Another batch of votes has come into Ryan Thibodaux’s tracker, so it’s time for a check on the status of the 2017 Hall of Fame Ballot. As usual, I’m going to break this down into positives and negatives.
- More votes for Moose: When we last checked in, Mike Mussina had flipped three 2016 no voters to yes, while losing one yes vote to the other side, for a net total of +2. He’s now flipped eight no voters to yes, while losing three voters to the other side, for a net total of +5. Mussina is currently sitting at 63%, but that total will drop when more votes get collected (early voters tend to use most of the 10 spots on their ballots and have a more encompassing view of the HOF)
- The new kids: While converting old voters is the quickest way to 75%, don’t overlook the importance of first-time voters being in your corner. In the small picture, they may only represent a small fraction of the voting body, but big picture, their votes are illuminating. We’ve long-since held that Mussina’s strong showing in advanced stats would bode well for him with newer voters who were raised on those stats. So far, that’s proven to be true. Last year, Mussina appeared on the ballots of 9 of 10 first-time voters; this year he’s 2-for-2. Contrast that with Trevor Hoffman, who got just 5-of-10 first-time voters last season, and is 1-for-2 today. That’s a trend he’s going to need to reverse.
- Tim Raines is +9 in his vote total—and 2-for-2 with new voters and looks like a good bet for induction.
- The same is true of Jeff Bagwell, who is at 90% in the early voting.
- Ivan Rodriguez is also above the threshold at this point. He’s sitting at 81%.
- Hoffman still not moving: Ryan Thibodaux estimates Trevor Hoffman still needs to gain a net of 38 voters in order to get elected. That’s why it’s so dispiriting that, through 55 ballots, he’s just +2 and at only 76%. Taking a look at the partial ballots at the bottom of the tracker illustrates my frustration on this point. Seeing that Larry Stone is deciding between Hoffman and Larry Walker just makes me sigh. Look, I’d vote for Larry Walker, and I would not vote for Hoffman. But if you are the type of voter who would consider a closer, and you have more players than spots available, a vote for Hoffman is going to do a lot more good, long-term than a vote for Walker. Trevor Hoffman’s votes needed to be cleared off the table to help Mussina (and Edgar and Walker and Schilling all the other worthy players getting squeezed by the 10-man limit)
- Ballots feeling the squeeze: If ballots with at least nine votes on them were a player, they’d have a plaque in Cooperstown. 41 of the 52 ballots have either nine or 10 names on it. We’ll keep saying it until someone listens: the 10-man ballot limit is arbitrary and stupid. Get rid of it.
Neutral (for now)
Bonds and Clemens making a move: This is an interesting development. Ryan and I talked about this in our last post, and speculated that the newfound enthusiasm for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens—brought on in part by Bud Selig’s election into the Hall—would hurt Mussina by taking up more space on ballots while still not pushing them over 75%. It’s still early in the process, but last season, Bonds and Clemens were a +14 among returning voters. This year, Bonds (69%) is already +5, and Clemens (69%) is +6. Both are 2-for-2 with new voters. Even better, all five of those voters who added Bonds and Clemens also stuck with Mussina. So far the new found enthusiasm for them is not hurting Mussina, but it’s still early. We’ll be back next week when more votes come in.