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Front Page: Running Down the Hall (of Fame Ballot): 2020 Edition

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#1 Cody Christie

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 09:00 PM

Baseball and the Baseball Writers’ Association of America can spur plenty of debate, especially when it comes to candidates for the Hall of Fame. Last year saw four inductees from the BWAA ballot including Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, and Mariano Rivera. Rivera became the first unanimous selection and another Yankee looks to follow in his footsteps this season.There may be some unclogging of ballots after multiple years where some writers felt there were more than 10 worthy candidates. This season could allow writers to consider the resumes of some of the other top candidates that have been held over from previous years.

If I were lucky enough to have a ballot, this is how I would vote:

Class of 2020
Derek Jeter: Jeter’s resume is undeniable. He was part of five World Series teams and a critical component in bringing the Yankees franchise back after struggling through the 1980s. He has played in the most postseason series all-time and he hit .308 in the playoffs. He ranks in the all-time top-30 for games played, total bases, and runs scored while finishing in the top-10 for hits and at-bats. Twice he led the AL in hits, and he had more than 200-hits in eight seasons. He did all of this while playing shortstop where he played the second most games at that position.

The only question remaining is if he will tie Rivera and become the second player to be a unanimous selection.

Future Inductees
Omar Vizquel: I’m a big Ozzie Smith fan and Vizquel follows in the same mold as Smith. Both players provided almost all their value on the defensive side of the ball. Also, their longevity at one of baseball’s most important positions is something to be commended. Smith has the most Gold Gloves all-time among shortstops, but Vizquel is only two behind him and his 11 total awards are nothing to scoff at. He received 42.8% of the vote in 2019, so I don’t think there is much of a chance for him to make the big jump to 75%.

May Never Get In (But Still on My Ballot)
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Andrew Jones, Todd Helton, Larry Walker
Bonds and Clemens are two of the best players I will ever see play the game. Unfortunately, they made some poor decisions during the height of the steroid era. I think both players would have been inducted into Cooperstown even without using steroids and that’s why I continue to have them on my ballot. Andrew Jones was a freak in the outfield and his career .823 OPS shows that he was more than able to hold his own. He only got 32 votes last season, so he has a long way to go.

Helton and Walker are both very intriguing players. Walker is in his last year of eligibility and he finished the last voting period being named on 42.8%. I truly believe he is a Hall of Famer, but I think he will have to be elected through one of the other committee votes. Helton has only been on one ballot, but I see him taking a very similar path to Walker. He will make subtle gains in the years ahead but it seems unlikely for the writers to elect him.

To be transparent, little has changed on my ballot from last year to this year. I correctly predicted three of the four players who would be elected last year (Holladay, Martinez, and Rivera) while having Mussina on my future inductions list. I have only added one player to this year’s ballot with Jeter being a lock to make the Hall.

To see the full 2020 BBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot CLICK HERE. On January 21, the BBWAA will announce the results of the 2020 Hall of Fame balloting. Any players chosen will be inducted during Hall of Fame Weekend starting on Sunday, July 26 at 12:30 pm CST.

Who makes your ballot? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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#2 mikelink45

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 10:44 PM

Jeter and Walker are my only choices. How can you say that Bonds and Clemens would have been in without steroids? Boston thought Clemens was done. They traded him and he suddenly got great! Wow what magic.

#3 DocBauer

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 11:25 PM

Watching him his entire career, Vizquel is 2nd only to The Wizard when it comes to SS and SHOULD BE a lock for the HOF. He didn't have Ozzie's flair, but was just as dependable and maybe had the better arm. Like Smith, he was a defense first and foremost player who developed in to a very nice offensive player who did a bit of everything.

I can be a typical Yankee hater, but I have never disliked Jeter or disparaged him in any way. I will say, however, that part of his reverence, IMO, comes from being a Yankee and his post season success. That success is important, relevant and can not be denied. But if I were building a dream team tomorrow and had my choice of a SS in his prime, Ozzie would be my #1 choice. I'm not so sure I wouldn't pick Vizquel over Jeter.

