significantly and was gone within a few more seasons.  His career numbers of .296/.376/.491, 242 home runs and 970 RBIs with 1,777 hits are certainly good numbers, but do not feel like Hall of Fame numbers.  What happens with Wright, and to a lesser extent Utley, could potentially have huge ramifications on how the Eras Committees treat players like Don Mattingly, Nomar Garciaparra and Johan Santana, and how the BBWAA treats Dustin Pedroia.  All of those players had incredibly high peaks, but broke down due to injuries later in their careers.


1.  Adrian Beltre gets in nearly unanimously.  Two voters will not vote for him.

2.  Todd Helton and Billy Wagner squeak in.

3.  Gary Sheffield makes a big gain, but doesn't make it.

4.  Andruw Jones and Carlos Beltran gain big and position themselves for potential election next year.

5.  Chase Utley and Joe Mauer have very strong first years but neither get in this year, both in position to get in next year. 

6.  David Wright has a reasonable first showing, breaking 40%.

7.  All other first-timers drop off the ballot.

8.  Omar Vizquel continues to drop.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Some Random Cards

Hey!  This post will not feature any Connor Wong cards.  I got these cards as extras thrown in in a package with a Connor Wong card.  There was a pile of Red Sox cards and I needed quite a few, because my team collection as a whole has kind of suffered as a result of the big focus on Wong cards.  Eventually I will probably start to catch up.  

1.  Juan Chacon.  Chacon was an international free agent back in 2019 and played in Sarasota in 2023.  He doesn't have much power, and hit just .241, but he did steal 20 bases.  He is the very definition of a lottery pick signee.  Unfortunately, I don't think there is much here.

2.  Alex Verdugo.  I am very disappointed with what happened with Verdugo this season.  He was my pick to break out in 2023 and for the first half of the season, he looked like he was doing just that.  Then, his bat went quiet and he seemed distracted the second half.  Twice, he was benched for not hustling or breaking team rules.  He also made some statements that make me question whether he wants to stay in Boston.  One of the things I liked most about him previously was how happy he seemed to be there, but that seemed to change over night.  He has one year left on his contract, and I do not see any way he will stay in Boston.  I think he will be traded this off-season in fact.  It is very disappointing after he came to Boston with a lot of talent.  I do think he should have won the Gold Glove though.

3.   Matt Barnes.  Barnes had a disappointing end to his career with the Red Sox.  He had some nice years in Boston.  Of course, his All Star season in 2021 was a highlight.  I do like this photo, with the camo hat.

4.  Enmanuel Valdez.  Valdez was one of the two prospects acquired in the Christian Vazquez deal, and the first to make the Majors.  Valdez can absolutely rake, but his defense leaves a lot to be desired.  So that makes it difficult to project where he will be in 2024.  He could be trade bait, he could be part of the second base solution, or he could find his way into the outfield mix.  

5.  Triston Casas.  After a brutal start to the season, Casas came around in a big way.  Only a late-season shoulder injury prevented him from making a true run at the Rookie of the Year Award.  Had he been healthy all season, he likely would have had the best offensive numbers of any rookie.  As it was, he finished third.

6.  Chris Sale.  At times in 2023, it looked like the old Sale was back.  Unfortunately, he is basically made of glass at this point and the slightest injury has a tendency of sidelining him for long stretches.

7.  Rick Ferrell.  Ferrell is often brought up when discussing the worst Hall of Famers.  I do not really understand that.  He was a catcher that was an All Star eight times and hit .281/.378/.363 for his career.  Yeah, he didn't have much power, but he hit over .300 four times and looks like he was very good defensively.  He was one of the best catchers of his time.  

8.  Pedro Martinez.  I do not have anything new to say about Pedro, simply one of the greatest pitchers I have ever seen.

9.  Jarren Duran.  Holy crap did his season come out of nowhere.  It's a shame he went down with an injury, because he finally looked like the player he was expected to be for the last few years.  He ended up hitting .295 with eight home runs, 34 doubles and 24 stolen bases in 105 games.  Hopefully, he will be healthy again in 2024 and can build on those numbers.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

More Wong Cards

I am sure people are a little bored with Wong cards, but I am not, and it is my blog.  So there.

Topps Update Red Foil.  Serial-numbered to 199.

Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Rookie Autographs Pink Refractor.  Sorry about the bad scan.  Autographed card numbered to 15.

Topps Update Orange and Black Foil.  One of the Halloween-themed parallels that dropped surprisingly in retail.  This is the most common one, and the least exciting.

Panini Capstone Holo Gold.  Serial-numbered to 20.

Topps Update Jack O' Lantern.  This is one of the other parallels.  I would love to get all of these.  Halloween is my favorite holiday.

Topps Update Gold Foil.

Topps Update Printing Plate Cyan.  It seems like all of my printing plates lately have been the cyan ones.  I'm not complaining, just observing.

Topps Father's Day Blue.  I snagged this one as an extra in an auction with another card, that I already had.  This was the much more interesting card, so I think the seller did himself a disservice by not listing this alone.

Topps Chrome Magenta Refractor.  Serial-numbered to 399.

Topps Chrome Rookie Autographs Purple Refractor.  Serial-numbered to 150.

Topps Chrome Logofractor Future Stars Red.  Serial-numbered to just five.  This randomly popped up on COMC and I grabbed it right away.

Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Gold Refractor.  Serial-numbered to 50.

That's it for now.  As usual, there is more to come.