January 29, 2023

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Baseball Hall of Fame 2023 vote: 11 tips, including hope for Carlos Beltrán and Todd Hilton

The results of the 2023 BBWAA Baseball Hall of Fame voting have been revealed Scott Rollin is now a Hall of FamerAfter receiving 76.3% of the vote. Below are the full results with official vote percentages. Players needed 75 percent of the vote to make this happen and at least five percent of the vote to stay on the ballot for the next year, up to 10 years.

Let’s dig deeper into the biggest takeaways from Hall of Fame season.

1. This is actually a two-man class

First, The Contemporary Era Committee selected Fred McGriff. The Hall of Fame ceremony to honor two players will be held next summer. McGriff is 59 while Rollin is 47. Both have played with a few teams and that should have been a fun weekend event.

2. The Rollin case can provide us with hope

In 2018, in an even more crowded poll, Rolen received just 10.2% of the vote. But as the ballot cleared over the years with Hall of Famers inducted and famous players gone uninducted, spots on Rollin’s ballots were erased. There has also been a swell of support from several corners of the internet, suggesting that Rolen’s defense deserves a lot of the credit and this is shown in stats like WAR.

Rollin’s transition from 10.2 percent of the vote to voting by writer’s vote was the largest in history. It’s a record that may not last long, as there are a few players we’ll discuss below to make a move similar to Rolen’s.

Certainly making big moves after very small beginnings is a theme involving many of the leading candidates on this ballot.

3. Hilton is right on the cliff

like I mentioned it in detail in last month’s Rolen discussion, It is very rare for players to top 62 percent with time to poll and not vote soon afterwards, whether it is one or two rounds of voting. Rolen surpassed that mark last year and made it this time. Next, Todd Hilton.

Hilton, in his fifth year, scored 72.2 percent. It would be unprecedented for a player to reach this level of voting in their fifth year and not enter the hall.

Using the available data, no public ballot received 10 votes that did not include Helton. This means that even with players like Adrián Beltré and Joe Mauer on the ballot next year, the vast majority of voters either voted for Helton or have a spot(s) available to add him. There will be new voters. Some voters swoop in for not covering the game anymore. Some voters reconsider their stance on players once they get close to 75 percent.

For all of these reasons, Helton will almost certainly be voted out next year.

4. Beltran has hope

Carlos Beltrán has a Hall of Fame statistic profile, but since his retirement, a sign-stealing scandal has overshadowed his Hall of Fame chances (Full breakdown here).

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The good news here for Beltrán is that he started with a decent number: 46.5% of the vote on his first attempt.

It’s not the best comparison of looping in connected PED actuators, but it’s the best we’ve had. Players who have been disqualified from the Hall of Fame for being associated with PEDs started in their mid-30s with a percentage or less. Most of them were lower, in fact, only Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds were in their mid-30s.

With Beltran starting here, he’s already in a much better position. Anecdotally, I’ve also read several columns from notable writers who have said they plan to revisit in future years after not voting for Beltrán here his first time on the ballot. And some people consider “first ballot hall of fame” a sacred honour.

Overall, I think Beltrán’s results are net positive. We’ll see how far he makes next time – with the “first ballot” thing not attached and perhaps a few of those writers mentioned reconsidering his case – without making any sweeping pronouncements.

5. A-Rod has less hope

Alex Rodriguez’s Hall of Fame case is Complex. We all already know that. Before last year’s vote, we weren’t sure exactly how voting would play out for him. This was his second run on the ballot and his first without the likes of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

Bonds could be the best roadmap here between PED connections and all-time great numbers by a position player, though Bonds was never suspended under MLB’s JDA and nailed A-Rod with one of the biggest penalties in history. Bonds started in the mid-30s and topped 66 percent in his final year. The voting body will continue to evolve toward a more New School mentality, but there are future voters who would have voted Bonds and not gone with A-Rod because of the suspension.

Well, A-Rod got 34.3% of the vote last year and 35.7% this time around.

This is probably in the slack range, right? I know I often mention things about changing the voting body, evolving opinions and things like that, but it hardly moved.

Simply put, while things can change, he seems stuck.

6. Wagner, Jones are doing well now

Billy Wagner started 2016 with about 10 percent of the vote (note the Rolen section above). Over four rides, it was only 16.7 percent, but now he’s moving.

2020: 31.7%
2021: 46.4%
2022: 51%
2023: 68.1%

Wagner still has two ballots remaining and has a real chance of making it home. It might even happen next year. It’s very close now.

