Hall of Fame ballots were due on December 31st. Before the results of voting are announced on January 18th, there has been a mad dash to count the public votes and project how the annual balloting may turn out.
Public ballots, those announced before January 18th, continue to be posted on Ryan Thibodaux’s Hall of Fame Tracker. With 194 votes counted, equal to 44.6% of votes cast, the balloting is beginning to sort itself out.
The big winner seems to be Tim Raines. In his final year of eligibility, the former Expos outfielder stands at 91.8%. Raines has added new votes toward his election. Jeff Bagwell is next with 90.7%. One would think their election is pretty secure, though not likely at these numbers. Next up is Ivan Rodriguez, the former Texas Ranger great. Rodriguez is new to the ballot and it looked like he would be elected easily. His vote has declined in recent days and he currently stands at 79.9%. The reason, as I see it, is his implication with PED use according to Jose Canseco’s book, Juiced.
At this moment, we’ve got three guys riding above the 75% mark required for election. Two other players are close. First year candidate, outfielder Vladimir Guerrero is just below the mark at 74.2%. Closer Trevor Hoffman, in his second year, checks in at 73.2%. It’s possible there could be five players elected, but not likely, as the non-public votes begin to tick in.
The remaining players above 50% are as follows:
Edgar Martinez 66.5%
Barry Bonds 64.4%
Roger Clemens 63.9%
Mike Mussina 60.8%
Curt Schilling 52.1%
This is just a snapshot. In fact the voter percentages are likely to be different, in most cases considerably less as the private votes tend to be less SABRmetric friendly and very anti-PED.
Nathaniel Rakich at The Hardball Times has tracked the public and private voting over the past three seasons. Based on past voting he has projected how the players are likely to end up.
Rakich projects that Hoffman will pick up enough votes to join Rains and Bagwell in the Hall. He also suggests Pudge will continue to lose support, and Vlad will pick up support to both be within a gnat’s eyelash of 75% over or under. Edgar finishes next with 64.9% of the vote.
If Edgar’s landing place is 62-65% that would be a huge step up from last year’s voting, when he received 43.4%. It would also provide him with a makeable route to election by 2019, his last year of eligibility. As an example, Rains was at 55% in 2015 and 69% in 2016, and his election in this, his final year of eligibility seems likely.
So even if Martinez doesn’t get in this year, his positioning is much improved. No player received more new votes among the public ballots than did Edgar Martinez with 31. It certainly doesn’t get him where Seattle fans want him to be, which is making a speech to a gathered crowd on a warm Cooperstown afternoon. But it certainly puts that podium in sight.