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Today in Baseball: HOF Reflections

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I felt that it was critical to move my “Today in Baseball” post to Tuesday this week in order to respond to the Baseball Hall of Fame results. So, we won’t see a new Trade Talk Tuesday until next week!

Today, at 2 o’clock ET, we, the general public, discovered that Craig Biggio (82.7%), Pedro Martinez (91.1%), Randy Johnson (97.3%), and John Smoltz (82.9%) were all elected to the Hall of Fame.

Overall, I was very happy with who WAS elected. In my mock ballot from last week, I voted for three of these men (Biggio, Martinez, and Johnson). I didn’t pick Smoltz, but I definitely believe he’s a Hall of Famer, and I solely left him off my ballot in order to leave space for some guys that I felt would get less support (Mike Mussina, Edgar Martinez, Curt Schilling). All of these four men had tremendous careers and are deserving of a bronze plaque in Cooperstown.

However, I was extremely upset with who WASN’T selected…

Mike Piazza (69.9%) is the greatest offensive catcher in MLB history. Plain and simple. He finished his career with 427 home runs, a .308 batting average, and 1,335 RBIs, some outstanding statistics. He was a 12x All-Star, a 10x Silver Slugger, and the 1993 NL Rookie of the Year. His accolades and statistics were clearly phenomenal, but to add to his legacy: he hit one of the most powerful and significant home runs in MLB history… Watch the touching video below:

Please, watch that video.

Please, take a quick glance at Piazza’s statistics and accolades.

Please, think about Piazza’s underdog story (drafted in 62nd round of 1988 draft as a favor from Tommy Lasorda to his good friend, Piazza’s father).

Please, find any definitive evidence that Piazza used PEDs.

If you have fulfilled the first three requests, and have failed to complete the last one, you know. You know and understand that Mike Piazza is a Hall of Famer. End of story.

Moving on.

On my ballot, aside from Piazza, there were 6 players that I voted for that didn’t get in. They were:

  • Jeff Bagwell (55.7%)
  • Barry Bonds (36.8%)
  • Roger Clemens (37.5%)
  • Mike Mussina (24.6%)
  • Curt Schilling (39.2%)
  • Edgar Martinez (27%)

While I am disappointed that none of them got in, I honestly expected it. The latter 3 are victims of overlooking and undervaluing certain aspects, or the whole, of their career. The first 3 didn’t get in due to steroid issues: suspicion for Bagwell, and certainty for Bonds and Clemens. I hope, and believe, that all of these 6 guys, who are each extremely deserving, will one day end up in Cooperstown.

Lastly, I’m quite disappointed that Carlos Delgado (3.8%) has fallen off the ballot, as his percentage was less than 5%. He hit for 473 home runs, a .280 batting average, 1,512 RBIs, and 2,038 hits during his career. He excelled as a hitter during the Steroid Era, and he did it clean. He put up numbers comparable to some of the steroid users that the BBWAA so emphatically despises- and he did it the right way. He succeeded as a monk in a city of gamblers. Due to his excellent career achievements, the way in which he reached them, and the era that he played in, I believe that Carlos Delgado is a Hall of Famer. I can only hope that the Veteran’s Committee gets it right and puts him in the Hall when he becomes eligible once again.

Some final food for thought about Delgado? Take a peek at this photo that a fan tweeted. It’s a page from a Spanish magazine that puts Delgado’s numbers up against those of Hall of Famers. (Note: “jonrones” means home runs, “empijadas” means RBIs)

Interview With Mike Puma

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Mike Puma has been the Mets’ beat writer for the New York Post for many years now. You can check out his articles here: http://nypost.com/author/mike-puma/… Mike was kind enough to partake in an interview with us!

Kings of Queens: Do you expect Jacob deGrom to win Rookie of the Year? Why or why not?

Mike Puma I think deGrom will win; he is peaking in September and getting noticed. Billy Hamilton has faded.

KOQ: When, if ever, do you expect that Mike Piazza will finally be inducted into the Hall of Fame?

MPI think Piazza will get in, but probably 4-5 years from now, as voters gradually become more acceptant of players they suspect may have used PEDs w/o evidence

KOQ: What has been the most enjoyable/memorable experience in all of your years covering the Mets?

MPI actually began covering the Mets in the late 1990s at the Connecticut Post and enjoyed watching their rise under Bobby Valentine, the Piazza hom  run after 9/11, etc … As the beat writer for the NY Post, the Santana no-hitter certainly stands out.

