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  1. On Tuesday night, MLB Network ran multiple hours of coverage to unveil the 2023 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame class. Despite 14 new names added to the ballot for writers to select, the ballot was hardly clogged and we still saw only Scott Rolen join the Hall of Fame. What does it mean for Joe Mauer's candidacy? Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY Sports Last year, some of the best baseball players ever (Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens) went unelected in their final year on the Hall of Fame ballot. As we know, they were heavily tied to steroids, and that is certainly the reason they are not in. However, the Hall of Fame is a museum and incomplete without acknowledging the sport’s history as a whole. We still don’t have Pete Rose or "Shoeless" Joe Jackson in, and there are plenty of others who have been left out over the years. One can argue whether they would like to see those linked to some form of cheating left out, but the reality is that there are far worse or more egregious offenders already inducted. What should be a cause for concern among Twins fans is the way in which the process played out this season. Coming into this voting cycle, only Carlos Beltran was among the first-time candidates that had any true level of Hall Hope. His support has waned in light of the scandal with the Houston Astros (although, again, that has nothing to do with his playing days), but his resume was always going to be borderline. That left only Scott Rolen and Todd Helton as potential inductees. With the ability to select up to ten players, there were plenty of BBWAA members that turned in blank ballots. Rather than abstain from voting at all, multiple writers went to the trouble of turning in an empty ballot to make every candidate’s chances worse. There were far more that used less than the ten total slots, and plenty that used less than five. Fast forward to 2024. The two Hall of Famers from next year’s ballot should be Adrian Beltre and Joe Mauer. It is generally believed that Beltre will make the ballot in his first year of eligibility. The problem is that Mauer is not seen in the same way. For years, it has seemed as though the Twins fanbase was hardest on Mauer. Whether because of a terribly-reported diagnosis of bilateral leg weakness, an inability to blast home runs, or a contract that paid him for previous performance, there have always been detractors here. It seems that nationally Mauer has been praised a bit more. He’s on par with a player like Buster Posey, and he could have challenged the likes of Mike Piazza or even Carlton Fisk without the brain injuries that altered the course of his career. Mauer’s resume speaks for itself. He’s won multiple batting titles and should have won a Gold Glove at first base following a position change (still mad at you Eric Hosmer). There doesn’t seem to be a concern that Mauer is NOT a Hall of Famer, but rather when he gets in. Therein lies the problem, a process that’s broken within the writers voting on behalf of the BBWAA. If Helton and Rolen were seen as the only two candidates close, and Beltre is only joined by Mauer next year, there is no reason both shouldn’t be in on the first ballot. To suggest that the quickness with which a player goes in holds weight is silly. A good portion of when a player is elected has to do with how tight the ballot itself is. There has not yet been enough support for Billy Wagner. Jeff Kent falls off after this season, and Gary Sheffield would need a massive jump in his final year. Despite being among the best ever to play the game, no one is voting for Alex Rodriguez. It’s only logical that if a writer believes that Joe Mauer is truly a Hall of Famer, and said writer has up to ten openings, he would be among them. For writers of the BBWAA to purposely leave Mauer off of a light ballot only to vote for him a year later would be grandstanding at its best. The sanctity of going in on the first ballot gets more weight than the merit of a player’s resume. It has been discussed before that changing the ballot to a simple yes/no scenario may make sense, but that exercise can be practiced in its current format given how few should truly be considered. On a night that MLB Network took up three hours of airtime to market the stars of yesteryear, the writers fell short in getting the necessary names in. Helton should get his due next season, but like Mauer, waiting doesn't make sense. Fast forwarding to the next cycle and knowing we’re in for another light group, it would be inexcusable to leave the Twins legend off for little more than posturing. View full article
