The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) released their Modern Era committee Hall of Fame ballot yesterday. Over the next few weeks Boston Sports Extra will make our case for who should and who shouldn’t, and who will and won’t, get elected.

The Process

In order to walk into Cooperstown as anything other than a paid visitor, a player must be on at least 75% of the ballots. Last year, there were 442 ballots cast, so a player must have been on 332 ballots to be inducted.

Voting for induction to baseball’s greatest shrine has no more integrity than voting for homecoming queen at your high school. Writers, who weren’t good enough athletes to actually play baseball, check the box next to the names of the players they like. It’s a popularity contest. Some writers are more objective than others. Some are comically biased.

Last year Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek, and Edgar Renteria all received votes for the Hall of Fame. That’s not just ridiculous, it demonstrates that we should reassess who is allowed to vote. Every ballot should be made public.  Any writer so obviously out of step with reality should have their voting privileges suspended.

For now, BBWAA Hall voters can keep their ballots private. Those who do simply lack the intellectual integrity to defend their stances on certain players.

2018 Class of Pitchers

Embed from Getty Images

This year’s ballot includes fourteen pitchers. Trevor Hoffman, Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling, and Billy Wagner are all hold-overs from previous years. There are nine pitchers being considered for their first time: Johan Santana, Carlos Zambrano, Jamie Moyer, Chris Carpenter, Livian Hernandez, Kevin Millwood, Kerry Wood, Jason Isringhausen, and Brad Lidge.

Here is how they stack up statistically.

  Pitching Stats
Rk Name YoB % of Ballots Yrs W L ERA ERA+ WHIP G GS SV IP H HR BB SO
1 Trevor Hoffman 3rd 74.00% 18 61 75 2.87 141 1.058 1035 0 601 1089 846 100 307 1133
2 Roger Clemens 6th 54.10% 24 354 184 3.12 143 1.173 709 707 0 4916 4185 363 1580 4672
3 Mike Mussina 5th 51.80% 18 270 153 3.68 123 1.192 537 536 0 3562 3460 376 785 2813
4 Curt Schilling 6th 45.00% 20 216 146 3.46 127 1.137 569 436 22 3261 2998 347 711 3116
5 Billy Wagner 3rd 10.20% 16 47 40 2.31 187 0.998 853 0 422 903 601 82 300 1196
6 Johan Santana 1st 12 139 78 3.2 136 1.132 360 284 1 2025 1726 220 567 1988
7 Carlos Zambrano 1st 12 132 91 3.66 120 1.331 354 302 0 1959 1709 161 898 1637
8 Jamie Moyer 1st 25 269 209 4.25 103 1.322 696 638 0 4074 4231 522 1155 2441
9 Chris Carpenter 1st 15 144 94 3.76 116 1.276 350 332 0 2219 2205 220 627 1697
10 Livan Hernandez 1st 17 178 177 4.44 95 1.44 519 474 1 3189 3525 362 1066 1976
11 Kevin Millwood 1st 16 169 152 4.11 106 1.328 451 443 0 2720 2770 296 843 2083
12 Kerry Wood 1st 14 86 75 3.67 117 1.267 446 178 63 1380 1083 148 666 1582
13 Jason Isringhausen 1st 16 51 55 3.64 115 1.328 724 52 300 1007 901 85 437 830
14 Brad Lidge 1st 11 26 32 3.54 122 1.291 603 1 225 603.1 492 57 287 799
AVERAGE HOF PITCHER 18 253 176 2.98     596 462 39 3801 3500 199 1052 2153

We will get into the details of a number of candidates in the coming weeks, but it is a safe bet that Hoffman will get the additional 1% he needs for induction. He will be the only pitcher elected this year.

Still Have a Shot

Clemens, Mussina, and Schilling will not only stay on the ballot next year, but should all eventually get elected. By the numbers, Rocket is a no brainer. But, as we’ll discuss later, his situation is more complicated than that.

Moose and Schill don’t have Clemens’ numbers, but they also don’t have his PED baggage. Mussina is safer bet than Schilling. His 270 wins are more in line with starting pitchers already in Cooperstown, and he hasn’t been nearly as controversial off the field. Much more on that later.

Good but Not Great

Of the newbies on the ballot, none of the starting pitchers are likely to make it, though some will stay above the 5% cut line for a couple of years. Moyer has more wins than the average Hall pitcher, but he has 209 loses and a career ERA almost a run and a half higher. Johan Santana was brilliant for a short time, but he wasn’t Pedro Martinez. He will eventually fall well short.

Embed from Getty Images

Similarly, none of the other four predominantly relief pitchers on the ballot will make it. This includes Kerry Wood, who due to injuries had his gifted career cut short. Billy Wagner is the most other Hall-worthy candidate, but when judged against Trevor Hoffman’s candidacy you can easily see how far he is below the standard.


View the original article on Red Sox Extra: 2018 Baseball HOF Ballot: The Pitchers