It’s a bit of a slow time in the offseason, especially with Thanksgiving this week, but there is still some Dodgers-related news, especially with Vin Scully set to receive his Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday at the White House.
The Baseball Writers Association of America revealed the 2017 ballot for the Hall of Fame on Monday, with 34 total names on the ballot.
There are 15 holdovers from last year, including Tim Raines in his 10th and final year on the writers’ ballot, needing a jump from the 69.8% support he received last year. Jeff Bagwell (71.6% in 2016) seems like a lock for the 75% needed for induction this time around, with Raines and Trevor Hoffman (67.3% in 2016) also strong bets.
Ivan Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero headline the 19 newcomers, a pared-down list of eligible former players with at least 10 years in the majors whose last season was 2011. There are three former Dodgers on the list.
Manny Ramirez is the tragic figure, a no-doubt Hall of Fame talent with no-doubt Hall of Fame numbers, with no chance to get voted into Cooperstown anytime soon thanks to a pair of suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs.
Ramirez provided one of the greatest 2-month stretches in Dodgers history, acquired at the trade deadline in 2008. He hit a ridiculous .396/.489/.743 with 17 home runs and 53 RBI in 53 games, then carried it over into the postseason, going 12-for-25 (.480) with two home runs, five doubles, nine RBI and eight walks in eight games in October.
He wasn’t the only July 2008 acquisition by the Dodgers on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot. Casey Blake played with the Dodgers through 2011, and hit .260/.338/.431 with 49 home runs and 75 doubles in 406 games.
What stands out to me about Blake is how unique his career was. He played in parts of four major league seasons with three teams (Blue Jays, Orioles and Twins) through his age-28 season, amassing a total of 125 plate appearances. But he caught on as a regular with the Indians in 2003, his age-29 season, and totaled 24.1 rWAR for the next eight years, never dipping below 2.0 WAR in any season during that span.
In the modern era (1901-present), there are 206 players who amassed 24 WAR from ages 29-36, and only 11 players had fewer than 1,000 PA through age 28 (one was Jackie Robinson, who was blocked only by skin color before his age-28 season in 1947).
Only two players had fewer PA than Blake’s 125 before their age-29 years — Socks Seybold, an outfielder at the turn of the 20th century with 92 PA; and Lefty O’Doul (78 PA), who was an MLB pitcher before converting to the outfield, and spent his ages 27-30 in the Pacific Coast League before the minors were affiliated farm systems of the majors.
J.D. Drew is probably the most hated Dodger with a 132 OPS+ with the team, hitting .284/.399/.505 in parts of two seasons (2004-2005) with Los Angeles, before opting out of his five-year contract to sign with Boston.
Hall of Fame voting results will be announced on Jan. 18, 2017 on MLB Network.
Youth camps at Dodger Stadium
The Dodgers are holding a series of youth camps in December at both Dodger Stadium and the Garciaparra Brothers Training Academy in Redondo Beach, and 10 different Dodgers prospects will help instruct part of these camps.
The list of players scheduled to help out at the camps include Willie Calhoun, Alex Verdugo, Walker Buehler, Gavin Lux, Will Smith, Josh Sborz, Imani Adbullah, Brendon Davis, Trevor Oaks and Andrew Sopko.
The dates of the camps range from December 10-18, which happens to be after baseball’s winter meetings, held in Washington D.C. from December 5-8. Will that group of 10 prospects still be in the organization?
Vin Scully, who is one of 12 finalists for the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year in 2016, flew to Washington D.C. on Monday in preparation to receive his Presidential Medal of Freedom today.
The White House ceremony will be streamed live online beginning at 11:55 a.m. PT.