Don’t be surprised if Derek Jeter is up on stage at Hall of Fame induction weekend all by himself.
The new Hall of Fame ballot was released Monday, as baseball enters its annual Cooperstown debate season. Of the 18 new names up to consideration, Jeter is the only sure thing. Bobby Abreu, Cliff Lee, Jason Giambi and Paul Konerko are the next biggest names, but none of them figure to be first-ballot Hall of Famers.
Even with the carryovers from last year’s ballot there are no sure things. Of those 14 players, Curt Schilling is the only one that got more 60% last year — and only barely, at 60.9%.
Jeter, on the other hand, should have no problem getting in. The only question is whether he’ll join fellow New York Yankees icon Mariano Rivera in being a unanimous selection.
The ballots went to the eligible members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, who are allowed to vote for up to 10 players. Seventy-five percent of the vote is required to get in. Results will be announced on Jan. 21. Induction weekend is scheduled for July 24-27.
New players on the Hall of Fame ballot
Here are the 18 new players on the Hall of Fame ballot for 2020, listed alphabetically and accompanied by their career WAR (via Baseball-Reference):
• Bobby Abreu (60.0 WAR)
• Josh Beckett (35.6 WAR)
• Heath Bell (7.1 WAR)
• Eric Chávez (37.5 WAR)
• Adam Dunn (17.4 WAR)
• Chone Figgins (22.2 WAR)
• Rafael Furcal (39.4 WAR)
• Jason Giambi (50.5 WAR)
• Raúl Ibañez (20.4 WAR)
• Derek Jeter (72.4 WAR)
• Paul Konerko (27.7 WAR)
• Cliff Lee (43.5 WAR)
• Carlos Peña (25.1 WAR)
• Brad Penny (19.0 WAR)
• J.J. Putz (13.1 WAR)
• Brian Roberts (30.4 WAR)
• Alfonso Soriano (28.2 WAR)
• José Valverde (11.5 WAR)
It’s tough to forecast any future Hall of Famers in this class besides Jeter. Abreu, Lee and Konerko had solid careers that were more Hall of Very Good-worthy. Giambi enters with ties to the steroid era, but even without it, his numbers aren’t even on par with the likes of Gary Sheffield.
There are a lot of one-and-dones here — players who won’t even get five percent of the vote — but a few will at least stick around for a few years.
Returning players on the Hall of Fame ballot
There are 14 carryovers still on the ballot, all hoping to reach the 75-percent threshold necessary for induction. Schilling, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds remain the most polarizing names on the ballot.
Two others to watch closely this year are Larry Walker, who is in his final year of eligibility and is looking for a Tim Raines/Edgar Martinez-like boost, and Omar Vizquel who got an impressive 42.8 percent in his first year. However, Vizquel’s case as a defense-first shortstop also remains polarizing for voters.
• Curt Schilling — 60.9% (8th year)
• Roger Clemens — 59.5% (8th year)
• Barry Bonds — 59.1% (8th year)
• Larry Walker — 54.6% (10th year)
• Omar Vizquel — 42.8% (3rd year)
• Manny Ramírez — 22.8% (4th year)
• Jeff Kent — 18.1% (7th year)
• Scott Rolen — 17.2% (3rd year)
• Billy Wagner —16.7% (5th year)
• Todd Helton — 16.5% (2nd year)
• Gary Sheffield — 13.6% (6th year)
• Andy Pettitte — 9.9% (2nd year)
• Sammy Sosa — 8.5% (8th year)
• Andruw Jones — 7.5% (3rd year)
Beyond these 32 names, there’s a second veteran’s committee ballot that will be voted on next month at the Winter Meetings. That includes the likes of Don Mattingly, Tommy John, Marvin Miller and Lou Whitaker. One or more of them would ultimately join Derek Jeter in Cooperstown next July.
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