  2. Last year, some of the best baseball players ever (Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens) went unelected in their final year on the Hall of Fame ballot. As we know, they were heavily tied to steroids, and that is certainly the reason they are not in. However, the Hall of Fame is a museum and incomplete without acknowledging the sport’s history as a whole. We still don’t have Pete Rose or "Shoeless" Joe Jackson in, and there are plenty of others who have been left out over the years. One can argue whether they would like to see those linked to some form of cheating left out, but the reality is that there are far worse or more egregious offenders already inducted. What should be a cause for concern among Twins fans is the way in which the process played out this season. Coming into this voting cycle, only Carlos Beltran was among the first-time candidates that had any true level of Hall Hope. His support has waned in light of the scandal with the Houston Astros (although, again, that has nothing to do with his playing days), but his resume was always going to be borderline. That left only Scott Rolen and Todd Helton as potential inductees. With the ability to select up to ten players, there were plenty of BBWAA members that turned in blank ballots. Rather than abstain from voting at all, multiple writers went to the trouble of turning in an empty ballot to make every candidate’s chances worse. There were far more that used less than the ten total slots, and plenty that used less than five. Fast forward to 2024. The two Hall of Famers from next year’s ballot should be Adrian Beltre and Joe Mauer. It is generally believed that Beltre will make the ballot in his first year of eligibility. The problem is that Mauer is not seen in the same way. For years, it has seemed as though the Twins fanbase was hardest on Mauer. Whether because of a terribly-reported diagnosis of bilateral leg weakness, an inability to blast home runs, or a contract that paid him for previous performance, there have always been detractors here. It seems that nationally Mauer has been praised a bit more. He’s on par with a player like Buster Posey, and he could have challenged the likes of Mike Piazza or even Carlton Fisk without the brain injuries that altered the course of his career. Mauer’s resume speaks for itself. He’s won multiple batting titles and should have won a Gold Glove at first base following a position change (still mad at you Eric Hosmer). There doesn’t seem to be a concern that Mauer is NOT a Hall of Famer, but rather when he gets in. Therein lies the problem, a process that’s broken within the writers voting on behalf of the BBWAA. If Helton and Rolen were seen as the only two candidates close, and Beltre is only joined by Mauer next year, there is no reason both shouldn’t be in on the first ballot. To suggest that the quickness with which a player goes in holds weight is silly. A good portion of when a player is elected has to do with how tight the ballot itself is. There has not yet been enough support for Billy Wagner. Jeff Kent falls off after this season, and Gary Sheffield would need a massive jump in his final year. Despite being among the best ever to play the game, no one is voting for Alex Rodriguez. It’s only logical that if a writer believes that Joe Mauer is truly a Hall of Famer, and said writer has up to ten openings, he would be among them. For writers of the BBWAA to purposely leave Mauer off of a light ballot only to vote for him a year later would be grandstanding at its best. The sanctity of going in on the first ballot gets more weight than the merit of a player’s resume. It has been discussed before that changing the ballot to a simple yes/no scenario may make sense, but that exercise can be practiced in its current format given how few should truly be considered. On a night that MLB Network took up three hours of airtime to market the stars of yesteryear, the writers fell short in getting the necessary names in. Helton should get his due next season, but like Mauer, waiting doesn't make sense. Fast forwarding to the next cycle and knowing we’re in for another light group, it would be inexcusable to leave the Twins legend off for little more than posturing.