I want to agree that Bonds and Clemens deserve it regardless due to their greatness before all the PED conversations and taints. I watched their entire careers. The problem is, NOBODY, except the players themselves and those closest to them, know exactly when the PED usage took place. Was it from day one? When they hit 30? 31? 32?

Whether you agree or not, there is a stigma there. They will be included at some point. It may be further down the road, and with an asteric by their name, but they will be there one day. But it won't be now.
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#4 nclahammer

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 05:45 AM

Derek Jeter and I'll be cheering for Omar Vizquel too.


#5 ashbury

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 07:39 AM

If you want Andruw Jones in the Hall of Fame, it's probably best to spell his name correctly on the ballot. :)

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#6 dex8425

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 08:59 AM

Everyone agrees on Jeter. He will get in. He benefits from the NY Yankee prestige.

 

Larry Walker should absolutely be in. His numbers are eye popping even if you look at his splits away from Coors, and he was an elite defensive outfielder. He stole bases. Playing in small markets is seeming to hurt him. He was an elite five tool player. 

 

Helton's numbers are there, but the Coors effect is stronger, and he was a first baseman, which requires more on the offensive side to get in.Not a five tool player. You could make the argument for or against. 

 

Bonds and Clemens- heck no. If Pete Rose doesn't get in, they shouldn't either. 

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#7 gunnarthor

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 10:02 AM

Jeter, Walker, Kent, Rolen, Jones, Schilling.

 

Scott Rolen missed a lot of games with injuries over the years but he should be in the Hall.


#8 nicksaviking

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 10:20 AM

With the only lock being Jeter, I predict a big jump for the non-steroid-accused also-rans.

 

I'll predict that Larry Walker misses out, but just barely maybe getting close to 70%. I'll also predict surprisingly big jumps for Rolen and Wagner, nearly approaching 50%. Vizquel is tough because the community seems pretty split on him, I'd guess he sees gains, but not as big of a jump as the others.

 

It's been awhile so I'm a big foggy, was Andruw Jones suspected of PEDs? Seems to me he was only suspected, not actually busted so he could be a big riser as well.

 

I also predict that I will be wrong on over 50% of these predictions because I am terrible at this kind of thing.


#9 mbrake

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 12:50 PM

Derek Jeter 

Omar Vizquel

Curt Schilling

Roger Clemens

Barry Bonds

Sammy Sosa

Manny Ramirez

Jeff Kent

Billy Wagner

Gary Sheffield


#10 JLease

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 03:17 PM

Jeter's case is undeniable. he's a no-doubter, even if his defense was overrated for most of his career, he was still a fantastic player and offensive force especially when SS was still a position that teams were willing to ignore offense on. easy pick.

 

Larry Walker is also an easy one for me, although I recognize it's harder for others. walker was a true 5-tool player who was also able to turn it into results. He was a great hitter (and not just at Coors, where he put up video game numbers), an excellent defensive player, a terrific baserunner and the only reason he wasn't in almost immediately was a) he played in Colorado in his prime, and B) he struggled to stay healthy. walker only played 150+ games once. Only made it in 140+ 4 times in 16 "full" seasons. but when he played...man, was he good. Power, patience, and contact as a hitter. It wasn't just Coors; Larry Walker hit .322 playing his last year in Montreal. he could hit lefties, rightes...he could hit on Mars if you asked him to. Vlad Guerrero glided in to the HoF and the only thing Vlad truly did better than Larry Walker was stay on the field. If Vlad is worthy (and I'm fine with it), how is Walker not? Even with the injuries, I'd take Walker in a choose-up game every time. Equal as hitter, Walker was a significantly better baserunner and defender. Vlad had an amazing arm; Walker's was as good and Walker had a ton of range to go with it. I hope Walker gets in.

