2024 Hall Of Fame Ballot – The Holdovers

Monday, the BBWAA released their ballot for the Hall of Fame class of 2024.  The results of the vote are due to be revealed on January 24th, with induction taking place July 21st.  Scott Rolen was elected in last year’s voting and Jeff Kent fell off the ballot after reaching the ten-year limit, leaving fourteen holdovers along with twelve newcomers.

Let’s take a look at the returning candidates today before moving on to the newcomers tomorrow.

Bobby Abreu
Years on ballot: 4
2023 Percentage: 15.4

After falling off the year before, Abreu starts moving in the right direction again, but has a long way to go.

Carlos Beltran
Years on ballot: 1
2023 Percentage: 46.5

A decent debut for Beltran, which may have been even better had he not been tainted by the Astros cheating scandal.

Mark Buehrle
Years on ballot: 3
2023 Percentage: 10.8

After nearly falling off the ballot in his second go-around, Buehrle bounced back last year but faces an uphill climb if he is to make it to Cooperstown.

Todd Helton
Years on ballot: 5
2023 Percentage: 72.2

After falling just a few votes short last year, Helton should be a lock for election this year.

Torii Hunter
Years on ballot: 3
2023 Percentage: 6.9

Despite a small increase from the previous year, Hunter once again had the lowest percentage of the vote while remaining on the ballot.  Things do not look good for the long-term prospects of the former Twin and Angel.

Andruw Jones
Years on ballot: 6
2023 Percentage: 58.1

If voters were to stick to his first eleven seasons, Jones looks like a shoo-in for the Hall.  His last seven seasons, though, were so bad that it makes it hard to consider him.  After crossing the 50% plateau last year, he is trending in the right direction, but doesn’t have all that much time left.

Andy Pettitte
Years on ballot: 5
2023 Percentage: 17.0

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A Change Can Do You Good

New general manager Chris Getz put his first stamp on the White Sox organization yesterday, declining the team’s $14 million option on Tim Anderson’s contract for 2024, making him a free agent.  Anderson, who was arguably the face of the franchise, saw his fortunes fall in the second half of 2022 and continued to freefall in 2023.

Drafter by the White Sox in the first round in 2013, Tim Anderson made his major league debut on June 10, 2016, going 2-3 in a victory against the Royals at US Cellular Field.  Replacing veteran Jimmy Rollins, who would be released five days later, Anderson played 99 games, hitting .283 with nine home runs, and finished seventh in Rookie of the Year balloting.  Showing that he was still a work in progress, Anderson slashed .257/.276/.402 in 2017, with a 2.1% walk rate, the lowest in the major leagues.  Defensively, he led the major leagues in errors, with 28, as well as fielding errors (16) and throwing errors (12).  He showed slight improvements in 2018, with slight improvements in his OBP and slugging percentage, while reducing his overall errors.

2019 was Anderson’s coming out party.  He led the major leagues with a .335 average while raising his OPS to .865, setting career highs with 167 hits, 32 doubles, and 81 runs.  He still had some issues on defense, leading all major league players with 26 errors, leading to the lowest fielding percentage amongst all shortstops.  His hot bat continued into the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, notching a .322 average and an .886 OPS.  He won his first Silver Slugger award while leading the White Sox to their first post-season appearance since 2008.  He thrived in the Wild Card series against the A’s, going 9-14 in the three-game series.

Anderson continued to prove that he his offensive improvement wasn’t a fluke when baseball returned full time in 2021.  He was named to his first All Star team and, on the game’s biggest stage, he hit a walk-off home run against the Yankees in the inaugural Field of Dreams game in the cornfields of Iowa.  Overall, he hit .309 and posted an .807 OPS while hitting 17 home runs and driving in 61 RBIs.  Continuing where he left off the previous October, Anderson hit .368 in the ALDS against the Astros.

Things started to sour for Anderson in 2022, both on the field and off.  Injuries limited him to just 79 games and left him with his lowest OPS since 2018.  Off the field, an Instagram post by a woman who was not Anderson’s wife insinuated they were in a relationship, and he was the father of her unborn child.  Looking for a fresh start, Anderson played with Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, earning praise from manager Mark DeRose and outfielder Mike Trout.  Unfortunately, those good vibes did not spill over to the 2023 season.  After an early injury, Anderson struggled the entire year, his OPS dropped to a career-low .582 and he managed just a single home run.

Now Anderson will look to rebuild his career outside of the only franchise he has ever known while the White Sox look to find a stopgap shortstop for 2024 until 2021 first round draft pick Colson Montgomery is ready to take the reins.

Anderson’s numbers in a White Sox uniform, both for games I attended and overall, were:

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2023 Predictions Revisited

Six months ago, I made my annual predictions as to who would win what.  With the Wild Card round in full swing, it is time to revisit those predictions and see what, if anything, I got right.

