Ryan Thibodeaux has recorded 167 of the approximately 424 votes that will be cast for the Hall of Fame in 2018. So far this has been a really interesting year with some pretty fascinating trends.
First, any way you look at it, this stands to be pretty large HOF class as votes seem to coalesce around four candidates.
The absolutely no-doubters are:
- Chipper Jones with 98.8%
- Jim Thome with 94.6%
- Vladimir Guerrero with 94.0%
There is almost no question these guys will get in. Yes there are still votes to count and if there was a horrendous downturn in marks on ballots it would be bad, but there is nothing to suggest this will happen.
Really likely to get in:
- Trevor Hoffman with 78.4%
On its face, the elite closer looks to be on the border. But Hoffman was very close to election last year. He began the counting needing five new votes to get into the Hall, he’s gotten 12. The only tricky thing is he’s also lost three votes, so he’s only netted nine new votes. Closers, as in real life, are a volatile commodity on the HOF ballot. There are those who don’t value them as much as starting pitchers, so it’s conceivable Hoffman could lose enough voters to be kept out a second year, but it doesn’t seem likely.
And then there’s Edgar:
- Edgar Martinez with 81.4% of the vote.
Yes, we should definitely be cheering Edgar’s progress, but with 60% of the vote still to count, I have my doubts. As the counting began, Edgar needed 73 new voters to mark him on their ballots. At the present time he has 21. What’s more he’s lost three who voted for him last year. I’m not quite sure what Mr. Martinez did in the past 365 days to piss off Filip Bondy of Forbes Magazine, Jon Heyman of Fanrag, or freelancer Jon Perrotto and give their votes to Sammy Sosa, Scott Rolen, and Manny Ramirez respectively, but it is possible to lose votes. So Edgar has netted +18, but needs 55 more to reach the magic number. Is it possible he will do so and make a big hall class bigger? Yes, but I gotta guess it is unlikely. I could see him climbing close to the 70% mark, but I will be very happily surprised if he gets in this year.
Several data guys have made projections on who gets in based on votes received and past voting patterns.
Ross Carey, based on 167 ballots predicts Chipper, Thome, Vlad, and Hoffman get in, with Edgar stalling out at 69.5%
Scott Lindholm using 165 ballots is more positive, with Chipper, Thome, Vlad and Hoffman in and Edgar squeaking over the line with 76.9%.
Jason Sardell from 156 ballots has Chipper, Thome, Vlad and Hoffman meeting the requirement, with Edgar in the close-but-no-cigar department with 74%.
Who knows? It’s all a game at this point. But, our guy has taken a step up with voters, and roped in some important writers, such as Tracy Ringolsby, Mel Antonen and Murray Chass. Not that the other guys aren’t important–just mark Edgar Martinez on your ballots boys.
Other interesting news from the balloting–number of votes per ballot continue to climb. It is 8.99, and has hovered just around 9 throughout the voting. 2017 was at 8.43, 2016 was 8.23, which means voters are more inclined to find more candidates hall-worthy. That helps at the fringes, and for specialists like DH’s and closers.
Big Winners–Vlad who gained 31 votes so far, and lost zero. Second is Larry Walker at a net +23. A big move for Walker, but probably too late to help his candidacy; he’s still at only 40.1%. Third would be Edgar with his +18. Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling have also made nice moves at +14, and are positioning themselves for solid gains in the last halves of their candidacy.
Big Losers–The PED guys. I really thought Bonds and Clemens would do better. They have each netted only a +1. They may do better with the later counted ballots, but the private ballots are usually much more conservative. Sosa is a net 0. Sheffield is a net -1. Manny Ramirez is a net -1.
Lots of guys in the also ran group. Andruw Jones looks like a potential one and done candidate with 5.4%. Scott Rolen should stay on with 10.4%, and Omar Vizquel has a solid first year at 28.7%. Johnny Damon and Johan Santana look to be done at under 2%.
One last quick note, there is one more player on the ballot with ties to the Mariners and that is lefty slow-ball pitcher Jamie Moyer. Moyer is one of my favorite players, and he is one of the most successful pitchers in Mariner history. This morning, word came that Bob Sherwin, former writer for the Seattle Times and Sportspress Northwest, and now a writer for Golfers West, cast a vote for Moyer’s candidacy. While some may ridicule the gesture when there are plenty of deserving candidates on the ballot, there is a certain poignancy in voting for a player like Moyer who learned to pitch late in his career. There was nobody smarter, who knew what he needed to do to get a batter out, and depended on his smarts as much as on his stuff. I wish I’d had the courage to include Jamie on my IBWAA ballot. Good work Bob.