Updated: Dec 20, 2020
What is going on, Ball Boys and Ball Girls? I hope you guys are having a great day. With the ballot being released on Monday, 11/16, we will break down every candidate, their career, and if this is their year to make the HoF. The 2020 inductees will be announced on January 26th.
To make the Hall of Fame, the player has to get 75% of the vote. Last season we saw Derek Jeter and Larry Walker get the nod last year.
Going into their 9th year on the ballot are Barry Bonds, Curt Schilling, and Rodger Clemens. The trio has this year and next to make it in, hopefully. Some first-year guys like Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Mark Buehrle, and Torii Hunter will be looking to be a one and done. To remain on the ballot for 2022, players need to get at least 5% of the vote. Last year we saw Paul Konerko, Jason Giambi, and Alfonso Soriano get taken off the ballot for not getting 5% of the vote.
Players who are getting close-
Curt Schilling- 70% 9th year
Schilling out of everyone on the ballot is the more sure thing to get in. Schilling played from 1988-2007. He was a 6x All-Star, 3x World Series Champ, WS MVP, NLCS MVP during his career. Over 3261IP, he posted a 3.46ERA/3.23FIP/1.137WHIP, 3116K, 216-146 W-L Record, 22SV and 79.5WAR. In 1997/98, he had back to back 300+K season. Then another 300+K season in 2002. Schilling somehow never won a CY Young. He lost to Randy Johnson in 01, 02, and Johan Santana in 04. In Schillings 133.1 playoff IP, he holds a 2.23ERA, 120K with an 11-2 record. His career was nothing short of amazing, and if not this year, then 2021 is a lock for Schilling.
Barry Bonds- 60.7% 9th year
Take the context of the situation out of the discussion. Bonds in the GOAT. 7x MVP, single-season HR record with 73, career HR record of 762, all-time walks leader with 2558, the time leader in intentional walks with 688. his 182oPS+ is 3rd to only Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, yet NO one can even think to compete with his 162.8WAR. Let's add in his 2935H, career 298BA, 1996RBI, 514SB, 14x All-Star, 8x Gold Glove, 12x Silver Slugger, 2x Batting Title, just an incredible career. Bonds did admit in 2004 using steroids provided by his trainer Greg Anderson and took the route of ignorance. Bonds also realized he wasn't the best character in the clubhouse and dugout, saying, "I'm to blame for the way I was[portrayed] because I was a dumba**." Never testing positive after 2005 or failing a test. Bonds has to get 15% of the vote to reach the HoF; with the Astro's scandal changing how we look at those who may have cheated, Bonds case may be more robust now than in the previous eight years. To me, Bonds deserves the be in the HoF and have his HR title given back to him.
Rodger Clemens- 61% 9th year
AKA. The Rocket alone, on his career numbers, is probably the greatest pitcher of All-Time. 24 season between 1984-2007 4916.2IP, 4672SO(3rd on the time list), 138.7WAR. 11x All-Star, SEVEN CY Young awards, and 2 WS rings, two 20K games. Clemens's name was mainly on the Mitchel Report though he never tested positive and was acquitted in 2012. At this same time, even Conseco was skeptical that Clemens ever used. His career stats, only PED or not, are HOF worthy and should have gotten him in 8 years ago. To add to his stats, 354-184 record, 3.12ERA, 2x Triple Crown, 7x ERA Title, All-Star game MVP. How he has only gotten 61% of the vote after eight years is beyond me. It probably will be the most unfair vote to happen if Clemens doesn't end up in the HOF. But I think it is bound to happen. The Rocket deserves his spot in the HOF. If not 2020, then in 2021, he is a lock.
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Middle of the pack:
Omar Vizquel- 52.6% 4th Year
Vizquel, the SS/3B, played from 1989-2012 and captured 11 Gold Glove awards, and played in 3 All-Star games. Vizquel is known for the glove and not the bat. Posting a career .272BA/.338OPB/.352SLG/.688OPS and an 82OPS+. Vizquel had 2877H and 404SB. Over 264 career playoff appearances, he holds a .250/.327/.316/.643OPS and slash line. The defensive wizard held a career .985fld% and was quite excellent in the field. The Glove is HoF worthy and should be enough to get Vizquel close.
