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Jeter-only ballots test Walker’s induction

Rockies news and links for Saturday, November 23, 2019

Why Derek Jeter, and only Derek Jeter, is on my Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the Class of 2020 | Newsday

Larry Walker’s ballot percentages may take a hit if this trend continues: Anthony Rieber only wants one at the induction podium.

Rieber, a sportswriter from New York, wrote an entire article justifying his take. “In another year, with a different composition of the BBWAA ballot, I would not have voted only for Jeter. But this year’s BBWAA ballot made it the only choice for me.”

Apparently the players he regarded as good enough last year—Bonds, Clemens, Pettitte, Ramirez, Schilling and Visquel—aren’t good enough this year.

His concept does deserve some hearing out, at least with regards to if a voter consistently selects a small number of players year after year. What remains in question is to check nine boxes the previous year, deeming all of them Hall worthy, and then abandoning the six that didn’t get in, as if they suddenly aren’t good enough anymore. The usual argument for the ’Small Hall’ voters, and what Rieber put in his own article, is that “the Hall of Fame is so watered down now.” Rieber filled out 90 percent of the maximum checkmarks last year, suggesting he watered up enough that he could pull a Lou Brown on his ballot this year if he wanted.

Judging by Rieber’s article and his past voting, it sounds like his ballot wouldn’t have a Larry Walker checked box, Jeter or not. He does has some defense in that Bonds, Clemens and company will have another chance.

Steven Marcus is another voter who only voted in one. He also published an article citing his motives, and adheres to the ‘Small Hall’ principles in which he says some voters seldom pick over four players of the available 10 votes. He took to Twitter with his ballot and the tweet has received three times as many replies as it has likes so far.

Rieber and Marcus earned the opportunity to receive a ballot, a huge accomplishment that any writer should admire. Their opinions are thought out and respectable, albeit easy to side heavily against them. We are left to hope these voters didn’t go Jeter-only for attention.

Yasmani Grandal, White Sox agree to four-year, $73M deal |

Yasmani Grandal is not coming to Denver.

The Chicago White Sox dished out their richest contract ever to land him, and their GM stated “This is an elite add at a premium position today.” Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post wrote a month ago on how Colorado landing him would be unlikely, and the doubts have now been actualized.

Saunders cited the demands of catching games at altitude as reason for Colorado to seek a viable backup. With Wolters batting from the left side, it would make sense to sign a right-handed hitting catcher for platoon purposes, too. Wolters doesn’t swing with immense power, as seven career home runs and a .239/.327/.324 career slash indicates. An ideal candidate seems to be a right-handed-hitting backup catcher with some pop, also good for late inning subs or pinch hits, and for days against left-handed starters.

The position is definitely a premium, however, and you can only refine the search for a catcher so far. An infielder can move to other positions, outfielders can slide to their left or right, and unless a catcher pulls a Joe Mauer or the designated hitter introduces itself to the National League, a catcher is confined to their home plate duties. Mix in the uncertainty on how much money the Rockies are willing to fork over after a dismal 2019 campaign, and this search gets complicated in a hurry.

It’s been Wolters’s work behind the plate that has cemented him in many respects as the Rockies catcher. He threw out 34 percent of stolen base targets, good enough for second best in the National League among starting catchers. His manager has 15 years of big league experience on the mound, which surely asserts catching abilities as a premium while writing down the lineup.

Wolters also got to catch the worst ERA in the National League.

It is understandable that a power hitting catcher would love to hit at Coors Field, but it comes with a fair share of complications. Grandal may not have been the catcher people anticipated in Colorado, but the prospective target remains, and the ideal candidate might just be mere fantasy.