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05-26

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Fantasy Freestyle: Miggy's Decline?
by
Matt Collins

01-18

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Cold Takes: Why Do Hall of Fame Voters Love Relievers?
by
Patrick Dubuque

01-18

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10

Outta Left Field: Cooperstown Changes
by
Dustin Palmateer

12-12

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10

Flu-Like Symptoms: The Compilers
by
Rob Mains

07-05

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7

Prospectus Q&A: Dan Shaughnessy
by
Tim Britton

06-08

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Team Chemistry: The Outsized Importance of a Joe Mauer Cold Streak
by
John Choiniere

04-08

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4

Players Prefer Presentation: Cole Hamels, and The Win's Long Con
by
Meg Rowley

01-12

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7

Baseball Therapy: Put Russell In the Hall of Fame
by
Russell A. Carleton

01-06

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3

Players Prefer Presentation: The Seattle Fan's Guide To HOF Happiness and Heartbreak
by
Meg Rowley

01-06

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3

The BP Wayback Machine: The Case for Tim Raines
by
Rany Jazayerli

01-06

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7

Daisy Cutter: On the HOF Voters Who Take It Seriously
by
Sahadev Sharma

12-10

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2

BP Unfiltered: The Piazza-but-not-Bagwell Voter
by
Sam Miller

11-18

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Prospectus Feature: Commence Retirement Tour
by
Alex Skillin

05-20

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7

The Lineup Card: Seven Memories of Randy Johnson's Hall of Fame Career
by
Baseball Prospectus

04-29

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3

The Lineup Card: Memories of Craig Biggio's Hall of Fame Career
by
Baseball Prospectus

01-09

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9

Daisy Cutter: Candidate Obituaries for the Zero Percenters, Part 2
by
Sahadev Sharma

01-07

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22

Ninety Percent Mental: Are Secret Ballots Ruining Cooperstown?
by
Lewie Pollis

01-07

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7

Daisy Cutter: Candidate Obituaries For the Zero Percenters
by
Sahadev Sharma

01-07

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5

Skewed Left: An Astro for the Ages
by
Zachary Levine

01-06

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19

Moonshot: The Changing Hall of Fame Criteria
by
Robert Arthur

12-31

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70

BP Hall of Fame Voting
by
Baseball Prospectus

12-30

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34

Baseball Therapy: How to Vote Strategically for the Hall of Fame
by
Russell A. Carleton

11-21

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11

Pebble Hunting: Hank Aaron's Hypothetical Fortune
by
Sam Miller

09-29

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2

The BP Wayback Machine: So long Abreu; Farewell, Willingham
by
Baseball Prospectus

07-28

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BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 501: News from the Hall of Fame Front
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

07-28

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21

The HOF Rule Change
by
Mike Gianella

07-28

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The Week in Quotes: July 21-27, 2014
by
Nick Bacarella, Morris Greenberg, Chris Mosch and Nick Wheatley-Schaller

07-25

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4

The View from the Loge Level: Ode to Joe
by
Daron Sutton

01-24

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19

Raising Aces: Classic Deliveries: Fade to Black and White
by
Doug Thorburn

01-17

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9

Raising Aces: Classic Deliveries: Hall of Fame Inductees 1980-89
by
Doug Thorburn

01-16

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TINSTAAPP: TINSTAAP Episode 17: Offseason Chatter
by
Paul Sporer and Doug Thorburn

01-10

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The BP Wayback Machine: The Old You're In, You're Out
by
Joe Sheehan

01-10

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9

Raising Aces: Classic Deliveries: Hall of Fame Inductees of 1990-94
by
Doug Thorburn

01-09

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24

Baseball Therapy: The Hall of Fame Ballots By the Numbers
by
Russell A. Carleton

01-09

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BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 361: Jay Jaffe on the Top Takeaways from the Hall of Fame Election Season
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

01-09

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22

A Vote for Transparency
by
Lewie Pollis

01-08

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9

Overthinking It: What Scouts Said About 2014's Top Cooperstown Candidates
by
Ben Lindbergh

01-08

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13

The Lineup Card: Seven Pioneers Worthy of Hall of Fame Induction
by
Baseball Prospectus

01-08

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BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 360: Scouting 2013 Hall of Fame Candidates
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

01-07

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21

Skewed Left: What the 1936 Hall of Fame Ballot Tells Us About Today's
by
Zachary Levine

01-06

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BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 358: Is Hall of Fame Balloting Really Broken?
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

01-05

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46

BP Hall of Fame Voting
by
Baseball Prospectus

01-28

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14

Baseball ProGUESTus: Rethinking Hall of Fame Standards in Expansion Eras
by
Kevin Whitaker

