Who should enter? Should there be Hall of Fame first ballot? Which actors will take another big step this year to position themselves well in the next elections? Who won’t get as much recognition as they deserve?
While you can discuss any or all of these topics with family and friends, three MLB.com editors – Manny Randhawa, Paul Casella and Brian Murphy – sat down to discuss some of the topics covered. key questions surrounding this year’s vote.
Here’s what they had to say:
Which players do you think will be elected in this election?
Manny Randhawa: I’ll go with three guys – Adrián Beltré, Todd Helton, Billy Wagner – who are coming in this year.
Paul Casella: Even three for me: Beltré, Helton, Wagner.
Brian Murphy: It’s not very exciting when three people make the same prediction, but it’s hard to face the crowd here. Beltré, Helton and Wagner will travel to Cooperstown. Andruw Jones has a chance, but he’s probably coming just short this year.
Which freshman will do better: Joe Mauer or Chase Utley? Will one (or both) ever be voted on by the writers?
Randhawa: I think Mauer will do better in this first round of voting, and I think he will ultimately be voted in by the writers. He has the credentials required for both sabermetric-minded and “old school” voters. His career WAR, WAR for 162 games and JAWS are all higher than that of the average Hall of Fame catcher. Mauer also won three batting titles, an MVP award and three Gold Glove Awards.
Utley, I think, will be very close to the writers – he’s a borderline candidate as far as advanced metrics go, but he just might not have enough accolades, although his playoff exploits might give him a boost (10 home runs, including five). in the 2009 World Series).
Casella: Again, it’s hard to argue with everything Manny just said – I think he nailed it. Both Mauer and Utley were the best players at their respective positions during their peak…but did either player’s peak last long enough to earn a spot in the Hall of Fame? This seems to be a question that voters will struggle with a lot in the years to come, as I don’t think either player will be elected this year, although I think Mauer will receive more votes this time around thanks to his MVP. Awards and three batting titles.
That said, I actually see a path to the Hall of Fame for both players – Mauer for ranking among the greatest receivers of all time and Utley for his playoff exploits and remarkable six-year high from 2005 to 2010. Still, I think both will be on the ballot for a few years before that happens.
Murphy: Mauer will be inducted at some point and will receive a higher percentage of votes this year. I predict that Mauer is chosen on over 50% of the ballots submitted, while Utley ends up in the 30-40% range. The notable individual accomplishments – namely the three aforementioned batting titles and the AL MVP award – really work to Mauer’s advantage. His candidacy is supported by the fact that he was one of the league’s best hitters for nearly a decade while playing the most demanding defensive position (although he was merely OK behind the plate; Utley was the best defender in his respective position).
I don’t know if Utley will enter the room. Neither player had a long peak, but Mauer’s lasted eight years, while Utley’s only lasted six years. Only Albert Pujols had a higher WAR than Utley from 2005 to 2010, but after that, Utley was more or less a league-average bat for the next nine seasons — and his defense saw a similar decline. I will say that he succeeds because I am a “big Hall” guy, but I don’t have confidence in him.
Which candidate who is not elected this year will take a big step forward to position themselves well for 2025?
Randhawa: Andrew Jones. He’s one of the best center fielders in baseball history and has 434 career home runs, and he made a huge jump last year, going from 41.4 percent in 2022 to 58.1 % in 23. I think he hits the 70% mark this time around — just below the necessary 75% threshold — which positions him for election next year.
Casella: Since Manny once again covered it perfectly with Jones, I’m going to go with Carlos Beltrán, who got a solid 46.5% of the vote in his first year on the ballot last year. Beltrán has a pretty impressive Hall of Fame record: 435 home runs, 2,725 hits, nine All-Star selections, three Gold Glove Awards, two Silver Slugger Awards, the 1999 AL Rookie of the Year award, and a World Series ring 2017. He also accumulated 70.1 career WAR – and he did it all as a switch hitter, making him one of the best switch hitters in MLB history. Expect Beltrán to make a considerable jump from year one to year two en route to eventual induction.
Murphy: Bobby Abreu began to gain traction last year, when his voting percentage increased from 8.6% to 15.4% in his fourth year running for office. We’ve seen players in similar situations end up crossing the 75% threshold. Larry Walker was at 21.9% after his seventh year on the ballot, but he made a meteoric rise over the next three voting cycles before being inducted into the class of 2020. Wagner, who we all agree will be inducted this time. , was only at 16.7% after his fourth year in office.
Abreu has time on his side. He also has the numbers. He is one of seven players with at least 900 extra base hits and 400 steals. Five of the other six are Hall of Fame inductees and the other is Barry Bonds. Abreu reached base more times than Tony Gwynn – and he did it in fewer plate appearances. Abreu had a higher WAR than Vladimir Guerrero. Abreu should get more love from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America this year.
Which freshman candidate do you think will unfairly go it alone by not garnering at least 5% of the vote?
Randhawa: I think of Victor Martinez. He was a consistently reliable and at times very productive catcher/first baseman/designated hitter for Cleveland, Boston and Detroit during his 16-year MLB career. He had a career OPS of .815 with 246 home runs, and he was a five-time All-Star. Given that Martinez has played most of his career in the small markets of the AL Central and doesn’t have the overall tally stats, I think he won’t be on the ballot in the first year.
Casella: James Shields. His overall resume – a 4.01 career ERA, just one top 10 Cy Young Award and one All-Star selection – won’t get much consideration in the Hall of Fame, but Shields is arguably the last d ‘a dying breed when it comes to starting casting. Take a look at his 2011 season: 11 complete games, four shutouts, 225 strikeouts in 249 1/3 innings and a 2.82 ERA. The only other pitchers with 11 complete games, four shutouts and 200 strikeouts in a season in the last 35 years are Pedro Martinez (1997) and Roger Clemens (1991 and ’92).
Sure, one season doesn’t make the Hall of Fame — but Shields was also a workhorse outside of 2011. In fact, from 2007 to 2016, he ranked first among all pitchers in innings pitched . He also ranked sixth in strikeouts behind Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, Cole Hamels, Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer. Shields ranked sixth in shutouts behind Kershaw, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, King Felix and Adam Wainwright. It’s a pretty impressive decade.
Murphy: I fear we won’t be talking about José Reyes for over a year on Hall of Fame balloting. That would be a shame as he was an exciting player to watch during his peak from 2005-2011.
Reyes recorded double-digit triples and at least 55 stolen bases every season from 2005 to 2008. He also won the NL batting title in 2011. Although injuries began to pile up late in the season, In his twenties and early thirties, Reyes is still one of four players in the divisional era (since 1969) with at least 100 home runs, 100 triples and 500 steals. The other three members of this exclusive club are Kenny Lofton and Hall of Famers Paul Molitor and Tim Raines.