Scott Rolen-35.3% 4th year
Rolen's career was full of goodness; he has an entire trophy room with a ROY, 8 Gold Gloves, 1 Silver Slugger, 7 All-Star games, and 1 World Series ring. Over 8518PA, he slashed a .281/.364/.490 OPS.855 OPS+122. He had 2077H, 316HR, 1287RBI, and a career .968Fld%. Over 195PA, Rolen wasn't great in the postseason as he slashed .220/.302/.376 OPS.678. The glove was great during Rolen's career at the Hot Corner. Rolen has a lot of time; if he % goes up, I think the chance is there; if it goes down, his hopes start to dim. Time will tell with Rolen, but I think the bat was above average, not elite, but the glove helped his case. A fun fact about Rolen he batted .317/.410/.527 against Braves HoF trio Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz
Billy Wagner-31.7% 6th year
During his career from 1995-2010, Wagner was a 7x All-Star. Over his 903IP, he holds a 2.31ERA/2.73FIP/0.998WHIP. With a 47-40 record, 422Saves, 1196K. The lefty has a career27.7WAR and is 6th on the Saves list. Wagner was a great closer with nine seasons over 30 saves. The standard for an RP is Mariano Rivera, and I don't think Wagner is quite there and will not make the HoF. He does have a few more years, and that could change.
Gary Sheffield- 30.5% 7th year
In 2004 he admitted to using a PED known as "the cream" while training Barry Bonds during the 01-02 offseason. However, he did go the route of "I didn't know what it was when I used it," then says he was upset when he found out. I give the benefit of the doubt in these situations. BUT, the more significant blemish on his HOF resume is his awful defensive numbers. He does, however, have a great resume with his bat alone. He has a WAR at 60.5 than fellow RF Vladimir Guerrero, who has a 59.5 career WAR who got on the ballot in 2018 to the HOF. He is also part of the 500HR club with 21 other players. Overall in his career, he had 2689H, 509HR, 292BA, 1676RBI, 9x All-Star, one WS title, 5x Silver Slugger, 1 Batting Title, and 1 ML PoY. I think he will get into the HOF when it's all said and done. He deserves to get in.
Players who have a long way to go(30% or less of the vote)
Todd Helton- 29.2% 3rd year
Helton played from 1997-2013 with the Rockies and jus the Rockies. Posting a career 61.8WAR and getting to 5 All-Star games, 3 Gold Gloves, 4 Silver Sluggers, and 1 Batting Title. In Helton's 9453, he slashed .316/.414/.539/.953OPS 133OPS+. Helton has elite at the plate during his career as he had 1335BB-1175K in his career with 2519H, 369HR, 1406RBI. Helton was great at the plate and had top tier numbers at the plate. In his 66PA in the postseason, he slashed .211/.303/.281 .584OPS, and it's a shame he didn't get there outside of the 07WS and the 08 playoffs.
Manny Ramirez- 28.2% 5th year
"Manny being Manny" says a lot about him as a person. I remember hearing this as a kid on ESPN when he was talked about. Also, his two failed PED tests, one in 2009 and the next in 2011 when he retired. Now, he is trying to make a comeback overseas. Regardless, he had a video game cover, one of the better MVP baseball games, one of my personal favorites. He is one of only 4 MLB players over 9000PA that has a line of .300/.400/.500. He has 555HR plus a postseason record of 29HR. However, he was a terrible defender, which brought him to only a 69.3WAR for his career. He was a 12x All-Star, 2x World Series Champ, 9x Silver Slugger, WS MVP, and won 1 Batting Title. The numbers are there for me. In all honesty, what kills it is three positive tests and not wanting to serve his 100 games in 2011, and just retiring kind of is a pathetic thing to do, which puts him just short of HOF.