 

Scott Rolen is another easy pick for me. 3B are underrepresented in the HoF and there are stars that deserve the nod. Rolen is one of them. A sterling defensive player, he also brought a sturdy bat to the yard. His 2004 season wins the MVP race easily if he's in the AL that year, but 3 St.L players (Rolen, Pujols, and Edmonds) all having elite years probably didn't help (Bonds was a deserving winner, Beltre could have taken it too). but it remains an amazing year. health is the only strike against Rolen; if he had been able to stay on the field more we might be talking about him as the best 3B of his generation instead of Beltre, but again: longevity and health are Beltre's advantages. Lop of the first season for both men (where neither came close ot a full season) and compare the first 16 years of their careers: Beltre comes out ahead on bWAR, Rolen takes it on rate stats. In terms of total value, Rolen and Ron Santo are almost identical, and there's no doubt in my mind Santo's a worthy HoFer.

 

reluctantly, I would probably vote for Schilling for on field performance. but I'm not going to lose any sleep over people leaving him off the ballot and invoking the character clause on him for everything he's shown post-baseball. Great pitcher. Big game performer. Rotten human (JMO). A tough call for me. Very hard to separate the things he's said (and many of the things he's done) off the field.

 

I'm on the record as being no on Clemens & Bonds. Age them off the ballot and let some future committee decide. I think they were probably worthy pre-steroids, but I also think they're both a disgrace. Let this be their pennance: they don't get in on the writer's ballot and have to play to a committee down the road.

 

I struggle on Andruw Jones: the last 5 years of his career don't do anything for his case, it's a relatively short peak...but so was Joe Mauer's. CF is a pretty demanding position, as seen by Buxton's inability to stay on the field. Transcendent defensive player. Great 10 year run. Game changer in his 20's. I'm leaning yes on him, but i understand the no's.

 

Omar Vizquel is a no for me. Loved watching him play; he was probably the most fun shortstop to watch since Ozzie Smith...but he wasn't anywhere near the player Ozzier was. Omar has a lot of highlights, but is a bit overrated defensively, IMHO. Almost certainly won more Gold Gloves than he deserved. Pretty bad offensive player. No power. Played forever, but is that HoF? He was literally never the best SS in the AL; even in his best season he was never higher than 3rd. He was never an MVP and never deserved one. 3-time all-star, who really only earned it once even with extra credit for defense thrown in. he was very good, he was fun to watch, and he was skilled enough to keep playing long after most of his peers had move on...but I vote no on Omar.

 

Helton is another one I'm leaning yes on. I know he's another Coors kid, but OPS+ adjusts for park factors and he was still insane. That 5 year run from '00-'04 is ludicrous: 163,160,148,165,165 for his OPS+! (Joe Mauer's MVP year was 171) He wasn't quite Frank Thomas or Jeff Bagwell but it's not that far off. I hope his candidacy gets a looooong look.

 

I lean no on Pettite: lot of good years, only a couple of great ones, plus the 'roids. 

 

manny is another no: might have been the best pure hitter in the game at his peak, but was an awful OF, hurt his team with the antics, and is an unquestioned cheater.

 

billy wagner is the one other guy I look at: more dominant than hoffman and if "closer" still matters...he's worth a good argument.

 

 

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#11 Yawn Gardenhose

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 08:12 PM

Keep in mind that it's the Hall of Baines now, not the Hall of Fame. Voters now have the fact that Harold Baines is in the Hall of Fame in mind when they cast their ballots. Because he's a player who played against most of the guys still on the ballot, it'll be tougher to keep certain guys out due to a Baines comparison. Walker is a good case; I think his chances this year were greatly helped by Baines getting in, because he outperforms Baines measurably in most criteria and to leave Walker out while Baines is in fails a basic logic test for some voters. I expect the number of annual inductees to rise over the next decade or so; instead of 1 or 2 guys getting in per year, more like 4 or 5. 

 

I've always been pro-Bonds and Clemens, but I understand the argument against letting them in too. 


#12 biggentleben

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 11:46 PM

Vizquel is no Andrelton.

