The results of the BBWAA 2023 portion of Baseball Hall of Fame voting have been revealed andhaving received 76.3 percent of the votes. . Players needed 75 percent of the vote to make it and at least five percent of the vote to stay on the ballot for the next year, up to 10 years.
Let’s dive into the biggest takeaways from our Hall of Fame season.
1. This is actually a two-man class
First of all,. There will be a Hall of Fame ceremony honoring two players next summer. McGriff is 59, while Rolen is 47. They both played for a handful of teams and it should be a fun weekend event.
2. Rolen’s case can give hope
In 2018, in a much more crowded vote, Rolen garnered just 10.2 percent of the vote. But as the ballot has cleared over the years with Hall of Famers being inducted and big-name players dropping without induction, places on voters’ ballots for Rolen have been cleared. There was also a flurry of support from various corners of the internet, pointing out that Rolen’s defense deserved a lot more credit and that showed up in stats like WAR.
Rolen’s move from 10.2 percent of the vote to making it through the writers’ vote was the largest ever. It’s a record that might not last long, as there are some players we’ll discuss below doing a similar move to Rolen.
Certainly, big moves after rather small beginnings is a theme with several of the prominent candidates on this ballot.
3. Helton right on the precipice
What, it’s incredibly rare for players to get above 62 percent with time to spare on the ballot and not be voted out soon after, either in one or two more rounds of voting. Rolen surpassed that mark last year and did it this time. Next up, Todd Helton.
Helton, in his fifth year, scored 72.2 percent. It would be unprecedented for a player to reach that level of voting in his fifth year and not be inducted into the Hall.
Using the available data, zero public ballots had 10 votes that did not include Helton. Meaning, even with players like Adrian Beltre and Joe Mauer on the ballot next year, the vast majority of voters voted for Helton or have spots available to add him. There will be new voters. Some voters expire due to no longer covering the game. Some voters reconsider their stance on players once they get that close to the 75 percent score.
For all those reasons, Helton will almost certainly be voted out next year.
4. Beltrán has hope
Carlos Beltrán has a Hall of Fame statistical dossier, but since his retirement, the sign-stealing scandal has clouded his Hall of Fame chances ().
The good news here for Beltrán is that he starts with a pretty decent number: 46.5 percent of the vote on his first try.
It’s not the best comparison for connecting PED-connected players, but it’s the best we’ve got. Players who have been knocked out of the Hall of Fame for being tied to PEDs started in their mid-30s on percentage or lower. Most of them were shorter, actually, it was really just Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds in the mid-30s.
With Beltrán starting here, he’s already in a much better position. Anecdotally, I’ve also read several columns by prominent writers who said they plan to reconsider in the next few years after not voting for Beltran here his first time on the ballot. And some people actually regard the “first induction into the Hall of Fame” as a sacred honor.
Overall, I think Beltrán’s results are net positive. We’ll see how far it goes next time, without the “first ballot” issue being attached and possibly some of the aforementioned writers reconsidering their case, however without making sweeping statements.
5. A-Rod has less hope
The Alex Rodriguez Hall of Fame case is. We all already knew. Before last year’s vote, we couldn’t be sure exactly how voting for him would start. This was his second round on the ballot and it was his first without Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
Bonds might be the best roadmap here between PED connections and all-time great numbers for a position player, though Bonds was never suspended under MLB’s JDA and A-Rod received one of the biggest punishments ever. the history. Bonds started in the mid-30s and topped 66 percent in his senior year. The voting body will continue to evolve into a newer mindset, but there are future voters who would have voted for Bonds and won’t go with A-Rod because of the suspension.
Well, A-Rod got 34.3 percent of the vote last year and 35.7 percent this time.
That’s probably within the stagnation range, right? I know I often bring up things about the changing voting body, evolving opinions and things like that, but it barely budged.
It just seems to be stuck though things could change.
6. Wagner, Jones in good shape now
Billy Wagner started 2016 with around 10 percent of the vote (take note of the Rolen section above). Through four rounds, he was just 16.7 percent, but now he’s on the move.
Wagner still has two ballots left and a real shot at going home. It could even happen next year. He is very close now.
Not that close, but moving within range, however, is Andruw Jones. He started out having to break a sweat to stay above five percent. He polled just 7.5 percent on his second ballot, but then began to gain some traction.
