I have done you, dear reader, a grave disservice in not inundating you Hall of Fame coverage. I cannot make up for this in a single post, but I will cover the newcomers for 2016. Perhaps that will be enough?
According to Ryan Theriot’s brilliant HOF tracker, things are looking good for the obvious choices.
As for the newcomers, here are my predictions for this new class:
Garret Anderson: The new Joe Carter, maybe? Anderson piled up the RBIs but has little else to recommend him. There was a brief window when he was underrated, then everybody way, way overcompensated. Off the ballot.
Brad Ausmus: Pretty good defensively, but an absolute zero with the bat. If you’re not a shortstop, you’d better have some kind of offensive contributions to make the Hall. Off the ballot.
Luis Castillo: A fun player, and I have a soft spot in my heart for switch hitters, but he was never anything special. Off the ballot.
David Eckstein: If there was a scrappiness Hall of Fame, he would be the first inductee, after which there would be no other inductees. (Maybe Darin Erstad.) Off the ballot.
Jim Edmonds: An interesting player! Finally. Edmonds was a very good center fielder who provided value with the bat. He barely missed a couple of round numbers (400 homers and 2000 hits). I don’t think he is Hall of Fame material, but I do think he’ll stay on the ballot for a couple of years, and he could back into the HOF on the Veterans Committee. Not elected, but on the ballot for 2017.
Troy Glaus: A slugging third baseman, he was competent with the glove, but not good enough to stay on the ballot. Off the ballot.
Ken Griffey Jr.: One of the finest baseball players in history, especially at CF, there is very little chance he is not elected. Elected on first ballot.
Mark Grudzielanek: If you thought to yourself, “I want a candidate like David Eckstein, but with a harder name to spell,” here is your man! Eckstein was a “better” hitter, with one year of mediocre production, but Grudz was a better fielder. Off the ballot.
Mike Hampton: Hampton’s career would have been much better had he never gone to Colorado. Not good enough to get into the HOF, but better. Off the ballot.
Trevor Hoffman: All-time saves leader hasn’t counted for much up to this point (Hi, Lee Smith!), but Hoffman was a legitimately good pitcher even with a light workload. The Hall, up to this point, has not been kind to closers. Hoffman is a gateway pitcher; let him in, and you’ll have to give serious consideration to a bunch of other relievers. That’s not “bad,” per se, but it isn’t good either. Not elected, but on the ballot for 2017.
Jason Kendall: Good offensive production, surprisingly good on the basepaths, decent with the glove. His injuries cost him time, and he probably hung on too long. The extra seasons hurt his rate stats, but didn’t give him enough time for the counting stats. Off the ballot.
Mike Lowell: Useful, and put together some very good seasons, but overall not much above average with the bat and nigh useless with the glove. Off the ballot.
Mike Sweeney: Mark Grace without the defense. Off the ballot.
Billy Wagner: Much more dominant than Hoffman, but doesn’t have the save numbers. If Hoffman is elected, Wagner will be an easier sell. If only one of the two relievers is elected, it’ll be Hoffman. Not elected, but on the ballot for 2017.
Randy Winn: The very definition of league average bat. Defense ranged from acceptable to atrocious. Off the ballot.
My ballot, if I had a vote, would be the following. Bonds, Clemens, Griffey, Piazza, Raines, and Bagwell are all easy picks. Alan Trammell deserves a spot in the Hall, even if I think he’ll fall off the ballot (which he almost certainly will.) I’d also add Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina, which leaves me with one spot. Part of me wants to give a shout out to Jim Edmonds, but there are lots of other good candidates. I suppose I would pick Schilling with my last ballot spot, even though Mussina is clearly better.
Predictions: Griffey is a shoo-in. Piazza should have an easy time getting in this year, and is named on 86.5% of all public ballots so far. I think one of Raines or Bagwell makes it, probably Raines, with an outside shot of both making it. Voters will continue to snub Clemens and Bonds because it gives them a sense of superiority over arguably the best pitcher and batter of all time, but I think they’ll break 50% this year. Trammell might break 40%, but probably won’t have much of a shot of making it.
See you Wednesday!