If it’s after US Thanksgiving and before the Winter Meetings, it can only mean one thing: it’s the time of the year for Bluebird Banter’s annual survey of its readers’ views on who should be inducted into Cooperstown this year.
The 2018 Hall of Fame ballot, released earlier this week by the Baseball Hall of Fame, is a crowded one with 33 names: 14 holdovers from last year who received at least 5% support, and 19 players who are eligible for the first time. Unlike Javier Vazquez last year, there were no real snubs in terms of who was included on the ballot from among eligible players (at least 10 MLB seasons, not played since 2012).
The 14 holdovers are Barry Bonds (54%), Roger Clemens (54%), Vladimir Guerrero (72%), Trevor Hoffman (74%), Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez (59%), Fred McGriff, Mike Mussina (52%), Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Billy Wagner, and Larry Walker.
The 19 newcomers are: Chris Carpenter, Johnny Damon, Livan Hernandez, Orlando Hudson, Aubrey Huff, Jason Isringhausen, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Carlos Lee, Brad Lidge, Hideki Matsui, Kevin Millwood, Jaime Moyer, Scott Rolen, Johan Santana, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Kerry Wood, and Carlos Zambrano.
Two of those, Carpenter and Hudson, standout for their connection to the Blue Jays, both having been drafted and developed by the team. Moyer also has a connection, albeit more tenuous, as Toronto was his last organization for a week in 2012 in which he made two starts in AAA Las Vegas.
A number of the other newcomers, while certainly having had fine careers, do not merit and will not garner serious consideration for the Hall of Fame, and so there won’t be individual posts for them. This includes Hernandez (despite over 3,000 innings), Huff, Isringhausen and his 300 saves, Lee, Lidge (who had some great seasons but a very short career at only 600 IP), Matsui (at least only considering his North American years), and Millwood.
That leaves 10 newcomers with the 14 holdovers, for a total an eve two dozen. Realistically, there’s a handful of others who don’t have a real shot, but for one reason or another are interesting enough to discuss here.
As usual, Tom will have a write-up on each player. As I did last year, I’ll add a chart comparing each player to all players who careers were mostly post-WWII (roughly, the modern integrated era) who have been eligible for Cooperstown by productivity and career length. This excludes active players, and those on or awaiting the ballot since their candidacies have not been definitely assessed. For hitters, it looks like this:
“TRC+” is my name for a metric that is wRC+, but for total runs created (batting, fielding/positional, base running) rather than just batting runs. 100 is a league average player, and the higher the more productive the player at creating and preventing runs. This isn’t meant to be definitive, but a high level starting point showing how similarly productive and long lasting players have fared, since a lot of Hall of Fame debate is about where a player stand compared to others included or excluded
For pitchers, productivity is simply ERA-, how good a pitcher was at preventing runs relative to his peers. Again 100 representing league average, but lower is better:
I’ll also add players who are most comparable to the player being considered by these two dimensions, though for hitters they’re not always very applicable since positions and the way players created runs are not considered. We’ll use this page as a Storystream pinned near the front page to keep everything together.