  3. Next winter, Joe Mauer's name will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time. Let's look ahead at the players that may join him in the hunt for Cooperstown. Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports There are a variety of ways to examine a player’s Cooperstown case. JAWS is one way to measure a player's Hall of Fame worthiness as it averages their career WAR with their seven-year peak WAR. Jay Jaffe developed it to compare players' Hall of Fame candidacy across different eras. Some positions have fewer players currently elected to the Hall of Fame, which can skew the averages. However, JAWS provides a solid baseline for comparing a player's candidacy. Hold-Overs from 2023 Currently, voters are considering candidates for the 2023 voting cycle, and Ryan Thibodaux does a masterful job of tracking the publicly available ballots. Players must be listed on 75% of ballots submitted to be elected. Scott Rolen and Todd Helton are the two players tracking above 75%, but their support is not overwhelming. Rolen ranks as baseball's tenth-best third baseman, according to JAWS, while Helton ranks 15th among first basemen. Both players likely fall short of 75% as more ballots become available, resulting in both remaining on the ballot for the 2024 voting cycle, with some other strong candidates joining them. Strong First-Ballot Considerations In recent years, some strong players have fallen off the ballot, but Mauer will join the ballot with some other players that will be Hall of Famers. Adrian Beltre is a lock to be elected next year. His accolades are nearly endless, and he is the only player in big-league history with at least 3,000 hits and 450 home runs among players who appeared in at least 50% of their games at third base. According to JAWS, Beltre only ranks behind Mike Schmidt, Eddie Mathews, and Wade Boggs among third basemen. Beltre should be a nearly unanimous selection. Chase Utley doesn't have the open and shut case like Beltre, but he is still among the all-time best second-basemen. He was one of his era's best players with some tremendous Phillies teams. His resume includes being a six-time All-Star and a four-time Silver Slugger with over 30 home runs and 100 RBI in multiple seasons. JAWS ranks him as baseball's 12th-best second baseman, with multiple players ranked behind him already inducted to Cooperstown. He won't be a unanimous selection, but he is a Hall of Fame-caliber player. Catching Counterparts For Mauer to be elected, many voters will compare him to other top catchers of his era. In recent years, Buster Posey and Yadier Molina have retired, and each has a strong case for the Hall of Fame. According to JAWS, Mauer (7th) ranks significantly higher than Posey (14th) and Molina (22nd). Molina's JAWS ranking has him behind catchers like Jason Kendall and Jorge Posada, who didn't get significant support in their HOF voting cycles. Like Mauer, Posey retired earlier than some of the all-time great catchers. However, he will likely garner enough support when he appears on the ballot for the first time in 2027. Mauer's accolades were significant during the years he could stay behind the plate. He was a six-time All-Star and a five-time Silver Slugger while winning three Gold Gloves. He is the only catcher in big-league history to win three batting titles, and he finished in the top 10 for AL MVP in four seasons, including winning top honors in 2009. He is the only catcher who started his career after 1930 to top the .400 mark in OBP in six seasons. Concussions forced him to move out from behind the plate, but his case is still strong enough for induction. Do you think Mauer will be a first-ballot induction to the Hall of Fame? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  4. There are a variety of ways to examine a player’s Cooperstown case. JAWS is one way to measure a player's Hall of Fame worthiness as it averages their career WAR with their seven-year peak WAR. Jay Jaffe developed it to compare players' Hall of Fame candidacy across different eras. Some positions have fewer players currently elected to the Hall of Fame, which can skew the averages. However, JAWS provides a solid baseline for comparing a player's candidacy. Hold-Overs from 2023 Currently, voters are considering candidates for the 2023 voting cycle, and Ryan Thibodaux does a masterful job of tracking the publicly available ballots. Players must be listed on 75% of ballots submitted to be elected. Scott Rolen and Todd Helton are the two players tracking above 75%, but their support is not overwhelming. Rolen ranks as baseball's tenth-best third baseman, according to JAWS, while Helton ranks 15th among first basemen. Both players likely fall short of 75% as more ballots become available, resulting in both remaining on the ballot for the 2024 voting cycle, with some other strong candidates joining them. Strong First-Ballot Considerations In recent years, some strong players have fallen off the ballot, but Mauer will join the ballot with some other players that will be Hall of Famers. Adrian Beltre is a lock to be elected next year. His accolades are nearly endless, and he is the only player in big-league history with at least 3,000 hits and 450 home runs among players who appeared in at least 50% of their games at third base. According to JAWS, Beltre only ranks behind Mike Schmidt, Eddie Mathews, and Wade Boggs among third basemen. Beltre should be a nearly unanimous selection. Chase Utley doesn't have the open and shut case like Beltre, but he is still among the