Wednesday, November 23, 2016

2017 HOF Ballot Part 1

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315Jeff Bagwell71.6%
307Tim Raines69.8%
296Trevor Hoffman67.3%
230Curt Schilling52.3%
199Roger Clemens45.2%
195Barry Bonds44.3%
191Edgar Martinez43.4%
189Mike Mussina43.0%
150Lee Smith34.1%
92Fred McGriff20.9%
73Jeff Kent16.6%
68Larry Walker15.5%
51Gary Sheffield11.6%
46Billy Wagner10.5%
31Sammy Sosa7.0%

Above you have the players still eligible for the Hall of Fame. These guys have struck out on past voting, with the percentage they got during last year's vote.

In 2017 I expect Bagwell, Raines and Hoffman to get over the 75% hump, though I don't expect any of them to go crazy and reach, say, 95%. Bagwell has those whispers of PEDS use, but now that Piazza is in, this shouldn't be a problem. Piazza's whispers were louder, though one look at Bagwell in his rookie year, and then him looking like King Kong in later years...well, whatever. As I've said before, the writers can't moralize when they vote, as many of them would fail morality tests of their own. And Bagwell has never been accused by MLB for using PEDs. So he gets a pass with me. One of the best sluggers, defenders and taker of a walk that you're likely to ever see.

Key stats: Career .408 on-base %; 449 homers and 1529 RBIs; .540 slugging %; .948 OPS; 128 HBP. Top-50 career in every positive offensive stat, and JAWS says he's the 6th-best 1B ever. 'nuff said.

Raines, as I've written before, was overshadowed by Rickey Henderson his entire career, and there was that vial of crack cocaine that shattered in his back pocket in a slide at home, all caught on national television. Oops. (I'm pretty sure crack was on MLB's banned drug list at the time.) But he's worthy of the HOF, and would've been in already had he not played at the same time as Rickey.

I'm not crazy about closers making the HOF, but Hoffman does have over 600 saves. Not too many closers deserve it. Mariano will in a few years, and maybe the writers are waiting to put him in first. He deserves it more than Hoffmann, as did the Eck. I'm not convinced of Hoffman's dominance, exactly, but he should get in for career value at the position. Lee Smith should not, because Hoffman dominated more than Lee Smith ever could. I never felt Hoffman was elite during his entire career.

Clemens and Bonds are this generation's (and maybe all-time's) kings at their positions, and should eventually get in. I'd rather see that sooner than later. Neither has been accused by MLB as having used PEDS, though of course both did. I'll fall back again on my stance that writers should not moralize. They were the peak value and career value greats, and should be in, although they were also both greatly disliked by ballplayers and writers while they played. But look at the numbers.

Mussina and Schilling both deserve to be in, as well. I have played that tune before and won't again now. They're both all-time great pitchers and are ranked 28th and 27th by JAWS. I'd take Schilling over Mussina anyday. The Moose might be a Veterans Committee (or whatever it's called now) pick.

The rest are a no-go, even Sosa. Caveat there, as he and McGwire straight-up saved baseball in the mid-nineties and are now treated as lepers. But baseball bureaucrats have the right to be hypocrites.

Next up: New players on the 2017 HOF ballot.

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