The 2018 Hall of Fame Ballot

By Danny Boyce

The Hall of Fame ballot is out!  Today I’m going to go through every player on the ballot and say yes or no.  I must also add that a Hall of Fame voter can only vote for 10 at most, so that’s how many I will cast mine for.  I’ll list their Hall of Fame Rating (for how I figured that, go here to find out) and whether I voted Yes or No along with whatever reasons I need one way or the other. Players are listed alphabetically

 

Barry Bonds, LF (119.19 HOFR)

I know there are still some out there who will never get over the PED years, and that’s fine.  The fact still remains that 10 times he led the league in walks, 12 times in intentional walks, twice in homeruns, once in RBI, twice in batting average, 10 times in OBP, seven times in slugging percentage, nine times in OPS, has single season records for homeruns (73), walks (232), intentional walks (120 – which would have placed him fourth in the NL in 2004 if that was the only way they walked him), OBP (.609), slugging (.863), OPS (1.422), and OPS+ (268).  He has over 6,000 secondary bases (TB – H + BB + SB) and over 4,000 runs scored and RBI.  Yes, he was a jerk, but then again, we’re cutting a lot of players if we hold that standard.  YES

 

Chris Carpenter, SP (49.46)

Carpenter won the 2005 NL Cy Young Award.  He was probably better in 2009, but hey, the voters are getting better at this stuff.  He was a decent pitcher, but not a Hall of Famer.  NO

 

Roger Clemens, SP (99.51)

Another PED candidate.  But again, you want the basics?  Fine, he’s 354-184 (.658) and won seven ERA titles seven Cy Young Awards and the 1986 AL MVP.  For deeper diggers, he led the league in FIP nine times, in strikeouts five times, in ERA+ eight times.  I’m over the PED arguments, but if you aren’t that’s fine.  Hey, it’s America.  YES

 

Johnny Damon, CF (48.35)

Damon will get some credit for being one of the guys who broke the curse in Boston.  But his career 104 OPS+ isn’t thrilling, his arm rivaled most 10-year olds, and his per game stats are the greatest.  He was durable (13 times playing 145+ games), made two All-Star teams, but that’s really about it.  NO

 

Vladimir Guerrero, RF (62.33)

Vlad hits a bad part of the 10-player cutoff.  If I voted for 15 players he’s in.  He was one of the funnest players ever to watch in the history of the game.  You could never throw a pitch out of his reach.  He had a strong if not so accurate arm and loved to use it.  It hurts that he was done as an effective player by age 32.  But I hope – and believe – that he will get in one of these days, but on a ballot this loaded and restrictions, you have to make tough cuts.  NO

 

Livan Hernandez, SP (40.00)

1997 World Series MVP, made a couple of All-Star teams.  Also a career 4.44 ERA and a 95 ERA+.  NO

 

Trevor Hoffman, RP (47.73)

This selection all depends on what you make of the Save statistic.  Twice Hoffman led the league in Saves and is second all-time.  Closers are the single toughest position to consider and I’m still not sold on guys that come in and throw one inning.  NO

 

Orlando Hudson, 2B (37.38)

Aubrey Huff, 1B (33.46)

Jason Isringhausen, RP (33.46)

Do I really need to explain this?  NO

 

Andruw Jones, CF (63.56)

Another of the “next five” on the ballot.  In 1996 he homered twice in Game 1 of the World Series in Yankee Stadium as a 19-year old.  He was a terrific defensive center fielder (+243 total runs above average) but was really only an above average hitter.  That’s probably his biggest knock.  NO

 

Chipper Jones, 3B (73.10)

Played 364 games in the outfield, suffered a bad injury in 1994 and was a rookie in 1995.  A switch hitter who hit .303/.401/.529 (he’s on the short list of hitters with that line), was the 1999 NL MVP.  He’s one of the 10 greatest third basemen ever (I have him ranked fifth).  YES

 

Jeff Kent, 2B (58.55)

When I came up with my Hall of Fame Rating I found 60.00 to be my dividing line.  It is not an etched-in-stone number, but it is a very good guideline to start with.  Kent is right on the borderline.  He had three “great” years and a few good ones, but really didn’t do enough long enough.  A late start didn’t help matters, either.  Kent falls into the third group of players on this list – the Just Short Group.  NO

 

Carlos Lee, LF (38.57)

A nice player, but this will be his one time on the ballot.  Hopefully he has a close family friend in the BBWAA who will give him a vote so he won’t be shutout.  NO

 

Brad Lidge, RP (36.71)

I will always remember Brad Lidge for this nuclear blast off of Albert Pujols bat, but here are a couple other fun facts:

 

In 2008 he saved all 41 of his chances as he helped the Phillies win their first World Series since 1980

On June 11, 2003 the Astros sent six pitchers to the hill to no-hit the Yankees, a major league record.  Brad Lidge got the win.