American League

East: Yankees

Yeah, I didn’t see this one coming.  The Yankees missed the postseason for the first time since 2016.  Meanwhile, the upstart Orioles came out of nowhere to win the East and take the top seed in the American League.

Central: Guardians

The Guardians put up a fight, but the Twins managed to rebound and re-take the Central.

West: Astros

It came down to the last day of the season, but the Astros did manage to win the division for the third straight year and the sixth year out of the last seven.

Wild Cards: Blue Jays, Mariners, White Sox

Oh boy.  Well, the Blue Jays managed to snag the last Wild Card spot and the Mariners lasted until the final week.  The White Sox, on the other hand, lost 100 games and were out of contention in April.

AL Champion: Yankees

If I’m going to be wrong, this is the way to do it.  The Astros look to have the easiest path, but I’m going to say either the Orioles or the Rays pull this one off.

Cy Young: Alek Manoah

This might be the wrongest prediction in the history of predictions.  Manoah was so bad this year, he spent time in both the Rookie League and AA.  Gerrit Cole looks to be the likely winner.

MVP: Julio Rodriguez

Another wrong guess.  Shohei Ohtani will probably take it, despite injuries ending his season early.

National League

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2023 Final Standings

A disappointing season on both sides of town came to an end this weekend, leaving both Chicago teams home for October.  The Cubs looked like a lock for a Wild Card spot heading into September, and even were holding on to the last spot within the past week, but managed to squander their lead.  The White Sox, on the other hand, managed to lose 100 or more games for just the fifth time in franchise history.  Despite all this, I ended up attending 43 games, tied with 2011 for my eleventh highest total of all time.  I only managed to add one new stadium, bringing my total up to 28.  All told, I managed to see 21 of the 30 teams.

2023 Team Records

Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
Toronto Blue Jays 2 0 1.000
Philadelphia Phillies 2 0 1.000
San Diego Padres 2 0 1.000
Miami Marlins 1 0 1.000
Chicago Cubs 9 2 0.818
Milwaukee Brewers 2 1 0.667
Seattle Mariners 2 2 0.500
San Francisco Giants 1 1 0.500
Oakland Athletics 1 1 0.500
St. Louis Cardinals 1 1 0.500
Detroit Tigers 1 1 0.500
Cleveland Guardians 1 1 0.500
Tampa Bay Rays 1 1 0.500
Baltimore Orioles 1 1 0.500
Chicago White Sox 15 21 0.417
Arizona Diamondbacks Continue reading →

Will The Last One To Leave Guaranteed Rate Field Please Turn Out The Lights

The ink wasn’t dry on yesterday’s post about the Lance Lynn trade when it was announced that the next domino had fallen: Kendall Graveman is going back to Houston in exchange for catcher Korey Lee.  Graveman, who finished the 2021 season with the Astros before signing with the White Sox as a free agent, was mostly fine during his tenure with the White Sox, though he struggled somewhat while filling in as closer this year while Liam Hendriks recuperates.

Korey Lee, 25, who was the fifth ranked prospect in the Astros system, was a college teammate of Andrew Vaughn and is known as a top-tier defensive catcher.  He didn’t hit much in 12 big league games with the Astros in 2022, but has a .283 average in Triple A so far this year.  He’s currently on the IL with an oblique strain.  With Yasmani Grandal a free agent after this year, Lee should be in the mix behind the plate in 2024.

Looking Ahead To 2024

Using the extra off day in the All-Star break, Major League Baseball released their tentative 2024 schedule on Thursday.  For the second year in a row, MLB is keeping with a balanced schedule, playing 52 games against division opponents, 64 games against non-division opponents in the same league, and 46 interleague games, with series against every team in the opposite league.  With the White Sox entering an uncertain second half of 2023 following a disappointing year and a half during what should have been the prime of their contention window, and the Cubs looking to take the next step forward in their rebuild, the 2024 season looks to be an interesting time in the city of Chicago.  So, for one day, at least, let’s turn our attention to next summer for both teams.

The White Sox open their season on March 28 against the Tigers, kicking off a six-game homestand that also features the Braves.

Aside from the Braves, the new interleague schedule sees the Pirates, Reds, Dodgers, Braves, Mets, Rockies, and Nationals travelling to Chicago, while the White Sox will go on the road to face the Phillies, Marlins, Cardinals, Brewers, Diamondbacks, and Padres. The rivalry with their north side foes continues with a two-game series at Wrigley Field in early June followed by a mid-August tilt at Guaranteed Rate Field that leaves both teams the rare Sunday off-day.

After a west coast trip in mid-September, the season wraps up with a mid-week home battle against the Angels followed by a trip to Detroit to finish up the year.

