PREDICTING BASEBALL’S  HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2008

The induction ceremonies for the National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown. It is an impressive class, featuring worthy players Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines an, Ivan Rodriguez, plus executives John Schuerholz and – I know many of you don’t like this – commissioner Bud Selig.

What will the Class of 2018 look like? Here’s my guess:

Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero. They’re the two top holdovers from last year’s balloting, receiving 74 percent and 71.7 percent, respectively (75 percent is required for election). They’ll almost certainly go over the top this time.

I don’t think anyone else on last year’s ballot will be elected. Edgar Martinez (58.6 percent) figures to gain some support in his ninth year of eligibility. I don’t think he’ll ever make it, due mainly to anti-DH bias. I don’t think that is fair because DH became a position in the American League in 1973. If he had not been a DH, he would’ve been Seattle’s decent-field, great-hit third baseman.

I believe Roger Clemens (54.1 percent) and Barry Bonds (53.8 percent) will continue to close in on election as more writer-voters figure they’ve made their anti-PEDS point. I think they’ll both be elected within five years. The sooner the better as far as I’m concerned.

Of the other holdovers, I give Mike Mussina (51.8 percent) a 60-40 chance to be elected before his eligibility runs out. I believe Curt Schilling’s (45 percent) outspoken political views gave slammed Cooperstown’s doors in his face permanently. I don’t think that it fair but he should’ve known better.

I think Fred McGriff (21.7 percent) and Jeff Kent (16.7 percent) have deserved more support but it seems clear that they’ll never be voted in.

Manny Ramirez (23.8 percent in his first year on the ballot last year) has Hall of Fame numbers, but he turned off too many voters as a two-time PED loser.

Sammy Sosa (8.6 percent in his fifth year on the ballot) could fall below the 5 percent minimum to remain on the ballot. Why Clemens and Bonds for Cooperstown but not Sosa? Because Clemens and Bonds were great players before using steroids and Sosa was not.

The top newcomers on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot will be Chipper Jones (.303; 2,726 hits; 468 HRs; 1,623 RBI; 150 stolen bases; solid third baseman defensively) and Jim Thome (.276; 2,328 hits; 612 HRs; 1,699 RBI). I believe they’ll both be elected in their first year of eligibility.

The other newcomers include Andruw Jones, Scott Rolen, Johnny Damon, Jamie Moyer and Omar Vizquel.  They were excellent players but I don’t think they’ll ever be Hall of Famers. Vizquel had 2,877 hits and 11 Gold Gloves at shortstop, but modern analytics have somewhat downgraded his defensive prowess. He’d get my vote but I think I’d be in the minority.

My 2018 Hall of Fame ballot would be (in order of preference): Barry Bonds...Roger Clemens...Jim Thome...Vladimir Guerrero...Chipper Jones...Trevor Hoffman...Edgar Martinez...Omar Vizquel...Mike Mussina...Curt Schilling.

My predicted Hall of Fame Class of 2018:  Guerrero...Jones...Thome...Hoffman.

THE NEW VERSION OF MURDERERS’ ROW FOR THE YANKEES

The great New York Yankees of the late 1920s had the fearsome Murderers’ Row lineup, featuring Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

The current Yankees have a new version of the Murderers’ Row – and this one is in the bullpen.

Adam Warren. Chad Green. Tommy Kahnle. David Robertson. Dellln Betances. Aroldis Chapman.

Six power arms. The deepest bullpen in baseball. How can you not be impressed.

CC Sabathia was miffed Thursday night when manager Joe Girardi took him out of the game with a 4-3 lead and one out in the top of the fifth. CC was out of line. The revamped bullpen is this team’s greatest asset and Girardi will be milking it – as well he should.

This deep bullpen is not perfect because all six flamethrowers are right-handed.

Lefty Chasen Shreve was demoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He is dominating International League hitters (1.59 ERA, 19 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings worked in 9 games) but he does not have overpowering stuff.

The missing piece for New York’s bullpen is a hard-throwing lefty.  No wonder Detroit’s Justin Wilson is a trade target (2.75 ERA; 39 1/3 innings; 21 hits allowed; 16 walks; 55 strikeouts; 0.94 WHIP).

A NEW LEAGUE FOR THE RAZORSHARKS?

Rochester’s winningest current pro team could be playing in a new league this coming season.

Rochester RazorSharks owner Dr. Sev Hrywnak has unveiled North American Premier Basketball, scheduled  to launch January 1, 2018.

The NAPB will operate coast-to-coast in the United States and western Canada. The goal is to have 20 to 25 teams for the 2020 season.

