With the results of the 2014 Hall of Fame Induction Class recently announced, we can begin to seriously look towards 2015 and which players will be inducted in July 2015, which players will just miss, and which players will simply drop off the ballot.
Update (January 2nd 2015): Rich Stowe and Adam Solowiei have released their official IBWAA Baseball Hall of Fame Ballots. To see who they voted for this year you can read 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame Predictions, IBWAA Members Ballots Released
There will be three newcomers to the Hall of Fame ballot that will garner serious discussion (Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz) and two others who will generate moderate discussion (Gary Sheffield and Nomar Garciaparra). There are also many carryovers from the 2014 ballot such as Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Mike Mussina, Craig Schilling, Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell, Curt Schilling, Edgar Martinez, Jeff Kent, Larry Walker, Alan Trammell, and Lee Smith. It will also be Don Mattingly’s 15th and final year on the ballot.
As you can see, just like in 2014, it will be a packed-ballot again with well over the maximum 10 players to vote for (provided that rule isn’t changed – but I think it will). Let’s discuss what percentage of the vote each player will get and just who will gain induction as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame 2015 Induction Class. If you don’t see a player’s name listed here, that means they are on their first ballot but will receive less than the needed five percent of the vote to remain on the ballot (at most they will receive 5 or less votes – and should receive zero, but we know how it works).
Players that will receive less than five percent and will be booted from all future ballots:
Sammy Sosa and Don Mattingly
It will be Sosa’s 3rd year on the ballot, but after getting 7.2 percent in 2014, he won’t gain any new votes (and will actually lose some) and will be relegated to the Veteran’s Committee like Raphael Palmeiro was this year. Mattingly has seen his support drop from the mid-20s when he first got on the ballot to 8.2 percent last year. While it is possible he gains some votes because it is his final and 15th time on the ballot, I do think he’ll receive less than five percent.
Players that will receive between 6 and 15 percent and will remain on the ballot for at least one more year:
Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Lary Walker, Carlos Delgado, and Nomar Garciaparra
While I don’t believe Delgado and Garciaparra are Hall of Famers (they both at one point in their careers were on that path till injuries happened frequently), I do think they will garner enough support to return for at least 2016. Larry Walker will continue to receive support every year, but due to the “Coors Field Effect” it’s hard to tell if he’ll start to gain votes every year or slowly lose some and eventually drop off the ballot. McGriff should be receiving higher voting percentages but will never break past the 15 percent mark. Mark McGwire will continue to lose votes and will be very close to dropping off the ballot completely (11 percent in 2014, I predict 7 percent in 2015).
Players that will receive between 16 and 30 percent of the vote:
Lee Smith, Mike Mussina, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, and Alan Trammell
These players will continue to fall in the 16-30 percent range. Lee Smith and Alan Trammell will never move out of this range even though it is the 13th ballot for Smith and the 14th for Trammell – they are destined to remain till their 15th year and then have to go to the Veteran’s Committee.
I do believe that Mussina and Martinez will all receive closer to the 30 percent mark in 2015 (Mussina was at 20.3 and Martinez was at 25.2 in 2014). Kent will get closer to the 20 percent mark in 2015 (was 15.2 in 2014). I do think that out of this group Mussina and Martinez gain induction in several years with Kent a possibility (he could also remain on the ballot for 15 years then gain induction via Veteran’s Committee).
Players that will receive between 31 and 50 percent:
Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Curt Schilling
Clemens and Bonds have both been hovering around the 32 percent mark each year and I don’t think that will change much quite yet. I predict that Clemens will still be at 32 percent and Bonds will be at 31 percent in 2015. Unlike the other players associated with PEDs such as Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro who have lost votes every year, Bonds and Clemens were historic-level players that many believe were Hall of Famers before the Steroid Era began.
Curt Schilling received 29.2 percent in his first year on the ballot (2014) and I do believe will gain votes in 2015 and finish around the 35 percent mark. I do believe that Schilling eventually gains induction but Bonds and Clemens are more of a question mark. If the BBWAA or the Hall of Fame establish procedures for handling the PED players they will either gain induction immediately or remain on the ballot for 15 years with between 15 and 35 percent of the vote (they will not drop off like Palmeiro has).
Players that will receive between 51 and 74 percent:
Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell, and John Smoltz
This is Smoltz’ first year on the ballot and between his career as a starter and a closer, he should debut around 65 percent and will earn induction within a year or two (he could also gain induction in 2015 – it all depends on how many inductees the votes want). Piazza, Raines, and Bagwell should all see their vote percentages increase from 2014 (65.2, 46.1, and 54.3 percent respectively). in 2015, Piazza should get around 70 percent, Bagwell around 62 and Raines around 55. All these players will eventually be voted in by the BBWAA.
Players that will gain induction in 2015:
Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Craig Biggio
In 2014, Craig Biggio received 74.8 percent of the vote, falling two votes shy of induction. Many voters could not vote for him in 2014 because of the 10-player rule and the stocked ballot. In 2015, the ballot isn’t as stocked and several voters will feel bad about him just missing in 2014, so he will receive around 80 percent of the vote (and rightfully so).
2015 will be the first-ballot for Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez and that is all they need. They are both in the argument for top-5 pitchers of all-time and Pedro, even though some stats like “wins” aren’t up to Hall of Fame standards, was arguably the most dominant pitcher in history (what he did during the Steroid Era was up numbers like ERA and ERA+ that even Walter Johnson couldn’t do during the Dead Ball Era).
Randy Johnson should receive well over 90 percent of the vote (he’ll be around 95). I believe Pedro should be in the same range as Johnson, I do think the voters will hold his low win total against him so he’ll finish around 87 percent.
So, what do you think? Do you think the percentages are off? Who do you think will gain induction in 2015? Vote in the poll below and feel free to leave a comment.