KOQ: Dilson Herrera has looked very good since coming up this season. Do you expect him to be in the opening day lineup next season? Why or why not?

MP: I expect Daniel Murphy to be in the starting lineup at 2B next Opening Day, with Herrera at Las Vegas. He’s only 20 years old and could use further seasoning.

KOQ: Is David Wright starting to decline, or is he just having a down season, due to injury or some other reason?

MP: Wright’s shoulder gives him a partial pass for his dropoff this season, but I’m not sure we’ll ever again see an All-Star level David Wright. But he can still be a productive player.

KOQ: Do you believe that Terry Collins will be the manager of the Mets come next April? Why or why not?

MP: I would be surprised if Collins doesn’t return. He has a good working relationship with Sandy Alderson and the organization likes his evaluation skills with the young players.

KOQ: Which ex-Met, who has recently (within the last 5 years) left the team, do you miss the most? What do you miss about them?

MP: Jeff Francoeur was one of my favorite players to cover. Just a colorful, free-spirit who was great with the media and made the job fun.

KOQ: Which Mets prospect do you think the most underrated, or overlooked, guy in the system?

MP: We haven’t heard a ton about Steven Matz yet, but I get the sense he could be something special.

KOQ: The Mets have a surplus of starting pitchers, with Harvey, Wheeler, deGrom, Gee, Niese, Colon, Montero, Matz, and Syndergaard. What do you think the Mets starting rotation will be come next August?

MP: Harvey, deGrom, Wheeler, Niese and Syndergaard.

KOQ: Will the Mets make a splash this offseason? Who are three names to keep an eye out for, whether it be through trade or free agency?

MP: Melky Cabrera, Javier Baez and Michael Cuddyer – but I wouldn’t bet on them making more than one high-profile acquisition..

KOQ: The Mets also have a surplus of closer-type talents, with Familia, Mejia, and Parnell. Who will be the closer next season, and what will happen with the other two?

MP: I see Familia as the closer, with Parnell in the setup role and Mejia perhaps traded.

KOQ: What percent chance would you give the Mets of finishing above .500 this season?

MP: I give them a 10 percent chance of finishing above .500 this year.

KOQ: Who will be the next Met to have his number retired?

MP: Piazza

KOQ: How is your relationship with the other Mets beat writers? Do you guys feed off of each other?

MP: I have a good relationship with just about all the reporters covering the team. And, yes, we feed off each other.   It’s a very competitive situation.   

KOQ: Finally, you have a lucrative job in the sportswriting industry, as the NY Post’s Mets beat reporter. What key steps did you ultimately take to reach that point?

MP: I was just persistent. I spent 15 years working at newspapers in Connecticut and another three as a backup baseball writer at the NY Post. I treated just about every assignment like I was covering Game 7 of the World Series.Work hard and don’t be afraid to take calculated risks. And let your personality shine through your words.

 

Thanks again to a great guy, Mike Puma! Make sure to check out his work in the NY Post!

 

Is Javier Baez a Realistic Option for the Mets?

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The Chicago Cubs have 3 young, very good shortstops. They have Javier Baez, the power hitting shortstop who is ranked the 5th best prospect in all of baseball. They have Addison Russell, the shortstop phenom that they acquired for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the A’s, who is ranked the 6th best prospect in all of baseball. And finally, they have Starlin Castro, the established, 24 year old shortstop for the Cubs, who has appeared in 3 All Star Games so far in his young career.

The Chicago Cubs have a surplus of shortstop talent, and there’s not much that they can do, in terms of repositioning. First of all, sending a young player to a different, unnatural position can really affect their play on both sides of the ball (See: Lucas Duda). But let’s say they were committed to moving these guys around. Well, they’d encounter a lot of issues. They can’t move any of them to catcher, because that’s way too big of a stretch. They can’t move any to First Base, as they have the blossoming young star, Anthony Rizzo, there. They can move ONE of them to second base, but that leaves two more. Can’t move to third, as Kris Bryant, the #3 prospect in all of baseball, is set to play there in the future. They can’t move to the outfield, because they have a nice combo of Arismendy Alcantara, the young Dominican import, Albert Almora, the 39th prospect in baseball, and Jorge Soler, the 51st.

If that doesn’t mean anything to you, here’s the gist of it: The Cubs have to trade at least one, maybe even two, of their young shortstops.

This is where the Mets come in…