Like it or not, Hall of Fame voting season is here, and with it comes the constant bickering about, and internet trolling of, public ballots. In a world full of hot takes, Birds Watcher is here to provide you the most correct Hall of Fame ballot in 2018
I do this to myself at this time every year. I say to myself, “Tim, don’t get yourself worked up over these Hall of Fame ballots, it’s not worth it”. And every year, the ballots come in and some of them are so bad, I can’t help but get frustrated about them. Omar Vizquel? Manny Ramirez over Barry Bonds? Go away. So today at Birds Watcher, we’re analyzing the current Hall of Fame ballot and building the correct one.
Keep in mind, this isn’t intended to put other writers on blast; they’re allowed to be wrong and have bad opinions. I just want to evaluate the cases of the eligible players and determine who belongs in the Hall of Fame, and who doesn’t. Then we’ll whittle the list down to the 10 most deserving names and submit, to you the reader, the true 2018 Hall of Fame ballot.
First we need to figure out which players are deserving of a vote
Let’s see the list of returning players:
Barry Bonds (7th year on ballot), Roger Clemens (7th), Andruw Jones (2nd), Jeff Kent (6th), Edgar Martinez (10th, final), Fred McGriff (10th, final), Mike Mussina (6th), Manny Ramirez (3rd), Scott Rolen (2nd), Curt Schilling (7th), Gary Sheffield (5th), Sammy Sosa (7th), Omar Vizquel (2nd), Billy Wagner (4th), and Larry Walker (9th).
And the newcomers:
Rick Ankiel, Jason Bay, Lance Berkman, Freddy Garcia, Jon Garland, Roy Halladay, Travis Hafner, Todd Helton, Ted Lilly, Derek Lowe, Darren Oliver, Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitte, Juan Pierre, Placido Polanco, Mariano Rivera, Miguel Tejada, Vernon Wells, Kevin Youkilis and Michael Young.
We can slash the newcomers down considerably, right off the bat. Serious contenders, and players who need further consideration are Berkman, Halladay, Helton, Oswalt, Pettitte, Rivera, and Tejada.
Okay, we’re down to 22 names between the first-time eligible guys and the returnees. Two things before we do it: one, I’m more big-hall than small-hall and two, steroids don’t make you a good baseball player. Bring on the hate mail.
PPS: If you aren’t sure about OPS+, it’s on-base percentage plus slugging (OPS), normalized for external factors, like ballparks (ex. Coors), and scaled where 100 is average. 120 = 20% better than average, 80 = 20% worse. Also, I tend to prefer bWAR for pitchers because it’s based on ERA rather than FIP, and for consistency, I’m using it for hitters as well.