Jeff Kent- 27.5% 8th year
From 1992-2008 he holds a career 55.4WAR. He has a 1MVP award, 5 All-Star appearances and, 4 Silver Sluggers. Over his 9537PA, he holds a career slash line of .290/.356/.500 .855OPS and 123OPS+. With 2461H, 377HR, 1518RBI. Kent was able to get guys home as he had eight seasons with 100+RBI over his career, all from 97-04. Over his 183PA in the postseason, he had 9HR, 23RBI, and a slash line of .276/.340/.500 and .840OPS. Kent wasn't the best fielder as he had a .978Fld% and -53Drs in his field career. I don't think that Kent has enough of a resume to get into the Hall of Fame; however, 27.5% and only having three whole years left on the ballot isn't a recipe for Cooperstown.
Andrew Jones-19.4% 4th year
During his playing career from 1996-2012, he goes down as one of the best CF to ever play defensively with 10 Gold Gloves. Jones was a 5x All-Star who won 1 Silver Slugger in his career. During his 8664PA Jones slashed a .254/.337/.486 .823OPS 111OPS+ with 1933H, 434HR and 1289RBI. Jones was dominant at the plate from 1998-2007 as he hit at least 26HR and 94RBI. Jones also went to playoffs with the Braves from 1996-2005, and during that, he had 279PA and slashed .273/.363/.433. In the field, he committed 50errors over 17 years and holds a .990Fld%. Jones was great at the plate and in the field during the regular season and postseason. How he only has gotten 19.4% of the vote over four years is a shame. Jones has a lot of time left to get to 75%, and from his resume, I think he will end up in Cooperstown.
Sammy Sosa- 13.9% 9th year
one of my favorite players in baseball video games as a kid. It's harder for Sosa because of ties to McGwire, and his support level shows that he is only getting 13.9% of the vote after eight years on the ballot. Sosa still denies ever using PEDs. His HR numbers are his most significant accomplishment, having had 3 60+ HR seasons in a row. He is the only player to do so. Between 1998 and 2002, he has 292HR. He is also a member of the 600HR club that only features nine players. The rest of his career accolades are among the top 20 RF in terms of WAR at 58.6. He has one MVP, 7x All-Star, 6x Silver and Slugger, and an ML PoY award. Overall between 93-04, he hit at least 25HR a season. That long run among the best power hitters in baseball shows me that he was one of the best to do it. I think he deserves to get into the HOF.
Andy Pettitte-11.3% 3rd year
Andy Pettitte is the next case. Pettitte was implicated in the Mitchell Report in 2007 and did admit to using HGH in 2002. Part of his confession was that he only used HGH for two days to heal an elbow injury. He did own up to it and said it was an "error in judgment." Information like this does make me think, is there a line between performance-enhancing and performance allowing? Pettitte's real thing is for 18 years in the MLB; he was never the best pitcher in baseball. He never won a CY Young and was only a 3x All-Star. When you look at his postseason stats alone, that's where his case for the HOF shines brightest. The ALL_TIME leader for playoff wins and innings and won 5/8 World Series he pitched in. 60.7 career WAR, which is 12th all-time among LHP. His career was stable 256-153 record, 3.85ERA, 3316 IP, and 1 ALCS MVP. Only two years on the ballot so far, only getting to 11.3% of the vote. This guy deserves more love than that, and by the end of his eligibility, I sure do hope he makes it into the HOF.
Bobby Abreu- 5.5% 2nd year
During his career from 1995-2014, he has a career 60.2WAR, with 2 All-star nods, 1 Gold Glove, and 1 Silver slugger for the RF. with 10081PA slashing a .291/.395/.475 128OPS+ with 2470H, 288HR, 1463RBI, 400SB. Abreu had seven 20HR/20SB seasons and two 30HR/30SB season. Each of those said seasons also had at least 78+RBI. In his 79 postseason PA, he slashed .284/.392/.418. Abreu wasn't the best fielder as he had 73 career errors and a career .982fld%. From 1998-2010 he played in at least 151 games and dominated during that time. That is a lot of years of being a force at the plate and on the bases. Abreu is barely staying on the ballot and has a lot of competition from some of the OF below.
