The dust has settled on the 2023 Baseball Hall of Fame vote. Looking ahead to next season, we can already start doing the balloting.
Scott Rollin has it. Jeff Kent fell from the ballot after 10 years of age. The following players scored between five and 75 percent and haven’t been on the ballot for a full 10 years, which means they’ll be back again next year:
Carlos Beltran, Todd Hilton, Billy Wagner, Andrew Jones, Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Omar Vizquel, Andy Pettitt, Jimmy Rollins, Bobby Abreu, Mark Bohrley, Torey Hunter and Francisco Rodriguez.
This is the starting point. Next, the freshmen.
Hall of Fame rules dictate that a player must be retired for five seasons before being added to the BBWAA ballot. In recent years, balloting has been between 25 and 35 players. This means that for the next cycle we will add at least the next 10 names, plus at least some more.
Oh, yeah, we started here. While I enjoy the discussions and learning more about ex-players over my years of research, it’s also fun to get a no-brainer. We haven’t seen anyone get 80 percent of the vote since Derek Jeter got close to 100 percent in the 2020 class. I don’t think Beltré won’t be unanimous, but he’ll get past 80 percent easily.
We’re talking about a hugely popular, almost universally loved player with an impressive all-time resume. He totaled 3,166 career hits, including 636 doubles and 477 home runs. He drove home 1,707 runs while hitting 1,524 runs. He hasn’t hit 100 strikeouts in any of the last 11 seasons. 286 batter, batting . 300 seven times. All of that, along with his exceptional long defense at third base, places him third in career WAR among third basemen after Mike Schmidt and Eddie Matthews. That’s it.
And as a bonus, his Wikipedia page doesn’t contain “controversies” or “legal problem” or anything like that, but it does contain “charitable and humanitarian work.”
The one thing I’m not looking forward to here is having to see the inevitable and desperate pleas for social media attention/engagement from alleged naysayers, whether voters or fans.
Mauer is a good case for why we wait five years after a player’s retirement before discussing his credentials. Towards the end of his career, I just saw a lot of negativity in his direction. We do not need to revisit the reasons for the time being. What we can do is look at his resume as a whole.
Mauer won Most Valuable Player honors and three hitting titles. He also collected three Gold Gloves and five Silvers as a catcher. This kind of skill in this position is indeed a rare air. 306 with a 0.38 on-base percentage in his career, and although power wasn’t his calling card, he still fumbled enough to retire with a 124 OPS+. Among players who have spent at least half of their time behind the plate and appeared in at least 1,000 games, this is #13 all-time.
Mauer’s 2,123 hits rank ninth among catchers, while his 1,018 runs rank 11th and his 428 doubles rank third. Adds 143 homers and 923 RBI. In WAR, Mauer sits ninth among catchers, trailing eight Hall of Famers and sitting in front of the other eight. He is seventh in JAWS behind Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, Evan Rodriguez, Carlton Fisk, Mike Piazza and Yogi Berra.
A six-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger winner and 2008 World Series Champion is Veles legend. Over 16 big league seasons, Utley hit .275/.358/.465 (117 OPS+) with 1,885 hits, 411 doubles, 259 home runs, 1,025 RBI, 1,103 runs and 154 stolen bases. He earned three top-10 finishes in MVP voting, but was never higher than seventh.
In Utley’s time with the Phillies, he had a .402 OBP and .500 runs with seven doubles, a triple, 10 homers and 25 RBI in 46 playoff games.
He might still be in a fight. In the absence of a 2,000-hit barrier or eye-catching totals for anything else, he’ll need to count on voters who love JAWS. He is 12th among second basemen, behind 10 Hall of Famers, Robinson Canó and Bobby Grich. He is ahead of many Hall of Famers such as Roberto Alomar and Craig Biggio. He’s even with the current Hall of Fame’s JAWS average for second basemen, though slightly lower than he is in WAR.
