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Venom Strikes 2022 Baseball Hall of Fame Picks: Peter Smith

Peter Smith
2021 National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
2021 National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
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Andruw Jones

Andruw Jones is getting my vote on the merits of his defense. Holding a bat, he can certainly hold his own, but a 111 OPS+ doesn't exactly set the world on fire. Jones is, in my humble opinion, the best defensive center fielder of all time. Like Rolen, DRS was introduced in the middle of his career. It also omits the best years of his career, but the eye test still works great. That said, his 60 DRS in center field is still excellent. A big knock against him is that he had a prolonged stretch where he just straight up wasn't good, but I don't care. He was so great for long enough that it isn't a consideration. A similar thing could be said about Albert Pujols, but that's a story for another time.

Álex Rodríguez

Say what you will about Álex Rodríguez as a sportscaster, but his time on the field was electric. His triple slash of .295 / .380 / .550 is outstanding, and good for an OPS+ of 140. He won three MVP awards, was a 14-time All-Star, a 10-time Silver Slugger recipient, and won a ring with the Yankees in 2009. A-Rod is an iconic player. He delivered outstanding performances year after year on each team he played on.

Billy Wagner

Billy Wagner was a lock-down closer for his whole career. A seven-time All-Star, including in his final season, Wagner had a career 2.31 ERA, 187 ERA+, a 0.998 WHIP, 1,196 strikeouts, all over 903 innings pitched. If those numbers don't scream "dominant," I don't know what does. While he never saw postseason success, his regular-season statistics jump off the page. He also retired at a high point in his career, something not everyone does. I think that he's the reliever with the best shot to get in on this ballot.

David Ortiz

David Ortiz is a legend of the game, full stop. One thing I admire about Big Papi is his story as just some guy blowing people's minds at an impromptu home-run derby at a minor league stadium in Wisconsin, to a guy who separated himself from the pack in Minnesota to one of the best power hitters of all time in Boston. He had a triple slash of .286 / .380 / .552, racked up 2,472 hits, 541 homers, 1,768 RBI, and had an OPS+ of 141. He was also named to 10 All-Star teams, won seven silver sluggers, won three rings with Boston, and was named both an ALCS MVP and a World Series MVP. There is something for everyone with Big Papi, whether you're sabermetrically inclined or just like to look at awards and counting stats.

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