Baseball Hall of Fame Class Announced

Tuesday was a very important day for those looking to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Names such as Derek Jeter and Josh Beckett entered their first year on the ballot, while Colorado Rockies legend Larry Walker was waiting to see if he finally made it in after ten years.

The announcement came shortly after 6pm on Tuesday night. Both Derek Jeter and LarryBaseball Hall of Fame Walker will be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in July 2020.

Walker’s Long Wait into the Hall of Fame Paid Off

In what was his 10th and final year on the ballot, Rockies legend Larry Walker is finally going into the Hall of Fame. The 53 year old Canadian joins Fergie Jenkins as the second Canadian inducted into Cooperstown. Throughout his career, Walker played for the Montreal Expos, Colorado Rockies, and St Louis Cardinals. He is a 5-time All Star, 7-time Gold Glove Award winner, 3-time batting champion, and 3-time Silver Slugger Award winner. Walker has a lifetime batting average of .313, with 2,160 hits, and 383 home runs.

Walker, who wore the number 33 throughout his career, will have his number retired by the Colorado Rockies on April 19th. Like many professional athletes, Walker is superstitious of the number 3. Not only did he wear the number 33, but he was married on November 3rd at 3:33PM. Also, with his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he is the 333rd inductee.

The Captain Joins Other Yankee Legends in the Baseball Hall of Fame

From Babe Ruth to Mariano Rivera, many Yankee legends have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Now, Derek Jeter has joined them. After receiving 99.7% of the votes, Jeter will be inducted alongside Larry Walker in Cooperstown. It’s no surprise that Jeter got voted in. Many are surprised that he wasn’t voted in unanimously like Mariano Rivera was last year. Jeter had an amazing career as a New York Yankee. The 45 year old from New Jersey has a career batting average of .310, with 3,465 hits, 260 home runs and 1,311 RBI’s.

Jeter also was a 5-time World Series Champion, and World Series MVP in 2000. He was American League Rookie of the Year in 1996, 5-time Gold Glove winner, 5-time Silver Slugger Award winner, 2-time Hank Aaron Award winner and won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2009. The captain had his number 2 retired by the Yankees on May 14th 2017, joining the long list of retired numbers by the Yankees. He was also honored at the Yankees Monument Park. The current CEO of the Miami Marlins, Jeter continues to stay connected to the baseball world. Now, he will forever be connected to it.

Former Red Sox Players on the Ballot

After the announcement on Tuesday, many former players will have to wait another year to get the call. One of those is former Red Sox pitcher, Curt Schilling. On his 8th ballot, Schilling only received 70% of the votes, 5% shy of the necessary 75%. Other former Red Sox pitcher, Roger Clemens received 61% of the votes on his 8th ballot. Billy Wagner (5th ballot) received 31.7%, while Manny Ramirez (4th ballot) received 28.2%.

First time Red Sox players on the ballot, Brad Penny, Carlos Pena and Josh Beckett didn’t meet the required 5% to move onto the next ballot. Therefore, they are ineligible to be voted into the Hall of Fame.

The 2021 Ballot

The 2021 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot has a lot of first timer on it, including two former Red Sox players. Some notable players are Mark Buehrle, AJ Burnett, Torii Hunter, Nick Swisher and Barry Zito. Former Red Sox players Shane Victorino and Adam Laroche are also first timers on the ballot. If I were to predict who would get the call in 2021, it would be Schilling, Torii Hunter and Mark Buehrle.

While the baseball world is preparing for the 2020 season, it’s hard not to think about the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the legends who are enshrined. This year and next year’s inductions will be interesting to watch.

Patience Is Key With Red Sox Young Players

The final month of the Red Sox season is upon us and if the Red Sox go 27-0 down the stretch they would finish with 92 wins, good enough for a Wild Card right? Well no one expects that to happen so for the final month the Red Sox will be looking to two things. How their younger players continue to play and the chase of David Ortiz’s 500th home run.

