Who’s In and Who’s Out: 2018 MLB Hall of Fame Class and Future Inductees

Everybody’s favorite time of the year. NFL playoffs? Nay. Midst of the NBA season? Wrong again? MLB hot stove heating up? Definitely not. Soccer stuff (I’m ignorant to this sport and its wonders)? Could be, wouldn’t know. The time of the year is Hall of Fame elections for the MLB.

Last year’s inductees were somewhat disappointing and lacked the controversy of whether or not Steroid Era players should be inducted. Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, Jeff Bagwell, and Tim Raines were all elected. Good players in their times, and definitely deserving of the honor, but I think we can all agree they don’t hold the name power of players like “Ken Griffey, Jr” or “Pedro Martinez”.

2018, though, has some powerhouse names. The inductees will be chosen on January 24.

FIRST TIME ON THE BALLOT

Chipper Jones

Andruw Jones

Hideki Matsui

Johan Santana

Omar Vizquel

Chris Carpenter

Johnny Damon

Liván Hernández

Orlando Hudson

Aubrey Huff

Jason Isringhausen

Carlos Lee

Brad Lidge

Kevin Millwood

Jamie Moyer

Scott Rolen

Kerry Wood

Carlos Zambrano

NOTABLE PLAYERS RETURNING TO BALLOT

Fred McGriff

Vladimir Guerrero

Jim Thome

Edgar Martinez

Manny Ramirez

Trevor Hoffman

Mike Mussina

Curt Schilling

Barry Bonds

Roger Clemens

Larry Walker

Jeff Kent

Gary Sheffield

Billy Wagner

Sammy Sosa

Lol…imagine being the people who had to go look through each of these players careers and decipher if they are worthy of baseball immortality. That seems like a bitch, and something you need to get paid to do. Since I actually pay to write on this site, I am going to talk only about the borderline players. I will note the obvious ones (both who will and who will not be apart of the the Hall), as Mr. Walker will be covering the 2018 candidates more in-depth.

2018 Hall of Fame Class:  3B Chipper Jones, ATL; DH Jim Thome, CLE; RP Trevor Hoffman, MIL; OF Vladimir Guerrero, LAA; DH Edgar Martinez, SEA; SP Mike Mussina, BAL/NYY

Image result for chipper jones

THE NEVER EVERS: Johnny Damon, Liván Hernández, Orlando Hudson, Aubrey Huff, Jason Isringhausen, Brad Lidge, Kevin Millwood, Jamie Moyer, Scott Rolen, Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Lee, Fred McGriff

Image result for scott rolen

THE FUTURE INBETWEENERS (explained with a prediction):

Now, there are people on this list that are not going to join the Hall simply because their career was not spectacular enough. They will rise and fall throughout the years, varying on how the committee views their legacy, how their stats shape up with their era, etc. But, there are a great deal of players below that have no-doubt, first-ballot stats, yet are notoriously left out of the Hall of Fame due to the fact that they were involved with steroids.

Steroid Era Inbetweeners: The First Ballot Stats- The Steroid Era is far from a secret. In fact, it is the most discussed topic at this year’s ballot. Players who cheated the game are rising in percentages, inching closer to the 75% of the votes it requires to be inducted. On Wednesday, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds carried 65% of the vote, only 10% away from conquering their biggest battle.

Clemens, Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Manny Ramirez are players that I consider to be first-ballot Hall of Famers…based on their stats. You know their names, you know their stats, but when you think of them, you think “cheater” (with the exception of “Manny Being Manny” coming into mind).

Bonds and Clemens are the two players that could be exceptions to the disgrace of the “Steroid Era”, which seems ironic since they are often defined as the faces of the movement. They were at 54% of the vote last year, and have jumped up 10% in the 2018 pre-elections. Now, I do not think they will enter the Hall this year,  but their increasing numbers, unfortunately, point to them being inducted in the coming years.

Image result for barry bonds

Sosa did too much (steroids, corked bat, etc), and his under 10% of total votes is not appealing. Manny has only been on the ballot for one year, in which he received 24% of votes. His stats alone should get him in, but his proved PED usage keeps him out for the time being.

My problem is, if Bonds and Clemens are approved, you have to reevaluate everyone else who was involved in steroids, right? Are there exceptions, such as Bonds and Clemens, or do you ignore the cheating and treat their stats as everyone else? Where is the line drawn? Should McGwire be reconsidered? Should Sosa start over? There’s a lot of details that need to be evaluated.