 

But that isn’t enough to make the Hall.  NO

 

Edgar Martinez 3B, DH, (66.76)

Yes, a DH is a tough call, but if that’s really the case then no pitcher should ever go into the Hall because they don’t hit.  Edgar was an amazing hitter:

 

Player A: .312/.418/.515, 147 OPS+

Player B: .286/.380/.552, 141 OPS+

 

Player B is David Ortiz and seems to be a shoo-in for the Hall.  Player A is Edgar.  YES

 

Hideki Matsui, LF (35.40)

A player who got a late start because of his time in Japan (was a 29-year old rookie with the Yankees), so if one wants to give extra credit for his time across the Pacific, feel free.  I just don’t know how much credit to give, and until I do I can’t say yes.  NO

 

Fred McGriff, 1B (53.55)

Here is what I wrote about the Crime Dog on my Boyce of the People site:

 

“Ten times he hit 30 homers, between the ages of 24 and 38.  And I think this is where McGriff falls of for people.  His numbers were good, many times even great.  But when the higher powered numbers of the mid-to-late 90’s started skyrocketing, McGriff just stayed steady.  He never cleared 40 homers, he never racked up 110 RBI, only twice he scored 100 runs, and only three times did he hit .300.  Twice he led the league in homeruns, but none after 1992.  And that seems to be reflected in the Hall of fame voting (he’s never cleared 25%), and his HOFR of 53.55 falls short as well.  He was a nice player for a long time, but the all is about greatness, not niceness.”

 

NO

 

Kevin Millwood, SP (47.02)

Threw a no-hitter with the Phillies, won an ERA title with a losing record for the Tribe.  Otherwise, he was on some really good Braves teams.

 

Quick note I remember:  My cousin mentioned that offseason that he wasn’t too excited about Millwood’s 98-64 career record.  I had to remind him that a 98-64 record over 162 games gets you a lot of postseason appearances.  NO

 

Jamie Moyer, SP (45.91)

How credit goes into longevity?  Jamie Moyer pitched for 25 major league seasons and logged 4074.0 innings.  He had a couple of 20-win seasons with some really good Mariner teams.  He also had a career 4.25 ERA and a 103 ERA+.  My system factors in per inning, 5-year peak, and All-Star level seasons, so hang-around value is limited at best.  He had some years, but basically benefited from being left handed.  NO

 

Mike Mussina, SP (77.17)

Mussina spent his entire career pitching in the American League East in a high offensive era.  He had a 3.5 K/BB rate, average 7.1 K/9.  He never won the Cy Young because he pitched in the same leagues as Johnson, Clemens, and Martinez, people were still enamored with W-L record, and those three really did put up some monster seasons.  If people only care about W-L record, his 270-153 mark ranks up there with some of the best all-time.  I look at his other stats and say, yes.  YES

 

Manny Ramirez, LF (70.29)

One of the five best right handed hitters of my lifetime.  Hit .312/.411/.585, helped break the Red Sox curse, carried a bad Dodgers team to the playoffs, hit 555 homeruns, and was one of the most productive hitter ever.  Yes, I know, PED’s.  But if Gaylord Perry can get in and people want to go to battle for Joe Jackson and Pete Rose, I’ll go to bat for Manny – not that he ever need anyone to bat for him.  YES

 

Scott Rolen, 3B (67.72)

This will surely come as a surprise to several who are more about flash and flare than results (more on that later), and if you have doubts, go back to the top and read the original article where I use Rolen as an example. If that’s not enough, the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year hit .281/.364/.490 (122 OPS+), was 150 runs above average as a third baseman, ranks as one of the 10 best third basemen ever.  He wasn’t flashy, he was just damn good.  YES

 

Johan Santana, SP (61.64)

Santana won two Cy Young Awards with the Twins and threw the first no-hitter in Mets history.  For three straight years he led the AL in WHIP, ERA+, FIP, and strikeouts.  Unfortunately his career was only 12 seasons and just over 2,000 innings.  He’s one of the more intriguing candidates, but I think the career length just isn’t enough.  NO

 

Curt Schilling, SP (79.42)

Yes, Schilling has said and tweeted a lot of things that will never endear him to anyone with a heart, but regardless of what anyone wants to say about the “character clause”, that’s not what the Hall of Fame is about.  His strikeout to walk rate is one of the greatest of all-time.  He’s got over 3,000 career strikeouts.  In 19 postseason starts he posted a 2.23 ERA and a WHIP below 1.000.

