It’s that time of year again. The Baseball Hall of Fame ballots are out, and over the next six weeks, we’re going to get a constant stream of updates on players. With that in mind, it’s time to take our own look at the 2018 ballot, and offer some predictions. We’re going to break this into three parts, for readability’s sake. The first part? A look at the returning players from the 2017 ballot.
Trevor Hoffman: This will be quick. Hoffman earned 74% of the vote last season and missed induction by just five ballots. Even with his so-so results among 1st-time voters last year (60%), it would be completely unprecedented for him to not easily get elected this year. Patrick’s call: In
Vladimir Guerrero: I wasn’t sure how he would do last year, because his advanced statistics (60 WAR) did not match up with his traditional stats (.318 average, lots of MVP love from writers). In fact, I thought he might become the next Jack Morris, caught in between the traditionalists and the saber-friendly writers. Turns out, I was wrong. Guerrero debuted with 71.7% of the vote, and with 66.7% of the vote among first-timers, is another easy call. Patrick’s call: In
Edgar Martinez: Holy cow. Have you guys seen what has happened with Edgar over the past two seasons? A guy whose candidacy looked dead in the water has shot up from 27% to 58.6% in two ballots. That’s an absurd rate of increase. It also raises the distinct possibility he could get into the Hall this year. A jump of 16.4 percentage points—equal to what he got in 2016, gets him right to 75%. He was 73.3% among first-time voters last year, another good trend. He’s going to be this year’s Hoffman and Pudge, the guy whose every vote we’re going to follow. Patrick’s call: In. Fortune favors the bold.
Curt Schilling: I don’t know. His 45% represented a drop from the 52.5% he had in 2016. But, Ryan’s tracker suggests that some of those drops weren’t permanent, but simply people moving him to the back of the line with more than 10 people in it. He won’t get in this year, but he’s unlikely to drop more voters, and he was 80% among first-timers. I think he’ll rebound to the mid 50s, but he’s got a long way to go. Patrick’s call: Out.
Bonds/Clemens: Ryan and I went back and forth on if Bud Selig’s election was a good or bad thing for these two. Ultimately, it seemed to help, as both crept up about nine percentage points last year, and sit at 53.8 and 54.1 percent, respectively. Both did fantastic with first-year voters as well, earning 86.7% of the vote from that group. I suspect we’ll continue to see a climb this year, perhaps into the low 60s. But there’s still work to be done. Patrick’s call: Out.