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New Comers on the Ballot
Mark Buehrle- White Sox fan favorite. 5x All-Star, 4 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series title during his 15-year career from 2000-2015. Buehrle finished 5th in Cy Young voting in 2005, which was the only time he was considered for the award. Over his 3283.1IP, he holds a 214-160 W-L with 1870K, 3.81ERA/1.281WHIP/4.11FIP. In his four postseasons starts, he has a 2-1record, 4.11ERA,1.076WHIP, with one of those being a complete game. The biggest thing against Buehrle is that he only got to the postseason 2x in his career and didn't get a Cy Young award in his career. He was an incredibly consistent pitcher for his long career, his lowest IP in a season in his final season when he pitched 198.2IP. Durability and consistency will are the HoF recipe for Buehrle. I don't see him making it in. A decisive vote to start him off will be critical to see where he goes.
Tim Hudson- During his playing career from 1999-2015, he was a 4x All-Star and 1x World Series champion. Over 3126.2IP Hudson had 2080K, 222-133 W-L, with a 57.9WAR. He ended his career with a 3.49ERA/1.239WHIP/3.78FIP. Hudson only had two losing seasons: his last two with the Giants—in his 75.2 postseason innings, posting a 3.69ERA, 53K, and 1.282WHIP. He had four 5th or better finishes in Cy Young, including a 2nd place finish in 2000 to Pedro Martinez. Much like Buehrle above, he was never the most dominant pitcher, but he was ever so consistent and reliable in his career. I think that both of these pitchers have time on their side, and their careers of consistency and durability give me a lot of hope. I don't think either will end up in Cooperstown, but the voters may see it differently.
Barry Zito- Zito had one heck of a career between 2000-2015, scoring the 2002 Cy Young, 3 All-Star games, and 1WS in 2012 with the Giants while posting a 31.9WAR. Outside of 3 excellent seasons from 01-03, which saw him post a 3.49ERA or lower. He never had an ERA below 3.86 after that. He finished his career with 2576.2IP, 4.04ERA/1.337WHIP/4.39FIP. Zito, much like Andy Pettitte, was great during the postseason. In 60.1IP 6-3 record, 2.83ERA, 1.120WHIP and 46K. Postseason Zito was much better than regular season Zito. He was no Pettitte, and therefore I do not see him making it into the HoF during his time on the ballot.
Dan Haren- During Haren's career from 2003-2015, he has 3 All-Star game appearances. Over his 2419.1IP, Haren holds a 35.1WAR, 153-131 W-L, 2013K, 3.75ERA/1.181WHIP/3.78FIP, while only giving up 500BB during his career. Haren finished 5th(2009) and 7th(2011) in Cy Young voting. Haren is 2-0 over 19.1Ip with a 3.26ERA/1.60WHIP in his postseason career. I like Haren over Zito, Hudson, Burnett, and the 2nd best pitcher new to the ballot. I think Haren has the numbers and the track record of making it in during his time on the ballot.
A.J. Burnett- During his playing career from 1999-2015, he played in 1 All-Star game and won 1 World Series Ring. Over his 2731.1IP, he had a 28.8WAR with a 164-157 W-L, 3.99ERA/1.325WHIP/3.86FIP with 2513K. Burnett's 1 All-Star nod was in his final season in 2015. Along with other pitchers on the list, Burnett was not dominant at any point in his career as he never had a Cy Young vote but was consistent, and you knew what you were getting—holding a postseason 2-3 record with a 6.37ERA, 1.585WHIP over 41IP doesn't help his case. Burnett should get a few votes from the writers, but probably not enough to keep up with Zito, Hudson, Buehrle, who all had better careers than Burnett.
