After years of debating Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling, they are all off the ballot for the writers to consider. Oh don't worry. We'll still have plenty of time to discuss their credentials when the Contemporary Era Committee meets in a couple weeks to consider them and others. I talk about that ballot here:
But today is the day for the new class. Here is the ballot the writers can vote on with the players who are listed on 75% or more ballots getting inducted into Cooperstown.
It's a pretty lackluster group. The new players (shown in italics on the tweet by HOF tracker @NotMrTibbs above) are very weak outside of Carlos Beltran. The reason Jeff Kent is underlined is that it's last year on the ballot where the writers can vote him in before he ends up being considered by a committee like the one considering Bonds and Clemens now.
Here are the results from last year. Anyone who got 5% or less on the ballot is removed for this year.
It's going to make for a lousy ballot when the top 3 vote getters from last year aren't on it. Here's who I would vote for:
My Ballot (if I had one):
- I think Rolen gets in. It's his 6th year on the ballot and he keeps going up every year. That he was only 12% away in such a stacked ballot last year bodes really well for this one. I've come around on him. I didn't take him seriously the first year he was eligible but the more I look at the numbers and the lack of third baseman in Cooperstown, he deserves a vote. He has the same exact WAR as Beltran and it's higher than Tim Raines, Tony Gwynn and Eddie Murray.
- Andruw Jones didn't play long enough for some people and he didn't hit the 2000 hit benchmark but he's the best center fielder I've ever seen.
- Beltran might be the most underrated player of his era. I don't know if it's because he isn't really associated with any one team or because he was great but always left you wanting more. I have a theory some writers may "punish" him for being involved in the 2017 Astros scandal by leaving him off in his first year on the ballot. But can writers do that with such a weak ballot?
- Billy Wagner was someone at first glance, I never considered but he has a career ERA of 2.31 with 422 saves. His strikeout rate was very high and he made seven All-Star teams. That's enough for me.
- Jeff Kent and Bobby Abreu have no chance of making it but I think both players should get more respect than they do. Kent has the most home runs by any second baseman ever and Abreu is 25th in doubles all-time and had 100 walks every year from 1999-2006. His WAR is higher than Mike Piazza, Vladimir Guerrero and Ichiro.
- I never know which way to go with Todd Helton. I felt the same way about Larry Walker until a couple of years ago. These Coors Field guy are so hard to evaluate. What made it easier for Walker is we have years where he was really good outside of Denver. Helton only played for the Rockies. I wouldn't be shocked if he gets voted in this year. He was already over 50% with last year's stacked ballot.
- Torii Hunter was a good hitter but never great and while he won nine Gold Gloves, the defensive metrics aren't as kind partly because he played so long. He's a great member of the Hall of the Very Good.
- In this day and age, 200 wins and a World Series title is enough to get at least some consideration for a starting pitcher. If Buehrle hadn't retired at 36 and pitched a couple more years, he might have gotten more serious consideration. As it is, he's more likely to drop off the ballot than get elected.
- If it wasn't for the PED's, I'd have Pettitte on ballot. He was a very good pitcher who amassed 250 wins with a brilliant post-season resume. He did admit his use and I believe his story that he only used it for one off-season. I'm just not ready to pull the trigger…
PED Guys I Can't Consider
- Manny and A-Rod are easy no votes for me. I can understand the argument for guys like Clemens and Bonds who never failed a test. Manny and A-Rod were both suspended by MLB for PED use. In fact, Manny was suspended twice.
- It's harder with Sheffield. He was mentioned in the Mitchell Report and in Game of Shadows. He's also not Barry Bonds who would have made the Hall without PED's…
- The rest of the ballot isn't very impressive. Omar Vizquel would be a no for me even before the domestic abuse and sexual assault allegations. He was a very good shortstop but his bat was very weak and his defense was overrated…Francisco Rodriguez had 243 saves and a World Series ring before he was 28 years old but the second half of his career was so pedestrian, he's a miss for me…I don't know if any player from the 2008 Phillies will make the Hall of Fame (maybe Chase Utley but I doubt it). The only thing I know is it won't be Jimmy Rollins. He did have 2455 hits but the rest of his numbers are eye popping like his .264 batting average and OPS+ of only 95. He only appeared on 9% of the ballot last year. Like Mark Buehrle, Rollins is much more likely to fall off the ballot than be elected…There are other interesting players on the ballot like R.A. Dickey, Bronson Arroyo and Jacoby Ellsbury but none of those guys will get the 5% necessary to stay on the ballot next year…
My quick prediction: Scott Rolen and Carlos Beltran both get in but barely, with each getting under 80% of the vote.