The Baseball Hall Of Fame ballot is out! This is one of my favorite days of the off-season. I love looking at the new players on the list and looking at the guys that will get in. It is also very fun to see the guys that have no chance to get 5% and stay on the ballot for another year. Seeing James Shields on this list brings me actual joy. People I'd vote for are in bold (sorry James Shields).
This is not a bad ballot. You have an automatic first ballot Hall of Famer in Adrian Beltre. He has 3177 career hits and 477 home runs. He was incredible defensively. Beltre is a pretty easy slam dunk.
Joe Mauer would get my vote and I do think he will get in eventually but it'll be closer than you may think for this go round. He only played 15 seasons, wasn't much of a power hitter (143 home runs) and really was an average player those last five seasons. But he was also a catcher who won three batting titles and even won the 2009 AL MVP. It's not an easy pick but I'd vote for him.
I don't see any of the other new players having a shot at getting in. Chase Utley may get in one day but it's going to take longer than Phillies fans want to acknowledge. He only has 1885 career hits. The last guy to get voted into the HOF from the writers with less than 2000 hits was Ralph Kiner in 1975.
David Wright will stay on the ballot for a few years but I don't see any way he cracks 40%. It's a shame but he needed to stay healthy for another four or so years. Bartolo Colon pitched long enough and had 247 wins but he's also a PED guy with an ERA of 4.12. Matt Holliday had a very nice career but played his best seasons in Colorado. He is in the Hall Of The Very Good.
Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, Victor Martinez all just didn't play long enough but still had nice careers. I would be shocked if any of them hit the 5% needed to appear next year. Jose Reyes also didn't play long enough but being suspended for domestic violence and being a bad person will keep him off the ballot pretty quickly as well.
This is Gary Sheffield's last year on the ballot. He hit 55.0% last year (you need 75% for election). He may hit 60% in this final year but I don't see him even hitting 70%. That's too much of a jump and the PED allegations. He appeared on the Mitchell Report and had ties to BALCO. He claims he used steroids but did it unknowingly. I don't believe that he didn't know he was using PED's personally and I think enough writers agree.
I think Todd Helton gets in this year. He had 72.2% of the vote last year. He'd get my vote too. I know he played his whole career in Colorado but you can't ignore that career slash line: .316/.414/.539. He also has 2519 career hits. His career path is similar to Mauer where he became pretty ordinary the last 1/3 of his career. But like Mauer, he was never bad and his greatness early on is enough for me.
I'd also vote for the following:
Bobby Abreu: He has no chance of getting in but I wish he'd get a real look. He had an incredible batting eye and has a career WAR of over 60.
Carlos Beltran: He'll get into Cooperstown in a few years. The writers are still punishing him for the Astros cheating scandal and if the writers have a chance to wield power over someone, they will. He got 46.5% last year and I bet he crashes 50 this year.
Andruw Jones: The best defensive centerfielder I've ever seen. Not only that but he was a very good hitter as well. He only has four years left on the ballot so he's running out of time. He's along with Chase Utley in the under 2000 hit club. My prediction is Jones gets in but it might take the full 10 years.
Billy Wagner: I know he doesn't feel like a HOFer in your gut and he never pitched in a World Series. But put that away for a minute and look at his resume. He was completely dominant for almost his entire career. He even finished with 422 career saves. He was awful in the post-season but I attribute that to a small sample size.
Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez are the last big names on this list. I wouldn't vote for either and neither will get in. Both got under 36% in the last ballot. Maybe the committees let them in eventually but if Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens proved anything, it's that steroid guys don't get in.
Who I'd Vote For:
Who I Think Gets In This Year