January 05, 2013

Mike Piazza battles #bacne for shot at #Cooperstown and HOF

The header pretty much sums it up.

Mike Piazza, a perennial All-Star catcher, and one who's been underrated defensively (I don't know about Fangraphs, but Baseball-Reference gives him a career positive dWAR) is on the MLB Hall of Fame ballot for the first time.

His opponent? The black cloud of steroids allegations, fueled in his case by reports that he had outbreaks of acne on his back, or "bacne." Given that it was sportswriting curmudgeon Murray Chass who saw fit to play it up, per Deadspin, we really should "bracket" that.

That said, Piazza's counting stats look good, by position, fueled by a catchers record for home runs. On the other hand, that fuels the roiding-suspicious, too.

Other stuff? WAA of 35.9 and WAR of 56.1 are both good for catchers, as is runs by positional scarcity. OPS+ of 143 and OPS of .922, too.

He's a HOFer, for sure, if not for the allegations.

Where do I stand?

Other than the bacne issue, the allegations against Piazza have not flown fast and furious, but more under the carpet.

On the other hand, those are big, record-like sabermetric numbers for a catcher, which again fuels the suspicions.

So, my rhetorical questions test?

Will he get in this year? No.

Will he get in eventually? Yes.

Should he, IMO, get in eventually? I think so.

Should he get in this year, IMO? No. The suspicions are vague, but I can't totally dismiss them. And, when his turn comes, I'll say the same about Pudge Rodriguez.

For both of them, as catchers, the health and longevity issues also raise questions and eyebrows. Let's not forget about HGH as well as steroids.

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