It’s Monday, so it’s time for another ballot check in.

Note: All numbers were accurate as of 9 a.m. EST on Dec 18th

Ryan Thibodaux’s Tracker now has 58 ballots, giving us a decent chunk of information. So let’s get into it, interview style.

So, Mike Mussina is at 69%! That’s a huge jump from last year. That’s awesome, right?
Well…

Wait, what?
Remember, as we’ve said, for returning players, the number to pay attention to is the number of flipped voters, and the success rate among first-timers. Ryan and I are college professors and this is what we would call a non-representative sample. The current 58 voters do not accurately represent the electorate as a whole. Voters who vote early and make their ballots public, tend to be those who vote a full ballot and are comfortable with sabermetrics.

And those flipped and first-timer numbers are bad for him?
They’re not “bad” exactly. But it might be fair to call them disappointing. Right now, he’s +2 among returning voters. Which is okay, but look at some of the other players: Guerrero is +8, and so is Edgar Martinez. Larry Walker is a staggering +11. Curt Schilling is +5. For some reason, Mussina hasn’t been as successful at flipping voters as other guys.

Likewise, he’s just 2-for-4 among first-time voters. Now, that’s the epitome of a small sample, but last year, he was 12-for-15, and the year before that he was 9-for-10. So he’s underperforming his historical trends.

So his momentum has stalled?
I wouldn’t go that far. He’s still moving in the right direction. Let’s just say I’d like to see more of that movement.

Ugh. Alright, let’s move on before I get sad. How are we looking on the ballot clearing front?
That’s pretty encouraging actually. With Thome at 98.2% and Jones at 96.5%, two of the three newcomers are going to leave the ballot right away. As I mentioned, Vlad is already +8 among returning voters, and he’s 4-for-4 among first-timers. Since he only missed by 15 votes last year, he’s a fairly safe bet. It appears that many voters who didn’t consider him a first ballot guy, are now warming up to him in his second year after seeing the considerable support in his first go around.

Hoffman is a net 0 among returning voters, but he’s 4-for-4 with first-time voters, after going just 9-for-15 last season. It’s going to be close, but only missed by 4 votes last year. Considering that only 26% of the electorate can flip to a yes on Hoffman, it’s not shocking that he hasn’t flipped that many votes yet.

Edgar Martinez is our wild card.

On one hand, falling 73 votes short of election is a massive hill to overcome. But, he led all players with a +48 last season, and he’s already a +8 this year, despite a pretty pro-Edgar group of voters—meaning fewer chances to flip—I remain convinced that he’s going to sneak in, giving us a five-man class, and a bit of breathing room next year.

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