2022 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot Update
While the final results of the 2022 Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame Ballot won’t be announced until Jan. 25 on MLB Network, now is a good time to identify some important trends in the vote so far. what we approached the announcement.
Will Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and/or Curt Schilling be elected in their final year of eligibility for the Writers’ Ballot? How will major newcomers to the ballot, like David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez, fare in their first year of eligibility? Which candidates could make significant gains with enough time on the ballot to potentially cross the 75% threshold required for an election someday? And which candidates could be completely eliminated if they do not reach at least five percent?
Using data from Ryan Thibodaux’s Baseball Hall of Fame Tracker, we’ll take a look at the state of things with just over a week to go before the announcement. Sunday evening at 7 p.m. ET, the tracker included 170 ballots – or about 43.4% of the estimated total ballots.
Let’s take a look at the notable polling trends:
That’s the big question. It looks like Red Sox legend David Ortiz has the best chance of being elected in Cooperstown, based on the current situation – he’s received 83.5% of the known votes so far, but that doesn’t guarantee that it will be greater than 75%. when all the ballots are counted. Private ballots that aren’t submitted to Thibodaux’s tracker tend to cause the number to drop in the tracker, especially for players who have been hooked up to performance-enhancing drugs (Ortiz reportedly failed a PED test in 2003, although there were no penalties in place at the time and the results were to remain confidential).
“The question that remains for Ortiz is whether his decline from what the Tracker shows on the day of the announcement resembles what we’ve seen from Bonds and Clemens (they’ve fallen more than 11% on the year last) or less (Andruw Jones, for example, fell 5.1 percent, while Todd Helton only fell 2.4 percent),” Thibodaux said. “If public voters and post-results private voters treat Ortiz the way they treat Bonds and Clemens, Ortiz is likely to fall below 75%. If they treat him with more charity like they tend to most of the other nominees, so he has a real chance of being a Hall of Famer in the first round.”
Ortiz certainly has the statistical credentials to earn the election — he’s thrown 541 homers, was a 10-time All-Star, three-time World Series champion and one of the most decisive hitters in postseason history, winning the American League Championship in 2004. Series MVP award and 2013 World Series MVP award. The question is how much will the PED connection affect his vote totals when all will be said and done?
Will Bonds, Clemens and/or Schilling be elected in their final year?
Four controversial names are on the writers’ ballot for the last time this year – Bonds, Clemens, Schilling and Sammy Sosa, whose vote totals in previous years have suffered due to PED connections. Sosa has never won more than 17% of the vote, so it’s safe to say he won’t be elected this year. Schilling’s chances don’t look great either – while he knocked on the door of the venue last year garnering 71.1% of the vote, he is currently trailing at 60%, a steep drop that may be the result of voters refusing to vote for him after offensive comments he has made in recent years, including on social media.
Bond and Clemens’ vote totals over the years have practically mirrored each other. Last year, they reached 61.8% and 61.6% respectively. So far this year, Bonds – who has won a record seven MVP awards and is the all-time home run leader (762) – trails at 77.1%, and Clemens – who has amassed 4,672 strikeouts and won a record seven Cy Young Awards – is at 75.9%. If both experience similar declines from public to private ballots as in the past, it doesn’t look like either would get elected.
“Their final percentage should improve further this year due to voter turnover and a small number of voters going from ‘No’ to ‘Yes’ on them (they are net +2 so far) “, said Thibodaux. “But we don’t yet see evidence that there will be enough change of heart or turnover in the electorate to make a sufficient difference.
“The wildcard for Bonds and Clemens is that since they historically do so poorly among private voters, it also means they have the potential to garner more votes there than among the early public voters who already overwhelmingly support them. If the private voters come closer to the public voters this year, then Bonds and Clemens still have a chance.”
Another notable candidate linked to PED use during his career, Alex Rodriguez, is making his Hall of Fame ballot debut this year – trailing at 40.6%.
Who will be the big winners this year?
Four candidates appear to be making significant gains on this ballot – Scott Rolen, Todd Helton, Billy Wagner and Andruw Jones.
Rolen, a seven-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove Award winner at third base, got 12 votes from returning voters over the past year, putting his vote percentage at 68.8% — he garnered 52 .9% of the vote in 2021.
Helton, a five-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove Award winner at first base for the Rockies, got 11 votes among returning voters and sits at 56.5% — he got 44.9% a year last.
Wagner, a seven-time All-Star who has saved 422 games, gained nine votes from returning voters — after getting 46.4% of the vote in 21, he trails at 47.6%.
Jones, a 10-time Gold Glove Award winner in center field who hit 434 home runs, is +6 among returning voters, putting him at 48.2% after hitting 33.9% last year.
Who could fall completely on the ballot?
Candidates at risk of not meeting the 5% threshold required to remain on the ballot are Mark Buehrle (tracked at 5.3% in his second year of eligibility), Ryan Howard (at 1.8% in his freshman year), Tim Hudson (at 2.9% in his second year), Torii Hunter (1.8% in his second year), Tim Lincecum (2.9% in his first year), Joe Nathan (2. 4% in the first year), Jonathan Papelbon (0.6% in its first year) and Mark Teixeira (at 0.6% in its first year).
Particularly notable names here, given their career stats, are Nathan, Papelbon and Teixeira. Nathan has made 377 career saves to go along with a 2.87 ERA in 16 seasons. Papelbon, who secured the 2007 World Series Final for the Red Sox, posted a 2.44 ERA with 368 saves over a 12-year career.
Teixeira hit 408 homers, won the Gold Glove Award at first base five times, and won a World Series ring with the Yankees in 2009. His career 50.6 WAR (Baseball Reference) is 6.7 more than Gil Hodges, the great Dodgers first baseman. who was recently elected to the Hall of Fame by the Golden Days Era committee.