With the young outfield of Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. continuing to show what they are capable of the Red Sox have to be happy with what theyYoung Players are seeing. Down the stretch all three expect to get time in all three outfield positions to help figure out what is the best alignment for the BBC. Castillo has been playing left field for about a week now and has not had any Hanley Ramirez moments yet and likely will not. Betts has played center field for every appearance so far this season, but has been working in left and right the last few weeks and will likely appear in a game on the corners soon. Bradley Jr.’s defense is something that will keep him in the big leagues, but his hitting of late has kept him in the lineup after an extended stay in Pawtucket early on this season. His arm I believe is something that has him fit for right field in Fenway Park. Shane Victorino who was a center fielder for most of his career, excelled in moving to the spacious right field in Fenway.

The pitching staff is something that has handcuffed the Red Sox all season long. Eduardo Rodriguez has looked like someone who will be at the top of the rotation for the Red Sox rotation next season, of course likely below an ace they expect to acquire this off-season. Henry Owens has looked good at times, kept down his walks that he struggled with in minors this year but has had some stinkers against teams with good offenses. Both are players who started the year in Pawtucket and will be likely skipped a few times down the stretch because of an innings limit the Red Sox are looking to adhere to, but not quite a Mets Matt Harvey situation because obviously the Red Sox are not in playoff contention.

The slumps and forgetfulness of young players is something that is all over the game. Patience is something the Red Sox have not had with young players as of late as they tried to win at all costs and not allow players battle through adjusting to the big leagues. The Royals and Astros are examples of players coming up together through the system and go through the slumps together and learn how to win together with a core.

Veterans are important to every team and the Red Sox have David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia but the next great Red Sox team will likely come together and learn some lessons this September.

Mookie Betts Injury Gives Jackie Bradley Jr. Opportunity

Mookie Betts has proven that athleticism is not something he is lacking this season. He has quick bat speed and learned to play center field very well. Tuesday night he made a great catch running full speed but flipped over the bullpen in right center field. The catch did not count as it was a home run after Betts flipped over the wall, but Betts was diagnosed with a concussion. He was placed on the 7 days disabled list on Wednesday and the team called up Jackie Bradley Jr.

Manager John Farrell said Bradley Jr. will be playing center field everyday while Betts is Mookie Betts injuryout. The extent to Betts concussion is not known but the Red Sox should not rush Betts back as it already is a lost season, while Betts has been one of the few bright spots.

Obviously no one wants to wish someone to get injured but Bradley Jr. has to relish this opportunity as it looks like Rusney Castillo will be in right field for the remainder of the season. Bradley Jr. has proven he can hit minor league pitching this season as he has been one of the best hitters in the International League for the PawSox. He has also shown power as of late having two, two homer games in the past week. The defense has never been the question with Bradley Jr. it has always been whether he can hit major league pitching.

With Betts on the disabled list this could be the last test Bradley will get with the Red Sox. When Shane Victorino went down with an injury earlier this season the Red Sox acquired Alejandro De Aza instead of bringing up Bradley Jr. obviously not what he wanted and although De Aza has played well in his stint with the Red Sox, they should be playing Bradley, as De Aza will likely be gone after this season.

With the trade deadline Friday afternoon it is likely now Bradley will be still with the Red Sox after he built up some value at Triple-A. With an outfield likely full for next season unless Hanley Ramirez changes positions, this is will an opportunity for Jackie Bradley Jr. to prove he can be a piece off the bench next season.

Shane Victorino Traded to Angels

The Red Sox have made their first move of the deadline week, trading Shane Victorino and cash considerations to the Los Angeles Angels for infielder Josh Rutledge on Monday, according to the Boston Globe.

Josh Rutledge is a career .259 hitter in 266 career games, and previously spent 3 years in Shane VictorinoColorado with the Rockies before coming to the Angels according to the Boston Globe. He’s listed as a 2nd baseman, but plays shortstop and also has limited experience at 3rd base as well (5 career games at 3rd).

This move isn’t bad, considering Victorino’s injury history. While the Red Sox have Brock Holt at 2nd base right now filling in for Dustin Pedroia, a little extra depth never went amiss given Rutledge’s versatility. Plus the move clears space in that overcrowded outfield for the likes of Rusney Castillo, who got called up after the deal and will hit 7th tonight.

Looking back at Shane’s time with Boston, people will remember the injuries of the past couple of years, but they’ll also remember what he did for the Red Sox and the city of Boston during that magical 2013 season. Remember the grand slam in game 6 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers, or the 4 RBI game in game 6 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals? While the past couple of years have been filled with injuries for Shane Victorino, he was a solid addition to the roster, at least for that one unforgettable 2013 season.