 

As far as what he said, Steve Carlton once accused every president from Kennedy to Clinton of treason and that basically the AIDS virus was invented to kill off gays.  Maury Will wrote in his book that he was never in love with his wife and only married her because he knocked her up – not the only guy to do it, but probably the only one to publish it.  Dixie Walker was a noted racist, and Joe McCarthy made it no secret that he hated southerners.  Curt Schilling is a far cry from perfect.  But I don’t hold that against his Hall of Fame candidacy.  YES

 

Gary Sheffield, RF (62.57)

An amazing swing; Gary Sheffield never struck out more than 83 times in a season (did it twice, once at 35 the second at 39 years old) despite such a violent swing.  He walked more than 300 more times than he struck out.  Is that enough, though?  His defense was horrific.  He was rather average as a baserunner.

 

Ultimately I have him in the second group of players, good enough to get in , but not one of the top ten on this list.  NO

 

Sammy Sosa, RF (61.58)

PED’s.  Helped save baseball.  A late bloomer.  Got caught using a corked bat.  Indifferent in the field.  Three times hit 60 homers (did not lead the league in any of those years).  He’s another second group guy. NO

 

Jim Thome, 1B (63.95)

He hit 612 homeruns, walked 1700 times, racked up over 4,000 secondary bases and 3000 runs and RBI.  He was never a glove guy and the “good ole boy” part ran some people thin.  But he was a great hitter when you pull away everything and focus on a hitter’s job.  He ranked 10th on the list, therefore got the final vote.  YES

 

Omar Vizquel, SS (39.28)

Everyone loves to compare him to Ozzie Smith.  It’s not a good comparison, but people do it.  For starters, while both guys had fielding percentages 1% above the league averages, Ozzie made 846 more plays despite playing 1175 fewer innings.  Total zone runs has Ozzie at 239, Omar at 134.  As hitters, Ozzie has an OPS+ of 87, Omar 82.  Weighted Runs Created?  Ozzie has a wRC+ of 90, Omar 83.  Baserunning?  Ozzie stole 176 more bases and was caught 19 fewer times.  By my HOFR system, Ozzie ranks 10th all-time, Omar is behind Jhonny Peralta, Andrelton Simmons, Maury Wills, Alan Trammell, Jimmy Rollins, Vern Stephens, Miguel Tejada, Troy Tulowitzki, Jim Fregosi, Rafael Furcal, Dick Bartell, Dick Groat, and Edgar Renteria, and all 22 Hall of Fame shortstops.

 

So why the Ozzie comparison?  Because both were fun to watch.  Omar made bare handed plays just because and dove because his range was more limited than anyone will ever admit (Omar’s range factor at short was 4.62, the average shortstop during his time was at 4.61).

 

There’s nothing wrong with being fun to watch.  But Rey Ordonez was fun. Mark Belanger was a defensive wonder at short as well.  We’ll also ignore PED use and the fact that he threw teammates under the bus with a tell-all book while he was still playing.  NO

 

Billy Wagner, RP (48.75)

Wagner was a better relief pitcher than Hoffman, but I still can’t pull the trigger on a reliever.  NO

 

Larry Walker, RF (66.35)

Coors Field is a mess for everyone, but I still don’t get it.  We have stats that account for era and home ballpark, so why is Walker’s 147 OPS+ in Denver (47% above average when you take into account park effects) so tough to figure out?  And it’s not like he was a bad player in Montreal or St. Louis.  He ranked ninth on my list, and he deserves to go in as the first Rockie.  Yes

 

Kerry Wood, RP (44.22)

Oh, Dusty Baker and Jim Riggleman.  Between the two of you there were two top of the rotation aces that you ran to the ground.  That 20-strikeout performance against the Astros as a rookie.  Oh what could’ve been.  NO

 

Carlos Zambrano, SP (46.69)

I was surprised that Zambrano pitched that long.  I didn’t think he had a long enough fuse.  That and he had a K/BB rate below 2.0, he walked a batter every other inning, and his blow ups are more known than his performance as a pitcher.  NO

 

So to recap, here are the guys listed by HOFR ranking:

Barry Bonds

Roger Clemens

Curt Schilling

Mike Mussina

Chipper Jones                                                   The ones I vote for

Manny Ramirez

Scott Rolen

Edgar Martinez

Larry Walker

Jim Thome

———————

Andruw Jones

Gary Sheffield

Vladimir Guerrero                                           The close but just too many to vote for

Johan Santana

Sammy Sosa

———————

Jeff Kent                                                              Not quite

Fred McGriff

———————

Chris Carpenter

Billy Wagner

Johnny Damon

Trevor Hoffman

Kevin Millwood                                                 The rest

Carlos Zambrano

Jamie Moyer

Kerry Wood

Livan Hernandez

Omar Vizquel

Carlos Lee

Orlando Hudson

Brad Lidge

Hideki Matsui

Aubrey Huff

Jason Isringhausen

 

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