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Royals Review hypothetical Hall of Fame ballots

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Who would you put into Cooperstown?

2010 Baseball Hall of Fame Preview Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Baseball Writers of America will announce the 2020 inductees into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday, with those players to be enshrined this summer with catcher Ted Simmons and labor leader Marvin Miller, who were chosen by the Moden Era Committee. The ballot includes first-time candidate Derek Jeter, as well as Larry Walker, who will be on the ballot for the last time. It also includes controversial players such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and Manny Ramirez, all of whom had PED scandals, and Curt Schilling, who has drawn ire for controverisal comments.

You can see a complete list of players eligible for this year’s ballot here, but here is who our writers would have given the nod to had they had a vote.

Ryan Heffernon - Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Derek Jeter, Andruw Jones, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker

With Jones, I am arranging my ballot based on merit and urgency. While Bonds, Clemens, and maybe even Rolen were better players, nobody needs votes more than Andruw Jones. From 1996-2006, only Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez had a better fWAR than Jones’ 61.0, capped off by a 6.0 2006 campaign. From 2007-2012, Jones was worth a combined 6.0 fWAR. Despite a sudden end to his production, there have been few elite defenders at premier positions that were as productive at the plate as Jones.

Similar to Jones, Rolen was overshadowed by a bloated Steroid Era, but still produced at an elite level. From 1996-2006, only five position players had a better fWAR than Rolen’s 54.4. Unlike Jones, Rolen stayed productive past his prime. He was one of the best two-way players in baseball history.

Hokius - Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Jason Giambi, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Larry Walker

Seth Jarman - Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Derek Jeter, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker

Schilling, Clemens, Bonds, Walker, Ramirez and Jeter are no-doubters in my mind. The others I think are interesting enough cases that they deserve to remain on the ballot. I feel like we struggle to appropriately value the careers of relievers (Wagner), all around players (Rolen) and players who excel (Jones) or flounder (Sheffield) defensively, so it will be interesting to see if they are ultimately inducted.

Josh Keiser - Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Todd Helton, Derek Jeter, Andruw Jones, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker

I don’t like Curt Schilling but his numbers are undeniable. Billy Wagner is sixth all-time in career saves (ahead of Hall of Famers Dennis Eckersley and Rollie Fingers). Scott Rolen? Yuck! How’d a Cardinals player end up on my ballot?!?!? I demand a recount!

Roger Clemens is controversial - yeah, yeah, PEDs. But even if you took out his years between ‘91-’02 when PEDs were deemed illegal and MLB wasn’t testing for them (meaning it was somewhat easy to cheat) he still has 78.6 career bWAR, which would be 43rd-most right be between Joe DiMaggio and Robin Yount. Bonds has the same argument (along with Schilling’s lack of likeability) where he’d have 72.9 bWAR knocking out ‘91-’02 tying him with HoFs Jim Thome and Arky Vaughan. Andruw Jones’ offensive numbers are great but his defensive metrics are stellar.

As far as fringe guys, Todd Helton has great numbers and solid glove at first base, but nothing stellar. Derek Jeter’s offensive numbers aren’t even great (they’re good) and his career defensive metrics are even worse, but he has the WAR totals and 5 rings to go with perhaps the most impressive accolade of his: he’s a Yankee that I didn’t hate.

Bradford Lee - Roger Clemens, Derek Jeter, Andy Petttite, Curt Schilling, Omar Vizquel, Larry Walker

David Lesky - Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Derek Jeter, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Larry Walker

While the logjam has lessened over the last few years, there are still quite a few deserving candidates, but this is the first year of my fake ballot where I wouldn’t have all 10 boxes checked. Bonds and Clemens are two of the best to ever do it, and while they were probably enhanced in some ways, they still performed and got to the numbers they did, and the Hall of Fame is a museum, not a trial. Personality aside, I’ve really come around on Curt Schiling over the last couple seasons and while he isn’t in the top tier of Hall of Famers, I’ve decided I think he’s still in the room. Scott Rolen was such a good all around player that I think he was sort of underestimated throughout his career, but really should be in to represent an under-represented group as a third baseman.

Derek Jeter is an obvious Hall of Famer, but he’s also extremely overrated at the same time, so that’s sort of fun. And then there’s Larry Walker, who is in his final year on the ballot and actually has some comparable numbers to Ken Griffey, Jr. in many ways. He’s dinged for Coors Field, but the guy wasn’t a Colorado creation and should absolutely be in and I’m hoping he does get the call. Finally, I did consider Manny Ramirez, Andruw Jones, Bobby Abreu and Billy Wagner. Ultimately, the suspensions for Ramirez turned me off. With Jones, he just wasn’t quite there. With Abreu, I would consider using one of my four remaining spots simply to help him get above 5 percent just so we can talk about him more, but also he isn’t a Hall of Famer to me. And finally Wagner is one of the best closers of all time. The strikeouts, the saves, everything. The guy was phenomenal and while I’m pretty sure I don’t think he belongs, he’s another who I’d love to talk about more and would like to keep him above that threshold to stay on the ballot. But ultimately, I would probably steer away from voting for that reason, which is why he wasn’t on my ballot and the other six were.

