The Baseball Writers of America will announce their Hall of Fame selections next week to join manager Jim Leyland for induction into Cooperstown this summer. Among the first-time candidates on the ballot include Adrián Beltré, Joe Mauer, Chaes Utley, and David Wright. The ballot also features many holdovers, such as Gary Sheffield, who is in his final year on the ballot, and Todd Helton, who received 72.2 percent of the vote last year. Former Royals outfielder Carlos Beltrán received 46.5 percent of the vote last year. You can see this year’s Hall of Fame ballot at Baseball Reference, with their career stats.
None of our writers have an official vote, but who would they have selected if they did?
Carlos Beltrán, Adrián Beltré, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Joe Mauer, Gary Sheffield, Billy Wagner, David Wright
Bobby Abreu, Carlos Beltrán, Adrián Beltré, Todd Helton, Billy Wagner
Beltré is a no brainer. The others all have some warts/question marks but despite those questions, they were all great players. There were four others right on the cusp and my internal debate was: are they Hall of Famers or Hall of very good?
Carlos Beltrán, Adrián Beltré, Todd Helton, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Francisco Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield
Carlos Beltrán, Adrián Beltré, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Joe Mauer, Alex Rodriguez
I’m a smaller hall guy, but I can see the case for up to ten players on this year’s ballot. Of the new guys - I think Beltré and Mauer are slam dunk cases. Chase Utley was a really tough call - his value was pretty much just in ten seasons, but I also think second basemen are underrepresented and he was pretty terrific, so I could be persuaded on him. I’m very open to Bobby Abreu, but I’m convinced on him yet. I finally have Helton on after leaving him off for many years. I think it was hard for me to get over the Coors Effect, but even if you adjust for that, he had a remarkable eight-year run, and was still pretty good after that.
I have been very back-and-forth on the PED effect over the years, previously voting for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez, and Alex Rodriguez. I think about guys that were on Hall of Fame tracks that declined abruptly in their 30s - Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, David Wright, Nomar Garciaparra - how is it fair to penalize them for a decline yet reward a guy who kept hitting in his 30s who has been tainted by PEDs? I still think guys like Bonds, Clemens, and Rodriguez would have been in had they retired at age 30 - I don’t find their use disqualifying. But guys like Ramirez and Sheffield, who had connections to BALCO who were more productive in their 30s than in their 20s are off my ballot.
Carlos Beltrán, Adrián Beltré, Todd Helton, Joe Mauer, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Chase Utley, Billy Wagner
Clearly, I am okay with the steroid users getting in. I find a Hall of Fame without Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens to be a little ridiculous. They are inner circle level talents, and would have been with or without steroids. I believe the hall curators can handle the steroid controversy stuff along side their plaques in a way that allows visitors to come to their own conclusions.
Beltran deserves it, and I loved watching him play. Also, Colorado needs some love. Yes, Helton’s statistics are inflated, but they are still great even after adjusting. His road wRC+ for his career is still 121.
Adrián Beltré, Todd Helton, Joe Mauer, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Chase Utley, Billy Wagner
My HOF ballot has two categories this year: “easy” and “hard”. Adrián Beltré isn’t an inner circle guy, but he’s a no doubter. I’ve voted for both Todd Helton and Billy Wagner in the past and you can see my justifications there. Max tries to limit even us windy ones to two paragraphs and I went back and scrapped the one that was just about PEDs for ARod and Manny. It’s just really frustrating that during one of the best celebrations of baseball, we waste so much time talking about this nonsense and in a very hypocritical way.
As for the more difficult choices, I still can’t get past Andruw Jones’s fall after age 30. Though maybe I should re-examine that in light of my support of Dale Murphy. However, part of my support of Murphy was because the 80s were so under-represented. Similarly, Carlos Beltran is really tough for me. At Fangraphs, Jay Jaffe makes the strongest case by comparing him to Andre Dawson. However, that feels like that exercise of picking on past voter transgressions to make your point and whistles past Dawson playing his most significant games in the under-represented 80s. I left him off the list but may look back at this in the future with regret.
Joe Mauer and Chase Utley are first ballot players at premium positions. If you put Mauer’s numbers at first base, where he played over 500 games, he wouldn’t get a look, but he still played the majority of his games at catcher and easily deserves to be in. I voted for Jeff Kent for a number of years as second base and Utley is really similar - less power, much better fielding, but less longevity and fewer counting stats. That last one is what makes it really tough for me but I reluctantly included him.
Bobby Abreu, Carlos Beltrán, Adrián Beltré, Mark Buehrle, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Joe Mauer, Francisco Rodríguez, Chase Utley, Billy Wagner