Last Monday, the Baseball Writers Association of America and the MLB released the 2024 Hall of Fame Ballot.
Each year, accredited members within the association can pick up to 10 players on the ballot for who they believe should be inducted into the Hall of Fame, with any players receiving 75% or more of the total votes getting their place in Cooperstown. Those who do not reach the 5% minimum will be removed from the ballot, with eligibility running for 10 years.
Let’s take a look at the 2024 ballot and dissect some of the interesting names that make up the potential 2024 induction class.
New names on the ballot
This year, there are 12 new names on the Hall of Fame ballot, led by third baseman Adrián Beltré, second baseman Chase Utley, and catcher/first baseman Joe Mauer. Rounding out the group includes David Wright, Bartolo Colon, Matt Holliday, Adrián González, José Reyes, José Bautista, Victor Martinez, James Shields, and Brandon Phillips.
Beltré leads the newcomers in bWAR (93.5), and the 21-year veteran has himself in a good position to be a first-year lock to make the Hall of Fame with his impressive .286/.339/.480 career slash line with a .819 OPS through 2933 games. The righty-batter is a member of the 3000 hits club and comes in at #31 with his 477 home runs, cementing himself with his five Gold Gloves, four All-Star appearances, four Silver Slugger Awards, and two Platinum Glove Awards.
Behind Beltré on the bWAR leaderboard is Utley (64.5), whose 16 years in the big leagues saw him craft a considerable career that amassed a .823 OPS with 1025 RBIs while playing second base for the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Behind Utley sits Minnesota Twins catcher/first baseman Mauer, who spent all 15 seasons with the Twins organization. Concussions saw Mauer move away from behind the plate in 2013, with the Minnesota product spending the rest of his time at first base, finishing with a .306 average, 143 home runs, and 939 RBIs with a .827 OPS.
Mets legend David Wright joins the group as well as Bartolo Colon, who was one of the most characteristic players in the MLB towards the end of his career.
The one and done crew
Of the newcomers, there is a sizable list that will likely see their name on the 2024 ballot only as they will fall short of the 5% minimum needed to remain on the ballot.
Phillips, Shields, Martinez, Bautista, and Reyes will likely fall into this category, as the current ballot has enough names, that while each of these players will receive some votes, it will not be enough to stay above that minimum. While each player was solid and considered an everyday member of their respective squads (and even had exceptional runs at times), they likely sit too far down the list to get enough traction to remain on the ballot.
The “borderline” crew would be González, Holliday, Colon, and Wright, as each player has enough of a track record to get some votes from those on the BBWAA who select 10 players (the maximum) and could be flirting with the 5% mark.
There is an incredibly high probability that none of these players will make the Hall of Fame in their first year, although I would say at least one or two of these players will lock down enough votes to remain on the 2025 ballot.
Those in their last year of eligibility
With players only eligible for 10 years, there is one individual who is entering their last year, and that is slugger Gary Sheffield. There are a few players who are closing in on the mark, but Sheffield is the only player whose Hall of Fame hopes are hanging in the balance outside of the era’s voting process.
Last year, Sheffield found his name on 55% of the ballots, meaning he has some work to do this year for a trip to Cooperstown. Across 22 seasons, the versatile Florida product amassed a .292/.393/.514 slash line with 509 home runs (27th all-time) with 1676 RBIs, a .907 OPS, and a 60.5 bWAR.
A nine-time All-Star with five Silver Slugger Awards, Sheffield has a link to PEDs, which is one of the reasons the likes of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens have not made the Hall of Fame in the eyes of the voters.
When it comes to voting, the BBWAA has been a bit divided on PED users, and although Sheffield has the stats, he may be on the outside looking in on his final year given that link.
Interesting names in the mix
Last year, only Scott Rolen crossed the 75% mark, but a few players on the 2024 ballot were close to the threshold.
Colorado Rockies slugger Todd Helton ranked just behind Rolen (72.2%), while closer Billy Wagner finished just behind him at 68.1%. Carlos Beltran, a first-year last season, found his name on 46.5% of the votes and will likely see a sizable increase this winter, although it will be a bit of a toss-up as to whether he will gather enough votes for a Hall of Fame berth.
The former Mets slugger found his name tied up in the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, but his playing days statistics are strong, a 20-year career where he finished with a 70.1 bWAR with 435 home runs and a 119 OPS+.
Two other PED-tied players are still eligible this season in Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez, with both players looking to improve upon their 35.7% and 33.2% voting receipt percentages respectively.
Considering the likes of Clemens and Bonds were unable to lock down a spot in Cooperstown within the 10-year window, the jury still seems out as to whether Rodriguez and Ramirez could buck that trend, with the former Red Sox slugger needing to find answers sooner or later as he enters his eighth year on the ballot.
Omar Vizquel, who is entering his seventh year on the ballot, has seen a steady decrease over the years that could see him flirting with below the 10% mark by the end of the voting process.
While his stats have him in the running, recent off the field issues have likely swayed voters the opposite way, as well as with newcomers pushing Vizquel out of the potential candidates. He was at 52.6% at his peak (2020) but most recently locked in at 19.5% and continues to trend downward.
Towards the bottom of the 2023 ballot was Andy Pettitte, Bobby Abreu, Jimmy Rollins, Mark Buehrle, Francisco Rodriguez, and Torii Hunter, with each player able to secure enough votes to stick above the minimum. Pettitte and Abreu will likely get enough attention to stay above the minimum, but the remaining four could find themselves in the danger zone given the current new class.
Looking at the potential Hall of Fame inductees
Of the newcomers, a strong case could be made for Beltré to hear his name called to Cooperstown, and he would be the only lock for the 2024 Hall of Fame induction from this new class. Utley and Mauer will likely flirt with the 75% mark, but I don’t think they will have enough votes to overcome the needed votes, having to wait until at least next year.
Of the current group, Helton will likely be entering Cooperstown and improve upon his standing that just saw him outside the induction line last year.
With a 61.8 bWAR and a career 133 OPS+, many argue that the friendly confines of Coors Field helped his numbers, but he still owns a .316 average with 369 home runs across 17 seasons.
If the current trends are accurate, Wagner will also be joining Beltré and Helton in the induction class, as the left-hander sits sixth in saves (422) and owns a career 2.31 ERA while establishing himself as one of the best closers in the game.
Rounding out the group of potential Hall of Fame hopefuls is defensive wiz Andruw Jones, who like Wagner, continues to improve each year in regards to voting percentage. He finished last year at 58.1%, and while a climb of 16.9% is not impossible, the outfielder will likely have to wait for 2025 to hear his name called on what would be his seventh year on the ballot.