all-time best second-basemen. He was one of his era's best players with some tremendous Phillies teams. His resume includes being a six-time All-Star and a four-time Silver Slugger with over 30 home runs and 100 RBI in multiple seasons. JAWS ranks him as baseball's 12th-best second baseman, with multiple players ranked behind him already inducted to Cooperstown. He won't be a unanimous selection, but he is a Hall of Fame-caliber player. Catching Counterparts For Mauer to be elected, many voters will compare him to other top catchers of his era. In recent years, Buster Posey and Yadier Molina have retired, and each has a strong case for the Hall of Fame. According to JAWS, Mauer (7th) ranks significantly higher than Posey (14th) and Molina (22nd). Molina's JAWS ranking has him behind catchers like Jason Kendall and Jorge Posada, who didn't get significant support in their HOF voting cycles. Like Mauer, Posey retired earlier than some of the all-time great catchers. However, he will likely garner enough support when he appears on the ballot for the first time in 2027. Mauer's accolades were significant during the years he could stay behind the plate. He was a six-time All-Star and a five-time Silver Slugger while winning three Gold Gloves. He is the only catcher in big-league history to win three batting titles, and he finished in the top 10 for AL MVP in four seasons, including winning top honors in 2009. He is the only catcher who started his career after 1930 to top the .400 mark in OBP in six seasons. Concussions forced him to move out from behind the plate, but his case is still strong enough for induction. Do you think Mauer will be a first-ballot induction to the Hall of Fame? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  5. Show us you can beat Vegas and you can win a Harry’s Razor starter kit! They entered last year with serious questions and ended the year with serious momentum. A trade deadline acquisition of Cole Hamels ignited them and propelled them over both Houston and Los Angeles to win 88 games and the AL West.Vegas’ Line: 84.5 wins What The Line Is Saying "You're good, partly because the rest of the division looks shaky. But you're going to be passed by the Astros this year." They’ll Beat Vegas If… They continue to hit the snot out of the ball. Yeah, their ballpark helped raise them to third best in the American League in runs scored, but the veterans who were supposed to carry the offense (Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre) just plain raked too. If you beat Vegas, you can win a free Harry’s Razor starter set. Just leave a comment with your choice of the “Over” or” Under” and your reasoning. At the end of the season, for each team, we’ll randomly pick one of the winning predictions for a free Truman Razor set. They’ll Lose To Vegas If… Just a year ago, Vegas thought this was a 76.5 win team, as they looked old and like their competitive window was closing. Now most of their hitters are a year older and their big addition is 32-year-old Cole Hamels. If the veterans age, Hamels regresses and the youngsters don't jump right in, there is plenty of room for this team to fade. I’ll Bet The…. OVER Last year's second half finish was more indicative of the level of this team than their first half mediocrity. Plus, the rest of the division, with the exception of the Astros, could fade fast. Now it’s your turn. Give us your prediction in the comment section (you’ll need to register first) and you’re automatically entered. We’ll be giving out a free Harry’s Razor Truman Set to one of the winning correct predictions for each team, so we’ll be give away 15 sets of razors! You can also click over to Harry’s Razors and get $5 off on your first order using the promo code ‘gleeman’. Click here to view the article
  6. Vegas’ Line: 84.5 wins What The Line Is Saying "You're good, partly because the rest of the division looks shaky. But you're going to be passed by the Astros this year." They’ll Beat Vegas If… They continue to hit the snot out of the ball. Yeah, their ballpark helped raise them to third best in the American League in runs scored, but the veterans who were supposed to carry the offense (Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre) just plain raked too. If you beat Vegas, you can win a free Harry’s Razor starter set. Just leave a comment with your choice of the “Over” or” Under” and your reasoning. At the end of the season, for each team, we’ll randomly pick one of the winning predictions for a free Truman Razor set. They’ll Lose To Vegas If… Just a year ago, Vegas thought this was a 76.5 win team, as they looked old and like their competitive window was closing. Now most of their hitters are a year older and their big addition is 32-year-old Cole Hamels. If the veterans age, Hamels regresses and the youngsters don't jump right in, there is plenty of room for this team to fade. I’ll Bet The…. OVER Last year's second half finish was more indicative of the level of this team than their first half mediocrity. Plus, the rest of the division, with the exception of the Astros, could fade fast. Now it’s your turn. Give us your prediction in the comment section (you’ll need to register first) and you’re automatically entered. We’ll be giving out a free Harry’s Razor Truman Set to one of the winning correct predictions for each team, so we’ll be give away 15 sets of razors! You can also click over to Harry’s Razors and get $5 off on your first order using the promo code ‘gleeman’.
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