Nevertheless, even if Manny does not make it in, his Hall of Fame personality will forever be ingrained into our memories, so he can be thankful for that.

Barry Bonds: YES (eventually)

Roger Clemens: YES (eventually)

Manny Ramirez: NO

Sammy Sosa: ABSOLUTELY NOT

The Rest

Andruw Jones: One of the more iconic names of his generation simply for the fact that he was a central piece of the 90’s Braves teams. While he never won a World Series, nor batted over .300, his power numbers in his prime were impressive. Once leading the league in home runs (51) and RBI (128), he was a force to be reckoned with at one point in his career. Unfortunately, his overall numbers are not enough, and he will left out.

Final Call: OUT

Hideki Matsui: GODZILLA. Everybody loves Hideki, but he just did not play long enough to be considered over others. Clutch hitter, great team player, he just falls short.

Final Call: OUT

Johan Santana: An interesting case here. His numbers during his prime definitely make a solid argument. Two Cy Young awards, five straight seasons with 15+ wins, three-time league leader in ERA. It’s convincing. In his time with Minnesota, you could argue he was the most dominant pitcher in the league. But, when he went to the Mets, he gradually fell apart, and was out of the league by 33 due to multiple injuries. Although he did enough while playing to be considered for the HOF, the end of his career is, unfortunately, how he will be judged.

Image result for johan santana no hitter

Final Call: OUT

Chris Carpenter: Similar to Santana, his career was filled with multiple highlight years, but his overall stats were not enough.

Final Call: OUT

Curt Schilling: I have always just kind of assumed Schilling would find his way in, but after multiple years of not getting support, I have to start to doubt it. His numbers speak for himself, and the fact that he was second in Cy Young voting at age 37 speaks volume to how good he was and for how long. But, the more research I do, the more people are opposed to him due to how players, coaches, and the media viewed him during and after his career. One most notably was “Curt Schilling played his way into the Hall of Fame, but talked his way out of it”.  With all that being said, and only 45% of the vote in 2017, he increased to 66% (so far) this year. So against all odds, Schilling and the “Bloody Sock” game should find themselves in the Hall soon enough.

Image result for curt schilling bloody sock

FINAL VOTE: IN 

Larry Walker: Might just be me, but my fondest memory of Larry Walker is him batting side-by-side Albert Pujols in MVP 2005. He was a beast, even in his later years. Walker’s stats in his prime are more absurd than I could have imagined. He batted .350 or over FOUR times in his career. His MVP year his stat line was .366 BA, 49 HR, and 130 RBI. The only thing holding him back is his power numbers did not exactly keep up that pace. He finished with 383 home runs, but I don’t think there can be a doubt he was one of the best hitters of that generation. Regardless of the arguments that his batting titles were tainted due to rarely playing full seasons, you cannot deny his success on the field. All in on Walker.

FINAL VOTE: IN 

Jeff Kent: He has maxed out at 16% of the vote, which I find incredibly low for a second baseman that had so much pop. Regardless, while he was talented for his position, his stats are average for an All-Star caliber player, and below average for somebody who won an MVP.

FINAL VOTE: OUT

Gary Sheffield: 500 HR are cool, but not as cool as it used to be. Plus, his steroid usage drowns out his success. Gary and his forearms will be watching the induction speeches from the stands.

Image result for gary sheffield forearms

FINAL VOTE: OUT

Billy Wagner: Personally, I am not a fan of relief pitchers being in the HOF unless they were iconic.  Simply put, there are a lot of people who can do the same job. It is a measure of consistency, not as much talent. Wagner was great, but when you look at Hoffman and Mariano, the players don’t compare. Wild Bill (not sure if people actually called him that) had 179 less saves than Hoffman, therefore SO LONG.

FINAL VOTE: OUT

Omar Vizquel: Does defense matter? Does anybody care? Apparently. Writers want him to be elected, but his offense was so average can it be ignored? I think people are overthinking it, and doing the classic “trying to be too smart”. Hall of Famers need to pass the eye test, and to me Vizquel doesn’t. He was a fantastic, unique defender, but he was no more than that.

FINAL VOTE: OUT

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