 

Essentially, on a per-game basis, Vizquel is Jose Iglesias. So, Jose Iglesias for a long time is a Hall of Famer...

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#13 JLease

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 07:22 AM

 

Keep in mind that it's the Hall of Baines now, not the Hall of Fame. Voters now have the fact that Harold Baines is in the Hall of Fame in mind when they cast their ballots. Because he's a player who played against most of the guys still on the ballot, it'll be tougher to keep certain guys out due to a Baines comparison. Walker is a good case; I think his chances this year were greatly helped by Baines getting in, because he outperforms Baines measurably in most criteria and to leave Walker out while Baines is in fails a basic logic test for some voters. I expect the number of annual inductees to rise over the next decade or so; instead of 1 or 2 guys getting in per year, more like 4 or 5. 

 

I think most writers think the Baines induction was a mistake run by a committee of biased insiders supporting one of their guys. I don't think it will lower standards in the mind of most; I truly doubt most voters are looking at Harold Baines and going, "welp, if Baines is in, we have to vote in anyone better than him". Because dang, then a LOT of guys are getting in...

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#14 gunnarthor

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 01:47 PM

 

Jeter's case is undeniable. he's a no-doubter, even if his defense was overrated for most of his career, he was still a fantastic player and offensive force especially when SS was still a position that teams were willing to ignore offense on. easy pick.

 

Larry Walker is also an easy one for me, although I recognize it's harder for others. walker was a true 5-tool player who was also able to turn it into results. He was a great hitter (and not just at Coors, where he put up video game numbers), an excellent defensive player, a terrific baserunner and the only reason he wasn't in almost immediately was a) he played in Colorado in his prime, and :cool: he struggled to stay healthy. walker only played 150+ games once. Only made it in 140+ 4 times in 16 "full" seasons. but when he played...man, was he good. Power, patience, and contact as a hitter. It wasn't just Coors; Larry Walker hit .322 playing his last year in Montreal. he could hit lefties, rightes...he could hit on Mars if you asked him to. Vlad Guerrero glided in to the HoF and the only thing Vlad truly did better than Larry Walker was stay on the field. If Vlad is worthy (and I'm fine with it), how is Walker not? Even with the injuries, I'd take Walker in a choose-up game every time. Equal as hitter, Walker was a significantly better baserunner and defender. Vlad had an amazing arm; Walker's was as good and Walker had a ton of range to go with it. I hope Walker gets in.

 

Scott Rolen is another easy pick for me. 3B are underrepresented in the HoF and there are stars that deserve the nod. Rolen is one of them. A sterling defensive player, he also brought a sturdy bat to the yard. His 2004 season wins the MVP race easily if he's in the AL that year, but 3 St.L players (Rolen, Pujols, and Edmonds) all having elite years probably didn't help (Bonds was a deserving winner, Beltre could have taken it too). but it remains an amazing year. health is the only strike against Rolen; if he had been able to stay on the field more we might be talking about him as the best 3B of his generation instead of Beltre, but again: longevity and health are Beltre's advantages. Lop of the first season for both men (where neither came close ot a full season) and compare the first 16 years of their careers: Beltre comes out ahead on bWAR, Rolen takes it on rate stats. In terms of total value, Rolen and Ron Santo are almost identical, and there's no doubt in my mind Santo's a worthy HoFer.

 

reluctantly, I would probably vote for Schilling for on field performance. but I'm not going to lose any sleep over people leaving him off the ballot and invoking the character clause on him for everything he's shown post-baseball. Great pitcher. Big game performer. Rotten human (JMO). A tough call for me. Very hard to separate the things he's said (and many of the things he's done) off the field.

 

I'm on the record as being no on Clemens & Bonds. Age them off the ballot and let some future committee decide. I think they were probably worthy pre-steroids, but I also think they're both a disgrace. Let this be their pennance: they don't get in on the writer's ballot and have to play to a committee down the road.

