We are finally at the end of the Hall of Fame ballot, and also the polls. It is entirely fitting that among the last three are two whose futures were joined together on June 2, 1997 upon selected by the Blue Jays — 5th overall and in the 5th round. They worked up through the system together, became very close friends, and though their professional careers diverged in 2000, they re-converge in both ended up on the 2019 Hall of Fame ballot.
I was going to do a separate poll for Vernon Wells, just cause he was a Blue Jay and he was a favorite of mine. He had a good 15 year career, the first 12 with the Blue Jays. Hit .270/.319/.459 with 270 home runs (puts him 192 on the all-time list. We might make light of his career, but wouldn’t you like to be number 192 on some all-time list. My kids will tell you I’m up in the top 50 in most bad jokes told, but that might be it for me.).
He finished with a 28.5 bWAR, including standout years in 2003, 2006 and 2010. He had three All-Star appearances, two Silver Sluggers, three Gold Gloves and got MVP votes twice. In 2003 he led the American League with 215 hits, 49 doubles (87 total extra base hits), and 373 total bases.
I enjoyed watching him play. He was one of the few that always always went down the first base line at full speed, And he went full speed in outfield too. It likely contributed to his hamstring problems, but it made him fun to watch. The Jays weren’t smart to give him that huge contract, but that wasn’t his fault.
But, he isn’t a Hall of Famer.
Fun fact: the two players drafted directly ahead of Wells at 5th overall in 1997? Troy Glaus out of UCLA and Jason Grilli out of Seton Hall, both of whom ended up with the Jays at some point of their careers.
Kevin Youkilis may have been the Greek God of Walks and he had a handful of very nice seasons, but I don’t think many of us would say he should be in the Hall.
He played 10 years, hit .271/.382/.478, with 150 home runs and 539 walks. He had a career 32.6 bWAR. He played 8.5 seasons with the Red Sox, half season with the White Sox and finished his career with a season with the Yankees. He had a Gold Glove, played in 3 All-Star games and had MVP votes twice, finishing 3rd and 5th.
He had a run of three very good seasons, mid-career, hitting .308/.404/.560 with 75 homers, 271 RBI and 197 walks in 383 games, but his peak didn’t last long and his numbers went downhill quickly.
Michael Young was drafted in the 5th round of the 1997 draft, but Gord Ash traded him to the Rangers for Esteban Loaiza as he tried to plug holes in the rotation for a run at the Yankees in 2000. Not a good trade.
He wound up having a good career as a solid regular, 14 seasons. He hit .300/.346/.441 with 185 home runs good for a 24.6 bWAR and twice lead the AL in hits (over 200 hits five times).
He made seven All-Star teams, had one Gold Glove and had MVP votes five times, finishing as high as 8th. Had mid-range power, good for a middle infielder, but topped out at 24 home runs. He had 21 to 24 homers in fours seasons.
He was good, not great. Peaked out at 3.8 bWAR in his best season. Had four seasons with 3+ WAR but never a season over 4 WAR.
But he had his fans, I’m expecting he’ll get a few votes from the Writers, but I don’t see him as a Hall of Famer.
Though short of the Hall of Fame standard, Vernon Wells and Michael Young are two of the better draft picks in franchise history. That makes it all the more appropriate that they end up on the ballot that will elect Roy Halladay, the first player drafted and developed by the Jays to go into Cooperstown.
Would you vote Vernon Wells onto the Blue Jays Level of Excellence?
This poll is closed
Does Michael Young belong on the Mount Rushmore of Gord Ash’s trade mistakes?
This poll is closed