01-03

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2

The BP Wayback Machine: The Nose Knows
by
Steven Goldman

01-02

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25

Skewed Left: Better Versions of Bad Hall of Fame Arguments
by
Zachary Levine

12-18

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4

Baseball ProGUESTus: The (Ad) Age of Heroes: Judging the 2014 Hall of Fame Candidates by Their Commercials
by
Michael Clair

12-12

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11

Skewed Left: A Cooperstown Party Like it's 1999
by
Zachary Levine

11-27

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BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 338: Giving Thanks for Your Emails
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

11-19

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26

Pebble Hunting: The Hall of Fame 50 Percent Probability Test
by
Sam Miller

11-15

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BP Unfiltered: Things the Hall of Fame is Not the Hall of, According to a Quick Search
by
Ben Lindbergh

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May 26, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Miggy's Decline?

0

Matt Collins

Through 33 games, the Detroit Tigers stalwart is having his worst season since he broke in as a 20-year-old in 2003. He just turned 34, but have physical issues caught up the likely Hall of Fame slugger?

For more than a decade, Miguel Cabrera has been one of the truly elite hitters in all of baseball. Despite consistently great performances, fantasy owners in recent seasons have been wary of using first-round picks (or equivalent money in auctions) on the future Hall of Famer, with concern for his imminent decline engrained in discussions of his value. Repeatedly, he’s proven that kind of talk to be silly, and that he’s still an elite hitter. Still, time eventually catches up with all of us, and even Cabrera isn’t immune to the aging curve.

With that in mind, it’s worth considering how Cabrera has struggled to start the season. At least, he’s struggled relative to the standards he’s set for himself. Through his first 139 plate appearances, he is hitting .264/.360/.430 for a TAv of .267. Prior to this season, his lowest TAv not including his rookie year was .295, and that was way back in 2008. He’s ranked as the 32nd first baseman on the Player Rater, right between Mike Napoli and Wilmer Flores. To put it simply, this is not the kind of performance at the plate that we’ve come to expect from Cabrera. Is this the start of that decline we’ve long been worried about—or is it just a blip on the radar?

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And it's not just about save totals.

As the public ballots have run past our vision like newspapers off the press in the montage of an 80s movie, there’s one trend that catches the eye: the Lee Smith/Trevor Hoffman combination. Seventy-two voters as of this writing have publicly given a final show of support for Lee Smith, former saves record-holder. And 68 of those spent a second vote on the man who surpassed him, Trevor Hoffman.

This equals the amount who also voted for Tim Raines, who has better than 15 percent more support overall and exceeds the 63 votes for Jeff Bagwell, the other clear winner from this year’s class. Forget that in terms of specialization, they put designated hitters to shame: People who like closers really, really want there to be more closers in the Hall of Fame.

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Limitless ballots could make for Hall of Fame overkill, but maybe there's a simple solution.

Former New York Times writer and current blogger Murray Chass recently wrote about why he turned in a blank Hall of Fame ballot. In the piece, he shares an e-mail he sent to ballot-tracker Ryan Thibodaux:

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Which career totals are most likely to get a "compiler" into the Hall of Fame?

It’s that time of year again. The weather turns cooler, and in parts of the country, there’s snow on the ground. The smells of spruce, peppermint, and nutmeg are in the air, as are songs we remember from childhood. The days are short, but the nights are made brighter by colorful light displays. It’s our annual seasonal tradition, marked by obsessive refreshing of Ryan Thibodaux’s Hall of Fame tracker.

I can’t remember when I first read about the difference between peak value and career value when evaluating Hall of Fame candidates. It was probably Bill James, but I’m not sure. The concept, regardless of who came up with it, is that for a player to be Hall-worthy, he must have been one of the best players in baseball for a stretch—peak value—while sustaining an overall high level of play over many years—career value. Players like Willie Mays, Ted Williams, and Babe Ruth obviously have both. Some Hall of Famers had relatively short careers but such outrageously good peaks—Sandy Koufax comes to mind as a good example; Hack Wilson as well—that they earned enshrinement. Other players had peaks that were too short, like Roger Maris and Dale Murphy.

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This year's J.G. Taylor Spink Award honoree talks about Earl Weaver's pre-game post-game quotes, how young writers can get his attention, his many clubhouse confrontations and more.

Few voices in baseball coverage are as recognizable—and yes, as polarizing—as that of Dan Shaughnessy. Since starting as a beat reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun in 1977 through his quarter-century as a columnist with the Boston Globe, Shaughnessy has become one of the most distinctive and distinguished sportswriters in America.

