The power of the thunder and lightning that accompanied the release of the class of 2022 Hall of Fame ballot, and the discussion about the ballot and the reveal of the final voting totals, will be reduced a bit when we do all of this. again. following winter.
For one thing, the controversial 10-year-old trio of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling is off the ballot. And the newcomer class doesn’t have nearly the same level of intrigue as the rookie class of 2022. It would have been hard for anyone to top the level of debate that the arrival of Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz generated, but the one newcomer with a chance to be elected is not without controversy.
Let’s take a look at the potential class of newcomers to the 2023 ballot. The ballot, by the way, is usually released in mid to late November, and ballots must be postmarked by December 31.
It has the numbers to enter
Beltra had a long and productive career. He’s close to the career bWAR for the “average” Hall of Fame center fielder (he’s 70.1, average is 71.6) and is one of only five players in MLB history with at least 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases. ; he had 435 and 312, respectively. The others are Willie Mays, Andre Dawson, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez. He was an All-Star regular, with three Gold Gloves and MVP votes in seven seasons (though often on the ballot).
But it is not so simple with Beltrán. He was heavily involved in the sign-stealing scandal that marred the Astros’ 2017 World Series title, and that will hurt his chances. I wrote more about it here.
definitely on the ballot
The Hall door seems to be cracking for relievers, so here’s the question: Has it been forced open enough for K-Rod to get in during his allotted 10-year stint on the BBWAA ballot? If you think the Hall shouldn’t just have inner-circle closers (Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, Dennis Eckersley, etc.), Rodriguez makes a compelling case. He is fourth on his career saves list, ahead of Cooperstown residents Eckersley, Rollie Fingers and Bruce Sutter.
And the Angels definitely don’t win the 2002 World Series without K-Rod as a rookie; He pitched 8 2/3 innings of relief in four World Series games! He also had 15 more saves than Billy Wagner, who received XX percent of the vote on this year’s ballot. I’m genuinely fascinated to see what his first year vote totals look like.
Speaking of the 2002 World Series, the Angels also don’t win without Lackey as a rookie. He started Game 7 on three days’ rest, remember, as a rookie! – And he limited the Giants to one run in five innings. Lackey was a reliable and enduring workhorse during his career, but the Hall of Fame ticket is probably as far as he goes on his journey to Cooperstown. His career bWAR of 37.3 is tied for 207th all-time for starting pitchers, with Bullet Joe Bush and Guy Hecker; the average bWAR for Hall of Fame starting pitchers is 73.0.
The left-handed hitter had some really good years, including his second-place finish in the AL MVP race in 2011 and his three seasons with at least 50+ stolen bases. He is the only American League player since 1997 with at least 70 stolen bases in a season (2009). Any outside shot at a Cooperstown run in the second half of his career ended when it was clear his time with the Yankees would be disappointing, at least, and a debacle at worst.
For eight years (2006-13), Cain was truly special. He averaged 32 starts and 209 innings per year, posting a 3.38 ERA/3.67 FIP. In eight postseason starts (all in 2010 and 2012), Cain posted a 2.10 ERA, including just three runs allowed in 14 2/3 World Series innings. And of course there was the perfect game in 2012. Injuries are cruel though. Cain averaged just 91 innings, posting a 5.23 ERA/5.04 FIP over his last four years and finished with a career bWAR of 29.3 (again, 73.0 is the average SP number). He amply deserves a place on the ballot and even a few votes, but he will fall short of the 5 percent minimum.
His impact on the field, what he did to establish the Nationals as contenders in DC, isn’t necessarily reflected in his stats. His late arrival as a regular in the big leagues made any sort of legitimate Cooperstown run unrealistic; he only had 825 MLB plate appearances before his 28-year season with the Phillies. He almost certainly won’t meet the minimum to stay, but he definitely deserves to be on the ballot.
Again, the question is, where is the line for closers? Papelbon spent 10 years as a dominant closer (2.33 ERA, 10.2 K/9, 0.999 WHIP) and ranks 10th on the all-time saves list. But he only pitched 725 2/3 innings, more than 300 innings fewer than any other Hall of Fame pitcher who spent most of his career in the NL/AL; Bruce Sutter, with 1,042 entries, is currently at the bottom. He should be on the ballot, but putting Papelbon in the Hall would require a MASSIVE rethinking of what a Hall of Famer is.
Probably on the ballot
Weaver, who was an Angels rotation stalwart for 11 seasons, had an outstanding career, with three top-five Cy Young finishes and a 3.63 career ERA. His place on his ticket would be well earned.
Peralta had a long and productive career — three All-Star nominations, 30.4 bWAR for his career — but he will be remembered primarily for his suspension from Biogenesis in 2013.
In addition to having an all-time name, Crisp had a better career than you remember. He is one of 41 players who finished his career with at least 130 home runs and 300 stolen bases, and had six seasons with a bWAR of 3.0 or better. He’s not a Hall of Famer, but he deserves a spot on the ballot.
If you’re building a team, you’ll want a shortstop with a little bit of bat strength (Hardy had five seasons with at least 22 home runs) and a defensive asset, and Hardy won three Gold Glove Awards.
The guy could hit a baseball from a long way off. Napoli had eight seasons with at least 20 homers and finished with 267 in his career, plus eight more in the postseason.
His story is quite amazing. Dickey resorted to the knuckleball and revived his career; he made more than 15 starts for the first time in his 35-year-old season, and from that year to the end of his career he pitched 1,631 innings with a 3.66 ERA, and won the NL Cy Young Award in 2012.
Potentially on the ballot
, a mainstay in the Reds’ rotation for nine years, making at least 32 starts in eight of them, absolutely deserves a spot on the ballot. When he was good, he was very good — three seasons with a bWAR of more than 5, three seasons with at least 26 homers is outstanding for a second baseman — but he battled injuries much of his career and finished with a bWAR of 24.4. His ERA from 2006 to 2010, playing for Colorado, was 3.52. His ERA from 2011 to 2017 was 4.85. A place is not safe.
A solid outfield starter for the Dodgers for a decade, he finished as a starter in his 34-year-old season. The beloved catcher was a big part of the success of those outstanding Phillies teams from 2007 to 2011. Again, closers: He had 11 consecutive seasons with at least 16 saves, including five with at least 33.