Not quite close, but nonetheless moving in the range with Andrew Jones. He’s starting to have to sweat just to stay above five percent. He only got 7.5 percent on his second ballot, but then he started to get some favors.

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2020: 19.4%
2021: 33.9%
2022: 41.4%
2023: 58.1%

It was Jones’ sixth time on the ballot, so he took four more voting cycles to make up less than 20 percent. If that was the case, he would easily break Rolen’s record.

However, with both players but especially with Jones since he’s been so far away: there’s always the risk of getting stuck. That is, a player can reach a certain percentage and then stagnate. It varies from player to player because each Hall of Fame issue is unique and they are all voted on by an ever-changing constituency.

Overall, though, things are looking up for Wagner and it really looks like Jones has the momentum to finally get him. A person who has settled down in recent years and had a possibly great night was a great racket ever.

7. Sheffield within range?

It was Gary Sheffield’s ninth time on the ballot. He made big gains in 2019-21, going from 13.6 percent to 40.6 percent, but he’s getting exactly 40.6 percent again in 2022. It looks like he may have lost all hope. Instead, go for the potentially overused but still fun “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” range.

Sheffield got 55 per cent of the vote this year.

Maybe there will be a nice bump in the final year? Kent got a boost of over 13 per cent, though that wouldn’t be enough. One of the biggest final poll jumps in a single year ever was for Larry Walker, who jumped from 54.6 percent in his ninth year to 76.6 percent to field in his final attempt.

If Sheffield can make such gains with next year’s voting body, they will enter. Obviously, this is a very high hill to climb, but it is possible.

8. Kent falls off the ballot

Jeff Kent was the only player on this ballot for the tenth time. As such, it was the proverbial swan song. We knew he wouldn’t come close, but he hit a new high with 46.5 percent of the vote, more than 10 percentage points above his previous high of 32.7 percent. It’s a feather in his cap that he gets close to 50 percent of the vote while he’s been cruising around the ballot for a decade. It’s just hard to get on the ballot and Kent can rest easy knowing he’s clearly made a mark on baseball history.

In addition, my intuition is Kent would do much better with the committee votes (as McGriff), so this could be a blessing in disguise. I’d bet he’s in the hall for the next decade.

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9. Possible reason for optimism?

The following players are low on the ballot but have a chance of catching lightning in a bottle the way Rollin did (and similar in fashion to how Helton, Jones, and possibly Sheffield and Wagner turned out).

  • Andy Pettitt jumped from 10.7 percent to 17. This is his fifth year on the polls, so he’ll need some bigger jumps, but it’s the starting point.
  • Bobby Abreu went from 8.6 percent to 15.4 percent in his fourth year. It’s a very nice bump.
  • Jimmy Rollins went from 9.4 to 12.9 percent. Very modest really in terms of winnings and vote percentage, but it’s only his second ballot and Chase Utley is coming soon. It is always possible when Utley and Rollins are debated together on the ballot that there will be a mutual impulse in voting the double play combination. It didn’t work out for Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell, but times are changing.
  • Mark Buhrle went from 5.8 percent to 10.8 percent. I dive into it his case as a permanent worker Recently and probably will continue to be talked about more.
  • This was the first ballot for Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez. He started with 10.8 percent of the vote. While Rolen’s entry provides hope for all players, Wagner’s move is especially telling with K-Rod and other elite-level lockers stepping forward. It’s very hard for commentators to get into the hall, but Wagner’s entry next year could help pave the way for some momentum for K-Rod.

10. No man’s land

Now we turn to the players who seem to have no chance of pitting even though they still poll.

  • Manny Ramirez actually moved from 28.9 percent to 33.2 percent, but he’s not even halfway through with only three ballots left. I don’t see enough room for improvement there.
  • Omar Vizquel’s descent continues. From 52.6 in 2020 to 49.1 to 23.9 and now to 19.5 percent on his sixth attempt. There’s a better chance of him falling off the ballot before his 10 years are up than turning things around and getting the honors.
  • Torii Hunter rose from 5.3 to 6.9 percent, but it’s still very close to being five percent after a very small gain in its third year. He probably needs to get up more than 10 percent next year to have any kind of hope, but I think that’s all a formality.

11. Five percent

The following players failed to reach five percent of the vote, meaning they were removed from the ballot moving forward: Bronson Arroyo, R.A. Dickey, John Lackey, Mike Napoli, Houston Street, Matt Cain, Jacoby Ellsbury, Andre Ether, JJ Hardy, Johnny. Peralta, Jared Weaver, and Jason Wirth. Notably, these were all first-timers. Each share received at least five percent of the vote.