This was Jones’ sixth time on the ballot, so he has four more voting cycles to get less than 20 percent. If so, he would break Rolen’s record with ease.
Still, with both players, but particularly with Jones, since he’s further away: there’s always the danger of stalling. That is, a player can reach a certain percentage and then stagnate. It varies from player to player because, well, every Hall of Fame case is unique and they’re all being voted on by an ever-changing electorate.
Overall, though, things are looking up for Wagner and it really looks like Jones has the drive to put him in eventually. Someone who plateaued in recent years and possibly had a great night was an all-time great bat shaker.
7. Sheffield in range?
This was Gary Sheffield’s ninth time on the ballot. He made big gains in 2019-21, going from 13.6 percent to 40.6 percent, but was back at exactly 40.6 percent in 2022. It seemed like maybe all hope was lost. Instead, he moved into the possibly overused but still fun “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” range.
Sheffield got 55 per cent of the vote this year.
Maybe there will be a good coup in the last year? Kent got a boost of over 13 per cent, although that wouldn’t be enough. One of the biggest jumps on the final single-year ballot ever was Larry Walker, who jumped from 54.6 percent in his ninth year to 76.6 to participate in his last attempt.
If Sheffield can make such gains with the voting body next year, he’ll go in. That is a very high hill to climb, obviously, but it is possible.
8. Kent falls off the ballot
Jeff Kent was the only player on this ballot for the 10th time. As such, it was the proverbial swan song of his. We knew he wasn’t going to get close, but he set a new high with 46.5 percent of the vote, more than 10 percentage points above his previous high of 32.7 percent. It’s a feather in the cap for him to get nearly 50 percent of the vote while staying on the ballot for a decade. It’s hard to get on the ballot and Kent can rest easy knowing he obviously left a mark on baseball history.
Also, my hunch is(like McGriff), so this could be a blessing in disguise. I bet he’ll be in the Hall within the next decade.
9. Possible reason for optimism?
The following players are further down the ballot, but have a chance to catch lightning in a bottle like Rolen did (and similarly to how Helton, Jones, and maybe Sheffield and Wagner seem to be).
- Andy Pettitte jumped from 10.7 to 17 percent. This is his fifth year on the ballot, so he’ll need some bigger leaps, but it’s a starting point.
- Bobby Abreu went from 8.6 to 15.4 percent in his fourth year. It’s a very nice shot.
- Jimmy Rollins went from 9.4 to 12.9 percent. In fact, he’s very modest in terms of gains and vote share, but it’s only his second ballot and Chase Utley is coming soon. It’s always possible that when Utley and Rollins are on the ballot together, there’s a mutual push to vote for the double play combo. It didn’t work out for Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell, but times are changing.
- Mark Buehrle went from 5.8 to 10.8 percent. I plunged into recently and maybe more will continue to come around him.
- This was the ballot debut of Francisco “K-Rod” Rodríguez. He started with 10.8 percent of the vote. While Rolen’s entry brings hope to all players, Wagner’s move is particularly telling with K-Rod and other elite closers moving forward. It’s a lot harder for closers to make it to the Hall, but Wagner’s entry next year could help clear the way for K-Rod to gain momentum.
10. No Man’s Land
Now let’s move on to the players who don’t seem to have a chance at admission even though they’re still on the ballot.
- Manny Ramirez actually went from 28.9 percent to 33.2 percent, but he’s still not even halfway there and has only three ballots left. I just can’t see enough room for improvement there.
- Omar Vizquel’s descent continues. From 52.6 in 2020 to 49.1 to 23.9 and now to 19.5 percent in his sixth attempt. There is a better chance of him falling off the ballot before his 10 years are up than of turning things around and winning the consecration.
- Torii Hunter is up from 5.3 to 6.9 percent, but is still awfully close to five percent after a very small gain in his third year. She probably needs to rally more than 10 percent next year to have any hope, but I guess this is all a formality.
11. five percent
The following players failed to reach five percent of the vote, meaning they will be removed from the ballot in the future: Bronson Arroyo, RA Dickey, John Lackey, Mike Napoli, Houston Street, Matt Cain, Jacoby Ellsbury, Andre Ethier , JJ Hardy, Jhonny Peralta, Jered Weaver and Jayson Werth. Notably, these were all newbies. Each remnant got at least five percent of the vote.