If players don’t receive at least five percent of the vote, they fall off the ballot next year
In the coming weeks, we’ll start doing deeper dives when it comes to specific cases for the 2022 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. We’ve already laid out the juiciest storylines coming with this ballot as the votes pour in before the class is announced on Jan. 25. Today, we’ll run through the eligible players likely to, at the bare minimum, survive this vote. That is, who on the 30-player ballot will get at least five percent of the vote and remain on next year’s ballot?
Right off the top, we know at least four specific players are coming off the ballot. Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa are on the ballot for the 10th and final time this year. It’s also clear that a few returning players will stay on the ballot if they again fall short of the 75-percent induction threshold.
- Scott Rolen got more than half the vote last year and the only way he’s coming off the ballot now is if he gets to 75 percent and is inducted.
- Billy Wagner, Todd Helton, Gary Sheffield, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent and Manny Ramirez got between 25 and 50 percent of the vote last season, so surely they are all good to keep moving forward.
- I have no idea what to expect with Omar Vizquel, given the allegations against him, but it seems likely he will get more than five percent.
- Andy Pettitte (13.7 percent) and Mark Buehrle (11.0) look to be safe as well, given how shocking it would be to see them lose more than five percent of the vote in one cycle.
- Alex Rodriguez has inner-circle, all-time-great stats, but he was also suspended by his ties to PEDs. Of course, so was Ramirez and A-Rod had a better on-field career than Manny, so the best bet is he comes in well above five percent. Bonds and Clemens are probably better comparisons and they were over 61 percent last year. I’d guess A-Rod comes in around 55-60 percent.
- I can’t envision a scenario where David Ortiz gets fewer than, say, 65 percent and he might get in on the first ballot here.
That leaves us with 14 players vulnerable to get fewer than five percent of the vote and fall off the ballot before the 2023 vote.
Carl Crawford, Jake Peavy, Justin Morneau, Prince Fielder, A.J. Pierzynski and Ryan Howard all had very formidable careers and deserve the honor of being on this ballot, but it’s very difficult to see any of them getting more than just a few votes. They’ll all be gone before next vote.
That leaves eight remaining players who should be near the five-percent mark.
- Torii Hunter: He got 9.5 percent of the vote last season and the hunch is he hangs around. Hunter was an exceptional defensive center fielder who hit .277/.331/.461 (110 OPS+) with 2,452 hits, 1,296 runs, 1,391 RBI, 498 doubles, 353 homers and 195 steals in his career.
- Bobby Abreu: Abreu barely survived his first vote with 5.5 percent and jumped to 8.7 last year, so he’s likely safe. The on-base machine is 49th all-time in times on base, thanks to 2,470 hits and 1,476 walks (20th all-time). He hit .291 with a 395 on-base percentage in his 18 years. He racked up 1,453 runs and 1,363 RBI with 574 doubles and 400 steals. He’s 20th all-time in JAWS among right fielders, sandwiched between Dave Winfield and Vladimir Guerrero.
- Tim Hudson: Huddy barely made it last year, getting 5.2 percent of the vote. He was 222-133 in his career with a 3.49 ERA (120 ERA+) and over 2,000 strikeouts in 3,126 2/3 innings. The four-time All-Star was in the 2014 World Series champion Giants‘ rotation. The ballot is a lot more crowded this time around with no one getting inducted last year and a batch of worthy newcomers, so I think he falls off.
- Mark Teixeira: Tex was a middle-order hitter on the 2009 Yankees World Series championship team, leading the AL with 39 homers and 122 RBI that season. Will that be enough to overcome him not hitting generally required power benchmarks in the counting stats for first basemen? He ended with 409 homers and 1,298 RBI. He’s probably shy in hits (1,862) and doubles (408), too. Fred McGriff and Don Mattingly lasted a while on the ballot, so maybe Teixeira has a shot. Then again, Will Clark and Carlos Delgado fell off after one try, so maybe not.
- Jimmy Rollins: I think Rollins hangs around for a few more votes. An MVP and World Series champion, Rollins racked up 2,455 hits, 1,421 runs, 511 doubles, 115 triples, 231 homers, 936 RBI (mostly from the top of the order, remember) and 470 steals. Of course, he’s in the ballpark of Nomar Garciaparra, Miguel Tejada and Troy Tulowitzki in JAWS, so it might be an uphill battle.
- Joe Nathan and Jonathan Papelbon: We’ll be diving deeper on closers later this week, but with Wagner gaining steam, we have to take the candidacies of Nathan and Papelbon seriously. Wagner is sixth in career saves while Nathan is eighth and Papelbon is 10th. Nathan struck out 976 with a 2.87 ERA (151 ERA+) and 1.12 WHIP In his 923 1/3 innings. Papelbon struck out 808 with a 2.44 ERA (177 ERA+) and 1.04 WHIP in his 725 2/3 innings. For comparison’s sake, Trevor Hoffman had 1,133 strikeouts with a 2.87 ERA (141 ERA+) and 1.06 WHIP in 1,089 1/3 innings. My guess is Papelbon just didn’t have nearly enough workload and he falls off. On Nathan, I just don’t think his name carries the same cachet as Hoffman or Wagner. I’ll say he narrowly misses five percent. I wouldn’t be surprised if both survive, though.
- Tim Lincecum: The peak was glorious, wasn’t it? It was just so short-lived. From 2008-11, Lincecum had a 2.81 ERA (143 ERA+), 1.17 WHIP and 977 strikeouts in 881 2/3 innings. He made four straight All-Star teams and won back-to-back Cy Youngs. He’ll get a few votes, but Lincecum seems primed to join Denny McLain, Johan Santana and Bret Saberhagan as pitchers to win multiple Cy Youngs and not get five percent of the Hall of Fame vote.
That means my official predictions are that it will breakdown as follows with the 30 players on the BBWAA Hall of Fame vote:
- 10th and final vote (4): Schilling, Bonds, Clemens, Sosa
- More than five percent and move to the 2023 ballot (15): Rolen, Vizquel, Wagner, Helton, Sheffield, Jones, Kent, Ramirez, Pettitte, Buehrle, Hunter, Abreu, Rodriguez, Rollins, Teixeira
- Less than five percent and booted from the ballot (10): Hudson, Crawford, Peavy, Morneau, Fielder, Nathan, Lincecum, Papelbon, Pierzynski, Howard
- 75+ percent and inducted into the Hall of Fame (1): Ortiz