The MLB season is over, and there’s not much to report on yet as it comes to free agency. However, if you didn’t hear, the Baseball Hall of Fame just announced their ballot for the 2021 class. Now, obviously, I’m not a part of the BBWAA, but I thought there might be a few of you out there who care about who my vote goes to for the Hall this year. It’s a pretty stacked ballot, so let’s dive in to the second most important election of 2020.
— Ryan Thibodaux (@NotMrTibbs) November 16, 2020
The Obvious: Scott Rolen, Jeff Kent, Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones
These six are the ones I see as pretty much locks to make the Hall of Fame, most of them going in this year. Rolen was a great all-around player who has seven All Star games on his resume and a lot of hardware. Mostly Gold Gloves. Honestly, it’s a shame to me that Jeff Kent isn’t in the Hall yet, being one of the best hitting second baseman of all time. He has the most HRs of any second baseman, and I think that matters a lot. Helton’s stats might be somewhat bloated due to the Coors effect, but he was a fixture for the Rockies in his 17 seasons there. He should have a spot right next to Larry Walker. Andruw Jones and Bobby Abreu were also great talents that should eventually see their time come, though they both have a lot of eligibility left.
Some might not agree with my Curt and Manny picks, and that’s ok. Here’s my defense for them: Schilling’s case is a classic separate-art-from-the-artist move. He was an amazing pitcher, but he’s also a sub-par human. Manny wasn’t caught for any type of steroid use until the end of his MLB career. This means the stats he put up until 2009 are, as far as we know, unaffected, and that’s almost all of his production right there.
The Controversial: Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemons, Andy Pettite
These are the guys who were in the middle of the steroid controversy. They all have top-tier stats (with the possible exception of Pettite) and would all be locks for the Hall if not for the ‘roids. However, this is something that the BBWAA no longer cares as much about (sucks for Mark McGwire). I could see everyone on this list not named Andy Pettite to make the Hall, though he might get in too. I mean, how can the all-time HR leader not be in the Hall?
The Maybes: Barry Zito, Billy Wagner, Omar Vizquel, Aramis Ramirez, Torii Hunter, Tim Hudson, Mark Buehrle
This is the tier of guys that I could see arguments for making it into the Hall of Fame, but I’m not the most confident they’ll make it. Buehrle, Hudson, Zito, and Wagner all have some merit, but I don’t think any of them have enough All-Stars or awards to help them get over the hump. Wagner benefits some from the voters slightly favoring relievers more recently than in the past (only two were in the Hall before Eckersley made it in 2004; now there are six), but it’s still an uphill battle. The rest are only in their first year of eligibility and might make it in on a weaker year. Vizquel was a defensive beast, and got over 50% of the vote last year, but I’m afraid he’ll get stuck there. Ramirez and Hunter are in a similar situation to the pitchers.
The Not-Gonna-Happens: Shane Victorino, Latrell Hawkins, Nick Swisher, Michael Cuddyer, AJ Burnett, Dan Haren
This group are just a bunch of guys that I don’t see making it to the Hall at all; they might not even get the 5% to be back on the ballot next year. Hawkins, Burnett, and Haren don’t have a lot to offer compared to the other pitchers. Swisher and Victorino were good pieces on World Series teams, but they were no where near the best players on those teams. Cuddyer had a few good seasons, but nothing HoF worthy.
My 10 Picks:
Keep in mind I’m also taking eligibility into account here, which I didn’t include in the previous list:
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