On the north side, the Cubs also open their season on March 28, heading out on the road for the first time in five years to battle the Rangers.  After a three-game series, they open the home portion of the schedule against the Rockies.

Aside from the Rangers, the Cubs will head out on the road to face the Mariners, Orioles, Guardians, Red Sox, and Royals, while the A’s, Twins, Angels, Yankees, Blue Jays, and Tigers will be coming to Wrigley.

Only six of their 26 games in September are against their NL Central rivals, which could make a difference if the Cubs find themselves in contention.  They end the year with a three-game tilt at home against the Reds.

2023 All Star Break Standings

For the first time since 2001, the Midsummer Classic returns to Seattle and T-Mobile Park.  As the stars of the baseball world gather in the Pacific Northwest for tonight’s showdown, it’s time to take a look at the team records for the 24 games, featuring 60% of the teams in the league, that I attended in the first half of the baseball season, a disappointing one on both sides of town.

2023 Team Records

Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
Philadelphia Phillies 2 0 1.000
Toronto Blue Jays 2 0 1.000
Miami Marlins 1 0 1.000
San Francisco Giants 1 0 1.000
Cleveland Guardians 1 0 1.000
Chicago Cubs 3 1 0.750
Chicago White Sox 10 10 0.500
Tampa Bay Rays 1 1 0.500
St. Louis Cardinals 1 1 0.500
Seattle Mariners 1 1 0.500
Baltimore Orioles 1 1 0.500
Detroit Tigers 0 1 0.000
Houston Astros 0 1 0.000
Milwaukee Brewers 0 1 0.000
New York Mets 0 1 0.000
Pittsburgh Pirates 0 1 0.000
Boston Red Sox 0 2 0.000
Kansas City Royals 0 2 0.000

It Hasn’t Been A While

Coming in to the 2023 season, I had seen every team since the pandemic-stricken 2020 season save two: the Pirates, who I had last seen in 2019, and the Marlins, who I hadn’t seen in person since 2013.  This week, I knocked both of those teams off the list, with the Marlins coming through Guaranteed Rate Field this past weekend and the Pirates in town at Wrigley Field this week.

Less than halfway through the 2023 season, I’ve already seen fourteen of the 30 clubs, just under half.  That number jumps to 25 when we turn the clock back to 2022.  That’s 83% of the league that I’ve seen in less than a season and a half.  The remaining five I saw in 2021, and I’m sure at least two or three will make an appearance in the second half of 2023.  Anyway, here’s a look at each team and the last time I saw them play.

Most Recent Game By Team

Team Name Date
Washington Nationals 5/19/2021
St. Louis Cardinals 5/26/2021
San Diego Padres 6/1/2021
Boston Red Sox 9/11/2021
Cincinnati Reds 9/28/2021
Seattle Mariners 4/12/2022
Los Angeles Angels 4/30/2022
New York Yankees 5/15/2022
Los Angeles Dodgers 6/8/2022
Texas Rangers 6/12/2022
Atlanta Braves 6/18/2022
Toronto Blue Jays 6/20/2022
Colorado Rockies 7/27/2022
Oakland Athletics 7/30/2022
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All Time Team Records

After a long winter, the 2023 baseball season gets underway today.  To celebrate, it is time once again to look at the all-time team records for games that I have identified as having attended dating back to 1984.  Last year, I tied 2012 for my 16th highest game total of all time, a big drop-off from the year before, and managed to see 20 out of the 30 teams, so there should be some nice changes.

The White Sox look to bounce back after a disappointing 2022, with a new manager hoping to regain the AL Central crown and move past the ALDS in the post-season, while the Cubs are finally hoping to be back in the conversation when it comes to the NL playoff picture.  The 2023 season should be an interesting one on both sides of town.

All-Time Team Records

Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
California Angels 2 0 1.000
Arizona Diamondbacks 15 2 0.882
Cleveland Guardians 2 1 0.667
Florida Marlins 15 8 0.652
New York Yankees 19 12 0.613
Colorado Rockies 11 7 0.611
Boston Red Sox 19 13 0.594
Los Angeles Angels 20 15 0.571
Toronto Blue Jays 15 12 0.556
Philadelphia Phillies 11 9 0.550
Washington Nationals 7 6 0.538
Cleveland Indians 31 27 0.534
Chicago White Sox 351 321 0.522
Chicago Cubs 226 211 0.517
Houston Astros Continue reading →

2023 Predictions

After three straight seasons of strange occurrences, the 2023 baseball season looks to kick off tomorrow without any COVID or lockout effects in sight.  For the thirteenth consecutive year, I’ve looked into the crystal ball to make my picks for the upcoming season.

American League

East: Yankees

Central: Guardians

West: Astros

Wild Cards: Blue Jays, Mariners, White Sox

AL Champion: Yankees

Cy Young: Alek Manoah

MVP: Julio Rodriguez

National League

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