Shaun Newkirk - Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Derek Jeter, Andruw Jones, Andy Pettitte, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Sammy Sosa, Gary Sheffield, Larry Walker

Bonds is a no-brainer for me. Best hitter of all time who was a borderline Hall of Famer before he even started doing steroids. Clemens is either the best pitcher ever, or tied with Cy Young (as you can see I couldn’t care less about steroids during both Bonds and Clemens era). Jeter is overrated but still hall worthy. Andruw Jones was an elite centerfielder whose 8-9 year peak was as good as anyone outside of Mike Trout and at worst he was a league average hitter in a season (2001). Walker is a career 140 wRC+ hitter even after you factor in Coors Field and if you think the 1B/DH penalty is too stiff, he could be an 80+ career WAR player. Rolen was Andruw Jones but at 3rd base. Manny, Sheffield, Sosa, and Pettitte all make my list because I’m a big hall kind of guy and think all 10 spots should be used.

Max Rieper - Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Derek Jeter, Jeff Kent, Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling, Larry Walker

I’m a “small Hall” guy, but I’m glad to see Larry Walker finally get his recognition. I don’t get why Jeff Kent doesn’t get more support for the Hall, he was a fantastic offensive second baseman, hitting the most home runs out of any second baseman. If you took all second baseman since WWII with at least 5,000 PA, he’s fourth all-time in OPS+ among retired players, ahead of Hall of Famers Roberto Alomar and Craig Biggio. His WAR is not as high due to defense, but I’m a bit wary of defensive stats from before the modern analytics era. That’s also why I’m not totally convinced on Scott Rolen yet. Offensively, he was a very good player, but not unlike Bill Madlock or Ron Cey. He was a great defender, but I’m not sold that it should give him as big a boost that WAR gives him.

I generally like to just judge these players purely on what happened on the field, but Curt Schilling really tests that. I think what he did on the field was worthy of the honor, but the idea of giving him a platform at Cooperstown considering some of the truly awful things he has said makes my stomach turn. Still, I’m not ready to exclude guys just because I think they’re terrible people, at least not yet.

sterlingice - Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Todd Helton, Derek Jeter, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker

I really wanted to go all Bill Conlin and leave Derek Jeter off to keep him from 100%. However, the ballot is starting to get a little less congested now and I’m not sure there are 10 “slam dunk” candidates like there have been the last couple of years. Obviously, I’m no filing a “morality” ballot with Bonds, Clemens, and Ramirez on the list. Scott Rolen, Larry Walker, and Todd Helton are all above or within the couple of points for WAR and JAWS for their positions. And, no, I’m not going to knock a bunch of points off of Walker or Helton for playing home games in Coors. Schilling is an awful human but he was a good pitcher, above Hall of Fame standard, so that’s eight spots used up pretty quickly.

The last two spots, if I choose to use them, come down to Billy Wagner and a quartet of outfielders. Wagner has the highest K/9 in history of pitchers with 800 IP, added as much value as Hoffman in far fewer innings, but is hurt by his durability and lack of longevity. There’s Sammy Sosa who needs no help in the “fame” category albeit whose traditional metrics look good but advanced metrics fall short. Gary Sheffield had great batting numbers but is weighed down by historically awful defense that makes Manny look like a Gold Glove winner. Andruw Jones is the opposite: an amazing defender with competent stick, but he fell apart after his age 29 season. Lastly, Bobby Abreu was good all around but maybe not quite great at anything. I’m going with the two weird oulier cases for my ballot: Wagner is the best closer not active and not in the Hall and Sosa’s traditional numbers and 1998 story deserve enshrinement, even if neither is likely to get there.

Here is what our voting would look like.

Royals Review Hall of Fame voting

Ballot Ryan Heffernon Hokius Seth Jarman Josh Keiser Bradford Lee David Lesky Shaun Newkirk Max Rieper sterlingice
Ballot Ryan Heffernon Hokius Seth Jarman Josh Keiser Bradford Lee David Lesky Shaun Newkirk Max Rieper sterlingice
Barry Bonds X X X X X X X X
Roger Clemens X X X X X X X X X
Jason Giambi X
Todd Helton X X
Derek Jeter X X X X X X X X X
Andruw Jones X X X X
Jeff Kent X
Andy Pettitte X X X
Manny Ramirez X X X X X X
Scott Rolen X X X X X X X
Curt Schilling X X X X X X X X
Gary Sheffield X X X
Sammy Sosa X X X
Omar Vizquel X
Billy Wagner X X X
Larry Walker X X X X X X X X X

With inductees needing to be on 75 percent of ballots, it looks like we would have inducted six new members into the Hall of Fame - Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, and Scott Rolen.

Royals Review Hall of Fame voting

Ballot Ballots Listed Percentage
Ballot Ballots Listed Percentage
Roger Clemens 9 100.0%
Derek Jeter 9 100.0%
Larry Walker 9 100.0%
Barry Bonds 8 88.9%
Curt Schilling 8 88.9%
Scott Rolen 7 77.8%
Manny Ramirez 6 66.7%
Andruw Jones 4 44.4%
Andy Pettitte 3 33.3%
Gary Sheffield 3 33.3%
Sammy Sosa 3 33.3%
Billy Wagner 3 33.3%
Todd Helton 2 22.2%
Jason Giambi 1 11.1%
Jeff Kent 1 11.1%
Omar Vizquel 1 11.1%

Who would be on your ballot?