Today in Cooperstown, six players are receiving the ultimate honor of being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Four of them, Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Mike Mussina, and Edgar Martinez were voted in by the writers while Harold Baines and Lee Smith were selected by a panel of former players and managers. With this remarkable class of inductees in tow, it is now time to see who is coming in strong for next year.
In 2019, former Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera was the first player to receive 100% of the vote. Do not be surprised if his long-time teammate Derek Jeter is the second. His 3,465 hits along with 260 home runs and 358 stolen bases put him in rare company. Add to that the mystique of playing for the Yankees at a time when the team was dominant and the fact that Jeter was responsible for many iconic plays, it really is a no-brainer. Additionally, he was Rookie of the Year, a 14-time All-Star and a five-time World Series winner.
The PED Guys
Growing up in the ‘90s, names like Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, and Sammy Sosa all seemed like locks to be members of the Hall of Fame one day. However, due to their use of PEDs, they have not been getting the traction they were hoping for. Clemens and Bonds have been close, coming in at nearly 60%, but with three years left on the ballot, it would be surprising if they make the full jump to 75% in 2020. Add in players like Gary Sheffield, Andy Pettitte, and Jason Giambi, who have all been linked to PEDs and there are a lot of players not making it in.
It’s His Final Year
Sentimentality starts to come into play once a player is in his 10th and final year on the ballot as is the case with Larry Walker. Last year he made it to 54.6% and making the jump to 75% is not unheard of, but is highly unlikely. This past year was Edgar Martinez’s final year on the ballot but the year before he was up at 70.4% so getting to 75% was not too difficult. A big push can be made by Walker’s former teams, but it is highly unlikely he makes it in.
Separate Politics From Sports
Curt Schilling had a very good career which got better with age. He was a three-time World Series winner and a big contributor to those wins. He has 3,116 career strikeouts with three seasons where he had 300 or more. He led the league in complete games four times in his career and if you take out the four years he played for the Baltimore Orioles and Houston Astros, his ERA and winning percentage looks so much better. Very few people can argue that based on his on the field merits that he does not belong in the Hall of Fame.
One thing that has soured some of the writers on his candidacy is his very conservative political views, which irritates many. While it is definitely okay not to agree with some of the outlandish things he has said, it is inappropriate to keep him out of the Hall of Fame due to those comments.
He Should Go Up, But How High?
The candidacy of former Cleveland Indians shortstop Omar Vizquel is an interesting one. Based on his offensive numbers he is far from a Hall of Fame player, but his defense puts him in a category with current Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith, Luke Appling, and Luis Aparicio. Vizquel won’t be voted in the same year as Jeter, but he should come in much higher than the 42.8% of the vote he received last year which will put him in good positioning for a future year.
The Under 20% Crew Who Should Get More Consideration
Jeff Kent, Scott Rolen, Billy Wagner, and Andruw Jones were all under 20% last season and will likely never make it in, but maybe they should. Jeff Kent batted .290 with 377 career home runs as a second baseman, a position that was not a high powered offensive one when he started playing. Rolen and Jones have nice numbers but probably are just a bit shy of getting more of a thought and Billy Wagner had the misfortune of being a closer at the same time as Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman and Wagner’s numbers pale in comparison to those two.
The First Year Guys Who May Get 5%
Outside of Jeter, there are no first-year players who are expected to get 50% or higher. However, some might get the 5% to stay on the ballot for another year. Bobby Abreu, Cliff Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Paul Konerko, and Jason Giambi are all in their first year on the ballot. While none of them will likely make the Hall of Fame, another year on the ballot for all of them is probable.
The First Year Guys Who Will Be Lucky to Get One Vote
It is a big honor just to be on the ballot even if the likelihood of getting a vote is slim to none. The 21 other players eligible for the first time fall into this category:
|Rafael Furcal||Eric Chavez||Josh Beckett||Brian Roberts||Carlos Pena||Chone Figgins||Marco Scutaro|
|Raul Ibanez||Brad Penny||Jason Bartlett||Adam Dunn||Lyle Overbay||J.J. Putz||Ryan Ludwick|
|Jose Valverde||Alex Gonzalez||Jamey Wright||Joe Saunders||Nate McLouth||Heath Bell||Kyle Farnsworth|
Be prepared for a very small class in 2020. Jeter will be there and Schilling should make it, but that is probably it. One of the nice things about the Hall of Fame voting is the debates that take place. Please comment below with who you think will be in the 2020 class.