The Premier Basketball League will continue as a second division of NAPB. The 2017 PBL champion RazorSharks will move to the NAPB. Applicants to the new league reportedly include Hawaii, Las Vega, Seattle and Vancouver.

There is no shortage of basketball players aspiring to be pros and NAPB will conduct 15 talent combines from August 19 through Dec. 3, including Nov. 4 in Rochester. The fee to try out will be $175 in advance and $225 at the door. Check out https://thepbl.wufoo.com/forms/s1ddoub41jevdqk/ to register.

Dr. Sev founded the PBL in 2008 and his RazorSharks won the championship in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

ANOTHER BUMP IN THE ROAD FOR ADAM BRETT WALKER III

2016 Rochester Red Wings Most Valuable Player Adam Brett Walker III is looking for a new team again. After a 3-for-5 game for the Norfolk Tides July 8, he had a 0-for-22 slump (with 8 strikeouts) in his next six games and was released by the parent Baltimore Orioles July 23.

In 18 games with Norfolk this season, the right-handed slugger/whiffer batted .090 (6-for-67), with 1 HRs, 3 RBI, 0 walks and 26 strikeouts.

In 132 games for the Red Wings last season, he batted .243 (116-for-478), with 27 HRs, 75 RBIs and a team-record 202 strikeouts.

He’s 25 and has yet to play in a Major League Baseball game.

RED WINGS: HERE’S THE PITCH

The Rochester Red Wings received another sterling pitching performance Thursday night – this time by starter Kyle Gibson and the bullpen – in a 3-1 victory in Indianapolis. The Wings are 60-44 and tied their season-best +16 over .500 (60-44 record).

Rochester leads the International League with a 3.20 earned-run average. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is second at 3.42. The Red Wings haven’t led the IL in ERA since 1976 (3.51 for Joe Altobelli’s pennant-winning team; Dennis Martinez was the ace pitcher).

Rochester has allowed the fewest runs (353) and the fewest walks (240) in the IL. The Wings have allowed the fourth-fewest hits (828) and rank 10th in strikeouts.

The bullpen has been spectacular. Since June 15, Rochester relievers have a 1.50 ERA in 40 games. For the season, the bullpen has a 19-11 record and a 2.46 ERA.

SHORT SHOTS

Tim Tebow was 3-for-5 Wednesday night to boost his batting average to .315 (29-for-92) with 4 HRs and 19 RBI in 28 games with the St. Lucie Mets (Advanced-A Florida State League). He isn’t a major-league prospect but he is not a bad baseball player.

The Denver Outlaws clinched a spot in Major League Lacrosse’s four-team playoffs with a 12-11 overtime home victory over the Chesapeake Bayhawks before 9,824 fans Thursday afternoon. Denver has made the playoffs 11 times in 12 years and gave Rochester’s playoff hopes a boost. Denver is 9-4. Chesapeake is 6-7 (with one game remaining in the regular season) and the Rattlers are 6-6 (with two games remaining).

The Rochester Rattlers (6 wins, 3 losses, 8 draws) are facing the toughest four-game stretch of their USL season: at Cincinnati Saturday...at New York Red Bulls II August 5...at Harrisburg August 8...host the Charlotte Battery Saturday, Aug. 19, at Capelli Sport Stadium. The Rattlers will be ready to play after losing 5-0 in Charleston early this season.

2013 International League MVP and Rookie of the Year Chris Colabello (for the Rochester Red Wings) has a new team. He was released early this month from the Columbus Clippers (International League) by the Cleveland Indians and signed with the Milwaukee Brewers. Through 10 games for Colorado Springs (Pacific Coast League), Colabello is hitting  .205 (8-for-39) with 2 doubles, 2 HRs and 7 RBI.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Friday, July 28 – Caleb Smith (26)...Darin Ruf (31)...Ali Krieger (33)...Zach Parise (33)...DeMeco Ryans (33)...Manu Ginobili (40)...UFC’s Dana White (48)...Bob Milacki (53)...Bruce Wilkerson (53)...Vida Blue (68)...Bill Bradley (74).

Saturday, July 29

Dak Prescott (24)...Chad Billingsley (33)...Keith Wilis (58)...Teddy Atlas (61)...Flo Hyman (63)...Dan Driessen (66). Documentary producer Ken Burns (64) is invited to the birthday party.

Sunday, July 30

Dylan Larkin (21)...Scott Diamond (31)...Justin Rose (37)...Markus Naslund (44)...Jurgen Klinsmann (53)...Chris Mullin (54)...Reggie Roby (56)...Daley Thompson (59)...Clint Hurdle (60)...Bill Cartwright (60). Hilary Swank (43), Laurence Fishburne (56) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (70) are invited to the birthday party.