LaTroy Hawkins- Hawkins had a long career from 1995-2015. Hawkins had three seasons from 97-99 as a starter. Then was moved to the bullpen and was a great RP. The weird thing with Hawkins is he has no career accolades to his name. 1467.1IP, he posted a career 17.8WAR, 75-94 W-L, 983K, 4.31ERA/1.40WHIP/4.18FIP. RP is so hard to get into the conversation for the HoF unless they were a dominant closer. What Hawkins has going for him is eight seasons below a 3.0ERA, 13 seasons below a 3.50ERA. I don't think Hawkins will get into the HoF, but man, he put together a great career. Fun fact, I didn't know who he was before writing this piece.
Torii Hunter- During his career from 1997-2015, Hunter was a 5x All-Star, 9x Gold Glove Winner, 2x Silver Slugger winner. He posted a 50.7WAR. Over his 8857AB, he had 2452H, 353HR, 1391RBI, 195SB, and he slashed a .277/.331/.461, which is not elite by any means. One of Hunter's most significant blemishes is his BB-K rate of 661-1741. In his 208PA in the postseason, he slashed a .274/.340/.414 with 4HR and 20RBI. Those numbers are much better in terms of comparing to average numbers. You take the bat alone; it's not for me, but the .990Fld% and 52 career errors help his case, much like Vizquel, Jones, Abreu, and others on this list who were average with the bat but excellent with the glove.
Aramis Ramirez- During an 18yr career that spanned from 1998-2015, Ramirez was a 3x All-Star and won 1 Silver Slugger with a 32.4WAR. Over his 8136AB, he had 2303H, 386HR, 1417RBI, while slashing a .283/.341/.492, which is slightly above average today. Ramirez was never the most dominant player on the field, but, like many others on the ballot, was consistent for many, many years. In his 78PA in the postseason, he slashed a not so outstanding .191/.295/.426. On defense, he also wasn't great as he had 244Errors and a .952fld%. I can't make a case for Ramirez to drive into the HoF, and I will not be surprised not to see him on the ballot come next season.
Michael Cuddyer- During his playing career from 2001-2015, Cuddyer was a 2x All-Star, 1x Silver Slugger, and Batting Title winner. He posted a career 17.8WAR over 5488AB with 1522H, 197HR, 794RBI, 75SB while slashing a .277/.344/.461. In his 90PA in the postseason, he slashed a .306/.344/.424, which helps redeem his case. The glove and defense weren't bad as he played all over the diamond, giving up 69errors with a .986fld%. Cuddyer's career is well below that of the other OF and IF on the list. But the voters may still be trying to keep Bonds, Manny, Sosa, and Sheffield out of the HoF, which could get Cuddyer some votes.
Nick Swisher- During Swisher's career from 04-2015, he made 1 All-Star game and was part of the 09 Yankees World Series-winning team. With a career 21.5WAR. Over his 5369AB, he had 1338H, 245HR, 803RBI with a slash line of 249/.351/.447, which is just above average. Over his 185PA in the postseason, he holds a slash line of .165/.277/.297, which is not good. Swishers' most redeeming quality is his glovework as he committed only 31 errors with a .985Fld% in his career. For me, it's not enough to get into the HoF.
Shane Victorino- During his playing days from 2003-2015, he was a 2x All-Star, 4x Gold Glove winner, and 2x World Series Champion with a 31.5WAR. Over 4630AB, he had 1274H, 108HR, 489RBI, and 231SB with a slash line of 275/.340/.425 very average numbers at the plate. Victorino had his name in MVP conversations several times in 2009(18), 2011(13), 2013(22) were his finishes. Victorino was great in the postseason over his 259PA with 7HR, 42RBI, 58H, and a slash line of 257/.337/.416 helps his case for the HoF. What furthers his point for Cooperstown is the glovework from Victorino as he only committed 15 errors. He also holds a .994Fld%. The Flyin Hawaiian has the 2nd best shot of all the new fielders after Hunter to make his case for the Hall.
That was a lot of fun. I had a ton of fun writing this and diving into the careers of all these great players. Thank you for your time reading and your support. I do appreciate it. Mario, if you are reading this, thank, you Hermano. Thank you all, Ball Boys and Girl, and until next time, thank you and stay safe and mask up.