This move seemed inevitable in a way. With both Rusney Castillo and Jackie Bradley Jr. down in Pawtucket, the Red Sox needed to do something to clear space for them to return, and this was part of that. Both of them should be with the big league ball club. I think it’s about time Castillo got a long, hard look in the major league, after signing that $72 million deal late last summer. Jackie Bradley Jr. seems to have turned a corner, has played better in the minors and needs a better shot to showcase what he can do.

So long, Shane, and thanks for 2013. Hopefully, he gets another shot at the playoffs with LA.

Daniel Nava Begins Rehab Assignment with PawSox

The PawSox got yet another player added to their roster for a rehab assignment this week as Daniel Nava was sent to Pawtucket to play starting on Thursday night. Nava was really lost in the shuffle with the Red Sox roster early on in the year and only collected 73 plate appearances, and has been on the disabled list since May 26 with a thumb bruise.

Nava had a great year in 2013 platooning in left field with Jonny Gomes but struggled last Daniel Navaseason even being optioned to Pawtucket in early May. Nava eventually made his way back to the major league roster but became more of a bench player. The versatility Nava serves is something that does not go unnoticed by Red Sox brass as he plays left and right field well and mixes in first base. Playing the left field wall as many have realized this year with Hanley Ramirez out there is not something that can be taken for granted.

The roster crunch will continue as Shane Victorino just finished up a rehab stint and is expected to be activated this weekend. Ryan Haniagan was activated in time for Thursday night’s blowout against the Blue Jays likely meaning a catcher will lose their roster spot. Which makes me you think, will Nava even have a roster spot when his rehab stint is over?

The chances are likely no but an injury could always occur and have Nava taken advantage of an unfortunate circumstance for someone else. Hanley Ramirez does not look like he will be going on the disabled list soon after a week off with a bruised wrist from a line drive. Shane Victorino hasn’t been healthy for much of his time with the Red Sox, so he might not be on the roster for long. Alejandro De Aza is someone who needs to stay on the Red Sox team as he looks to have provided some sort of spark for the team even if he is just a fourth outfielder on a good team he is a veteran.

Much has been made of Mike Napoli’s struggles this year and John Farrell has said they will stick with him as he has been dropped to as low as 8th in the lineup on some occasions. Nava could take advantage of some playing time if he can get it with Napoli continuing to hit under .200 and striking out a prolific rate as he continues to think the umpires are out to get him with the strike zone.

Daniel Nava began a rehab assignment with the PawSox on Thursday night, but a spot on the Red Sox roster when he is ready to be activated might be his for the taking.

Give Jackie Bradley Jr. a Chance

I’ve changed my tune on Jackie Bradley Jr. in the past few weeks.  Last season, and even into the start of this year, I was not particularly high on him because he was like me when I played baseball: Good in the field, but terrible at the plate. At the start of this year, I would have been happy with Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo as the starters in the outfield, with guys like Shane Victorino and Daniel Nava, as well as Brock Holt, filling in as needed.

But that was before Hanley Ramirez proved to be terrible defensively and Rusney Castillo Jackie Bradley Jr.started down the most expensive minor leaguer path. Shane Victorino’s injury problems are no surprise – it was the same story last year, but it looks like he may be back soon.

My change of heart on Jackie Bradley Jr. mainly started with the first 2 guys, though – Ramirez and Castillo. Both guys are massively underperforming, given what they are getting paid. Ramirez can’t play defense to save his life, and Castillo can’t seem to adjust to Boston at all. As I said earlier, he could be on track to be the most expensive minor league player in history.

Right now, I say give him a fair chance. The only other time he was up, he didn’t get a hit, but he only had 11 at bats and 3 of those at bats came against Felix Hernandez. It’s hard for a lot of guys to get hits off of Hernandez, so it’s hard to fault him there. I would say give him a fair chance this time around, because he can only be an improvement for the Red Sox at the moment. It would be pretty hard for the Red Sox to get any worse than they have been, and at the minimum, his glove will help. But I think it will end up being more than that. He has been looking more comfortable at the plate already, so I say see where it goes.

Because when you’re all the way down, the team can only go up, right?