 

I struggle on Andruw Jones: the last 5 years of his career don't do anything for his case, it's a relatively short peak...but so was Joe Mauer's. CF is a pretty demanding position, as seen by Buxton's inability to stay on the field. Transcendent defensive player. Great 10 year run. Game changer in his 20's. I'm leaning yes on him, but i understand the no's.

 

Omar Vizquel is a no for me. Loved watching him play; he was probably the most fun shortstop to watch since Ozzie Smith...but he wasn't anywhere near the player Ozzier was. Omar has a lot of highlights, but is a bit overrated defensively, IMHO. Almost certainly won more Gold Gloves than he deserved. Pretty bad offensive player. No power. Played forever, but is that HoF? He was literally never the best SS in the AL; even in his best season he was never higher than 3rd. He was never an MVP and never deserved one. 3-time all-star, who really only earned it once even with extra credit for defense thrown in. he was very good, he was fun to watch, and he was skilled enough to keep playing long after most of his peers had move on...but I vote no on Omar.

 

Helton is another one I'm leaning yes on. I know he's another Coors kid, but OPS+ adjusts for park factors and he was still insane. That 5 year run from '00-'04 is ludicrous: 163,160,148,165,165 for his OPS+! (Joe Mauer's MVP year was 171) He wasn't quite Frank Thomas or Jeff Bagwell but it's not that far off. I hope his candidacy gets a looooong look.

 

I lean no on Pettite: lot of good years, only a couple of great ones, plus the 'roids. 

 

manny is another no: might have been the best pure hitter in the game at his peak, but was an awful OF, hurt his team with the antics, and is an unquestioned cheater.

 

billy wagner is the one other guy I look at: more dominant than hoffman and if "closer" still matters...he's worth a good argument.

This is a really good run down. Well done. Agree nearly 100%.

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#15 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 05:23 PM

Jeter and Walker made it.
Jeter one vote shy of unanimous.
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#16 Diesel

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 05:34 PM

Full ballot. No huge names next year (Mark Buehrle, Tim Hudson, and Torii Hunter are the big newcomers), so hopefully the BBWAA plug their noses and vote Schilling/Bonds/Clemens. The Hall of Fame should be able to tell the story of baseball, and you need those 3 to properly tell it.

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#17 cardsfan

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 06:52 PM

This is a really good run down. Well done. Agree nearly 100%.

Agree 100%. Coors Field effect seems unquantifiable. Will they ever have a multi-year All-Star pitcher come from here?

#18 JLease

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 06:59 PM

 

Full ballot. No huge names next year (Buehrle and Tim Hudson are the big newcomers), so hopefully the BBWAA plug their noses and vote Schilling/Bonds/Clemens. The Hall of Fame should be able to tell the story of baseball, and you need those 3 to properly tell it.

 

I think Schilling gets in next year (assuming he can keep his big yap shut).

 

Clemens and Bonds won't, I don't think. But they might get it on the last year; it wouldn't surprise me if some writers decide to allow them to have their vote in the last year of eligibility. Personally, i think I would allow them to age off the ballot and let a special committee decide on them a little further removed from the times, but that's just me.

 

There's no easy picks for 2021 in the first-timers (I love Torii, but he's borderline at best and certainly not 1st ballot. Andruw Jones isn't getting a lot of traction right now and he was a better player even with the rapid decline) so it'll be interesting if there's a groundswell for one of the non-PED guys stuck in the middle: Rolen, Vizquel, Helton, Kent, Wagner, or Sheffield. Seems unlikely. But there are two veterans committees meeting next year...maybe Tony O finally makes it?


#19 chinmusic

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 07:17 PM

 

Jeter and Walker made it.
Jeter one vote shy of unanimous.

As a Canadian, just want to say it is awesome that Walker got in! Only the second Canadian born player after the great Fergie Jenkins.We are not only about hockey and the Raptors. This really instills national pride. Very cool.


#20 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 07:51 PM

And it's disturbing that there is a voter that thinks that JJ Putz is a hall of Famer.