Yesterday, Ron Santo and Barry Larkin were inducted into the Hall of Fame. And despite a few lonely calls from around the Internet (and probably from Reggie Jackson) that they don't measure up to baseball's best, there should be no doubt that both Santo and Larkin raise the bar for inclusion.
Larkin is (depending on where you come down on Alex Rodriguez and Robin Yount, position-wise) on of the top 10-12 shortstops in baseball history, but was overshadowed during his career by Cal Ripken and Ozzie Smith, both of whom are worthy Hall of Famers, but who cast long shadows due to their durability and their acrobatics. Larkin was also hurt by the perception that he was injury prone. And he was, only playing over 130 games 8 times in 19 career seasons. But when he did play he was absolutely dominant on both sides of the ball.
Santo suffers because his career was perfectly nestled into the greatest pitching era in living memory. But because of his power and patience and excellent defense, he ranks 7th all time in rWAR, and 8th in fWAR among 3B. And even if you’re not a fan of complicated metrics like WAR, The Common Man bets you can’t name 10 3B better than Santo. And that should be good enough to get in anybody’s Hall. Congratulations to two truly worthy players and their families.
Now we get to fight the PED wars all over again with Clemens and Bonds next year, plus defend Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell, and Alan Trammell, among others. Next winter is going to suck.
Pitcher of the Night: Jeff Karstens, 7 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 3 K, 0 R
In his last four starts, Karstens is 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA, and 22 Ks in 29 innings. After an injury plagued start to the year, Karsten's got to be making the Pirates feel good about their 2nd half chances.
Hitter of the Night: Ryan Doumit, 3-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI
There was some consternation when Doumit signed his contract extension that the Twins didn't need to commit to a guy like Doumit, on the wrong side of 30, with a solid injury history, and with little in the way of defensive skill (aside from the ability to catch...kind of). But Doumit is excelling in a hybrid role as primary DH, backup C, and occasional OFer, hitting .291/.342/.470. He's not terrific, but he's very solid and offers far better from a role player than just about any other club has.
Defensive Play of the Night: Carlos Pena?
This was a really lackluster defensive night. This is the best TCM could find, and he suspects that Ichiro would have beat that out even a year and a half ago. And there's no embedability, because not even MLB thinks that much of this play.
Big Hit of the Night: Coco Crisp
Crisp wins it in the 12th with an RBI single. Since June 7, Crisp is hitting .320/.386/.464.
Injuries of Note:
Ian Desmond, Oblique Strain
Whatever got into Desmond this year, it apparently overloaded his oblique.
Trade Bait of the Night: Brandon Belt, 0-5, 3 K
Yesterday, somebody asked on Twitter whether Belt should be dealt. Certainly, the Giants aren't getting much value out of him this year (.231/.341/.375), not nearly as much as we all expected. With the Giants casting around for an upgrade at 1B, and how little they seem to think of him, Belt could wind up wearing a different uniform this summer. He's just 3 for his last 41, with 6 walks and 18 strikeouts, and looks completely lost at the moment.
Non-trade Bait of the Night: Huston Street, 1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K, Sv
The Padres have cobbled together bullpens with baling wire and duct tape for years, and only elevated departed closer Heath Bell to the role after a couple good years setting up. If any team should know about how easy it is to find good relievers, it's the Padres. But they are inexplicably trying to sign Street to a contract extension in the middle of a career year (0.95 ERA, 16 saves in 16 chances). And when you take into account his injury history, this is a player who screams out to be dealt. Plus, a good closer on a bad team is about as useful as an iPhone in the Rennaissance. Oh well, enjoy your 4 year extension, Huston.
Tigers: Miguel Cabrera, 2-4, 2 HR
With two homers, Cabrera has an even 300 for his career, and he won't be 30 until the start of next year.
Dodgers: Matt Kemp, 2-6, 2 R
Since coming off the DL, Kemp has hit .378/.410/.622. He is good at the baseball.
Reds: Aroldis Chapman, 1 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 2 K
The beating continues. Chapman, in his last 11 appearances, has faced 36 hitters, and recorded 31 outs. He has struck out 25 of those batters. Again, Chapman has struck out 69.4% ofo the last 36 batters he's faced.
Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman, 3-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI
Going into July, Zimmerman's OPS was .642 and he was looking old and creeky. Since then, he's hit .414/.481/.886 with nine homers in 79 plate appearances. When he's healthy, he's still an absolute beast.
Giants: Nate Schierholtz, 2-5, 2 HR
The Common Man never has developed feelings one way or the other on Schierholtz. He's just that 4th outfielder whose name is hard to spell and who therefore isn't very important. Except for yesterday, when his two homers proved very important.
Phillies: John Mayberry, 2-4, 2 HR
This has been an incredibly disappointing season for Mayberry, as he's still at just .237/.274/.397 on the year even after yesterday. And he's been splitting time in LF and 1B this year. One wonders why he hasn't gotten the Dominic Brown treatment yet.
Blue Jays: Travis Snider, 2-4, HR, 3 RBI
Snider finally got the call on Friday, and made the Red Sox pay yesterday. After hitting .335/.423/.598 at Las Vegas, this is pretty much Snider's last shot to make it with the Blue Jays.
Red Sox: Jon Lester, 4 IP, 9 H, 5 BB, 2 K, 4 HR, 11 R
Lester is having a terrible season and his strikeout rate has actually fallen every year since 2009. He's far more hittable now than he was even a year ago, a fact that is belied by the 11 runs he gave up yesterday and the 5.46 ERA he has on the year.
Mariners: Blake Beavan, 8 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 R
Cardinals: Jon Jay, 4-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI
There is still a very good chance the Blue Jays wind up with the better player, but Jay's hitting .304/.373/.391, and every defensive metric available shows him as being plus in centerfield. That's a pretty damn good player.
Indians: Carlos Santana, 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI
Carlos Santana needs a cool nickname, especially since it doesn't look like the "best catcher in the American League" thing that I predicted two years ago is going to wind up happening (.232/.366/.365). How about "Evil Ways?"
Diamondbacks: Jason Kubel, 3-4, HR, 3B, 2 R, RBI
Kubel has 6 home runs in his last 5 games (20 on the year) and is hitting .333/.414/.980 for the month of June. He has 50 total bases in his last 51 at bats.
Yankees: Curtis Granderson, 2-5, HR, 2 R, RBI
Granderson started off so strong, hitting .283/.382/.602 through May 8 and looking like he might be an MVP candidate again. But since then he's only hit .230/.332/.455, which is much more in line with his career norms. He's still productive, but it's looking more and more like 2011 was a career year.
Angels: Mike Trout, 2-3, 3B, R, 2 BB
It isn't just the speed (31 steals in 34 chances, extra bases taken, crazy defense) or the power (15 homers). It's all that and the patience. God, he's terrific.
Heck, I'd actually put Larkin a top 7 all-time SS, to be honest. But he's clearly closer to #7 than anywhere else higher up the list.
Great stuff as always, I thoroughly enjoy this read each day. Thanks!