Last July, the Baseball Hall of Fame quietly did a good thing. A decade before, the Hall had permanently shut the door on Negro League inductions after a special, one-off election that put in 17 contributors. Several people subsequently cried foul, because white contributors as far back as the 19th century have remained eligible. So last July, amid a series of rule changes, the Hall of Fame made Negro Leaguers eligible again.
So who are some of the Negro League contributors who might be worthy of more frequent consideration by the Hall of Fame? Here are 10 deserving of at least another look:
No sugar-coating here: Urias’ first two big-league starts were rough. He didn’t make it out of the third inning in his debut, then gave up three dingers in his second outing. But, y’know, he was just 19 years old and he spent the rest of the season showing why he was considered baseball’s best pitching prospect. In his final 16 games (13 starts), the lefty fashioned a 2.73 ERA and struck out 77 in 69 1/3 innings while working with tight pitch limits.
The 10th overall pick of the 2012 draft, Dahl hit .315 with seven homers and five stolen bases in his 63-game debut with the Rockies in 2016. His Coors Field numbers were outstanding, but the left-handed hitter still batted .291 with four homers an .833 OPS on the road. He’s next in the long line of feared Rockies hitters.
Forget about that ugly 8.02 ERA last year. Berrios has the stuff to be an All-Star pitcher in the bigs, and with an offseason to digest 2016’s whirlwind, he should be fine in 2017 if he finds the control that often eluded him in his rookie year. The right-hander doesn’t even turn 23 until late May.