He’ll end up doing better than the players he’s most associated with in Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard, but it’ll be soon, I think.
Injuries probably cost him the later part of his career, unlike Don Mattingly or Dale Murphy from the 1980s. By the age of 30, Wright was well on his way to being inducted into the Hall of Fame. He finished his career hitting .296/.376/.491 over nearly 1,600 games, 133 OPS+. He also had just 1,777 hits, 390 doubles, 242 home runs, 970 RBI and 949 runs with 196 stolen bases. Without a fourth-place finish in MVP voting or a huge playoff file, it’s hard to see Wright get a real shot. He certainly ranks 26th in the JAWS, well below the level of Hall and in a group of good players like Ron C. and Josh Donaldson.
A seven-time All-Star, he won the Silver Sluggers four times, a batting title and an NLCS MVP and was a mid-level producer for a World Series champion. In parts of 15 seasons, Holiday has slapped .299/.379/.510 (132 OPS+). He hit 2,096 hits, 468 doubles, 316 home runs, 1,220 RBI, and 1,157 runs. He has never won the Most Valuable Player award, but was runner-up once.
Due in part to some Coors field collecting and poor defensive results, the WAR and JAWS component don’t help. He’s No. 36 left fielder at both JAWS and WAR, sitting right with Brett Gardner and George Foster. Good players, but not a Hall of Fame company.
Holliday will need to make a big dent with the voting body in his count stats and they’re nowhere near nice round numbers like 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.
A first overall pick in 2000, Gonzalez had a very productive 15-year career. He led the league in hits, RBI and one walk each. He passed 2,000 hits (2,050) and had 317 home runs with 1,202 RBI, ending his career with .287/.358/.485 (129 OPS+). The five-time All-Star drove home at least 100 runs seven times with three other 90+ RBI seasons. He finished fourth in MVP voting while winning four Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers.
Among first basemen, Gonzalez is 40th at JAWS and 43rd at war.
Do you remember when he became the oldest player in baseball? This was fun. After 59 homers during his 28-year-old season, Bautista abandoned 54 in 2010 and 43 in 2011, leading the majors in both seasons. He ended up going to six consecutive All-Star appearances and finishing in the top eight in MVP voting four times, including a third-place finish and a fourth-place finish.
The peak was there.
Bautista finished his career with .247/.361/.475 (124 OPS+) with 1,496 hits, 312 doubles, 344 homers, 975 RBI and 1,022 runs.
That climax was definitely fun.
The four-time All-Star won the 2011 batting title and led his league in triples four times, stealing three times and hitting once. 283 batters with 103 OPS+, 2,138 hits, 387 doubles, 131 triples, 145 home runs, 719 RBI, 1,180 runs and 517 stolen bases. Triples and stolen bases seem to be popping up, but he ranks 78th in career triples and 33rd in stolen bases.
Reyes ranks 57th in JAWS among shortstops.
A professional hitter, Martinez quickly needed to move away from being a full-time catcher to keep his at-bats up to par. He ended up in the DH position more than any other, although he wasn’t far behind.
In nearly 2,000 career games, Martinez has hit 2,153 hits, including 423 doubles and 246 home runs. He drove 1,178 home runs while hitting 914 times and hitting . 295 in his career with 118 OPS+. He was a five-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger, and finished second in AL MVP voting in 2014.
Even listed as a catcher with these offensive stats, he’s still only 30th in the JAWS and 33rd in the WAR.
There Cy Young along with four All-Star appearances on Colon’s record. He has won 247 career games while also striking out 2,535. Roughly 3,500 modern-day turns is a huge workload, too.
Colón’s career 4.12 ERA (106 ERA+) and 1.31 WHIP leave a lot to be desired and show just how much collecting he’s done late in his career at the expense of blocking runs. Oh, and there was a PED comment.
Another possible first time: James Shields, Brandon Phillips, Yovanni Gallardo, Doug Pfister, Ryan Madson
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