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In April, Joe Mauer (and his sunglasses) looked as good as ever. In May, he fell back. Each month promises a very different legacy for the lifelong Twin.

On Sunday, here at Baseball Prospectus, Meg Rowley wrote a terrific piece about what it's like to be a Mariners fan—specifically a Felix fan—in the later stages of the King's career. Speaking of aging superstars, she wrote “Every franchise has one, because every franchise is peopled by players who age,” and of course she’s right. As a lifelong Twins fan who was 6 years old when they won the ’91 Series (and who could recite the entire 25-man roster of the ’87 team by number as a 2-year-old, according to my dad), I first went through this special kind of grief with Kirby Puckett. Of course, that wasn’t exactly the same situation, as Puckett’s career was derailed by acute and unexpected/bizarre injuries rather than a slow decline, but the hope—hope of recovery from the broken jaw, hope that the vision problems weren’t serious—is the same, I think.

Now the next generation of Twins fans is going through this process with Joe Mauer, and it falls somewhere between the Felix decline and the Puckett abrupt end. Although it may have begun to some degree in 2011, when he hit the 60-day disabled list for now-infamous-among-Twins-fans “bilateral leg weakness,” the defining late-career moment for Mauer is of course the concussion he experienced on August 20th, 2013, which ended his season and forced a move away from catching much earlier in his career than expected.

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On the persistent and insidious tough luck that Cole Hamels has pitched under.

The prevailing narrative surrounding Felix Hernandez is that he has been one of the great tough-luck pitchers of the modern era. King Felix. Felix the Great. Felix the Strong. Felix the Perpetually Let Down. Burdened with great talent and Mariners’ offenses that prominently featured Endy Chavez, the King’s reign would be recognized by many fans for the games during which Felix would pitch seven innings, give up one run, then sit helplessly on the bench as his team failed to do… much of anything.

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Start the bandwagon: The next criminally underrated HOF candidate is today's criminally underrated superstar.

I might be a little biased, but I think that if there’s something that last week’s Hall of Fame results needed, it was more inductees named Russell. With Russell Branyan not eligible for election (and in legal trouble), things have been looking kinda bleak. But something else happened in last week’s results that gives me hope. Other than that guy who’s going in with a backwards cap, catcher Mike Piazza finally got his spot in the Hall of Fame.

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Ken Griffey Jr. will get inducted. Edgar Martinez will not.

The 2016 Hall of Fame inductees will be announced later today. Ken Griffey Jr. will be voted in; Edgar Martinez will not be. Other ballots have included former teammates, of course, but rarely have two figures up for simultaneous consideration been as thoroughly, undyingly beloved by their fan base as Griffey and Martinez. Especially interesting is how they occupy tail ends of the fan Bell curve now that each one’s place in history is legislated.

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How has the argument changed in the last 15 years? Let's go back to the time of his retirement and find out.

Later today we'll find out just how close Tim Raines came to the Hall of Fame in his second-to-last year on the ballot. Until then, we take a look back at what the case for him looked like at the time of his retirement. This article originally ran on March 31, 2000.

Last Friday, The Daily Prospectus contained a short sermon on the Hall of Fame worthiness of just-retired Tim Raines. Judging by the results of an ESPN.com poll that same day, not everybody was paying attention.

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Today, you will see many a bad ballot go viral. Focus instead on the hundreds of voters who make the HOF what it is.

The drive from Utica to Cooperstown is a bit of a fog. The anticipation of what awaited me and my family is not. It’s what my summer had revolved around for weeks. I don’t remember much else from our trip to upstate New York, but our trek to the National Baseball Hall of Fame will forever be etched in my mind. My dad buying my brother a wooden crimson baseball bat with a Cincinnati Reds insignia on it. (My brother had a few baseball-player obsessions back then, with Eric Davis being first and foremost.) The three of us laughing at a picture of Amos Otis when we walked through the museum—it was an inside joke that I don’t fully remember the origin of. And of course, finally seeing all the plaques of the many legends about whom I’d heard so much—being still too young to have any playing-day memories of any enshrined players. Jim Palmer and Joe Morgan stand out the most, having both been inducted just a few weeks prior. I was 9.

***

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What one small decision might tell us about the people who make it.

Over at Fox Sports, I wrote about the patterns that show up in different HOF voter types. Like, people who vote for Bonds almost always also vote for Clemens. That’s the obvious one, but there are all sorts of other interesting ways you can predict who a voter will vote for based on who else they voted for. Go read The Three People You Meet In Hall of Fame Voting.

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