Looking Ahead to 2023 HoF Ballot

The 2022 BBWAA HoF vote, of course, was announced this past week. David Ortiz was elected. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, and Sammy Sosa all ran out of eligibility. Only Alex Rodriguez and Jimmy Rollins received enough votes among the first year eligible players to remain on the ballot for a second year. As a result only 14 holdover names will be on the 2023 ballot. As for next year’s “rookies,” only Carlos Beltran has a real shot at induction.

The less crowded ballot means opportunity for Scott Rolen. He’s the top returning vote getter with 63.2%, He stands a good chance at achieving the necessary 75% for induction. Billy Wagner had 51% this year and needs a strong surge this coming year if he is to have a chance at BBWAA election on a much more crowded ballot in 2024 in his last year of eligibility (he will likely be elected easily by a future Today’s Game Committee). If Todd Helton continues to gain votes as he has year over year, he will be in good position for future BBWAA selection in 2024 or 2025. Andruw Jones, if he surpasses 50%, will also be in good position for a future BBWAA ballot. Gary Sheffield and Jeff Kent each look bound for consideration by future Today’s Game Committees as they will be facing their penultimate and ultimate ballots, respectively, with no evidence of increasing support.

As for Beltran, he does have a strong case. He has 70.1 WAR (same as Rolen). He hit .279/.350/.486, OPS+ 119, 435 homers. He earned a Rookie of the Year, 2 Silver Sluggers, 3 Gold Gloves, and 9 All Star nods. However, it’s hard for players who played for several teams to gain traction. The biggest thing that will hurt his first year candidacy is the 2017 Astros. They won the World Series but were later found to have engaged in the biggest illegal sign stealing scandal since the 1951 Giants. Beltran was a ring leader in developing and perpetrating the plan. As a result he was fired as the NY Mets manager before ever really starting the job. Anyone who doubted the staying power of the anger over the scandal needed only to hear the boos aimed at the Astros this past season. It’s beyond doubt that some voters will withhold votes for Beltran using the Hall of Fame’s character clause. Indeed, some who voted for Bonds/Clemens/Schilling despite their off the field actions, will not vote for Beltran because of his on the field cheating. My early bet is he will not be a first ballot selection.

Will any other first year players get HoF support? The biggest names are John Lackey, Francisco Rodriguez, Jered Weaver, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jhonny Peralta, Jayson Werth and Mike Napoli. None stand any chance of election. Honestly, it would not surprise me if the only 2023 first timer to make the 2024 ballot was Carlos Beltran.

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