Usually, when the Hall of Fame committee makes the ballot public, everyone is looking for the multiple first year players that will make it right away. There have been some stacked classes that stemmed from being on the ballot for just one year. John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez, and Randy Johnson all went in together, not having to wait to get in. But this year is different. There are a lot more players who could potentially be knocked off the ballot this year, than players who will make it. For current college kids, many will look at this ballot and feel old. Here is a look at the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot and where each player will end up.
Won’t Be Eligible Next Year- Eric Chavez, Carlos Peña, Jason Giambi, Chone Figgins, Raul Ibanez, Josh Beckett, Brian Roberts, Brad Penny, J.J. Putz, Jose Valverde, Adam Dunn, Heath Bell, and Rafael Furcal are all names that will not be around next year. Some names may have been big time players but not for a long enough period, or could have the steroid mantra on them due to the Mitchell Report, or just testing positives. Although these guys are in their first year on the ballot, They all left some mark on baseball and were good, but just not hall of fame players.
Will Barely Stay Relevant- Gary Sheffield, Bobby Abreu, Andy Pettite, Sammy Sosa, Cliff Lee, Manny Ramirez, Billy Wagner. All of these players in this category minus Wagner, Lee, and Abreu were all accused, admitted, or tested positive for steroids at one point in their career. Wagner has had multiple writers and fans point out his numbers are equivalent minus the save numbers, but it just seems that this group will not be able to hold their own.
Won’t Make it, But Will Gain More Votes- Todd Helton, Scott Rolen, Jeff Kent, Omar Vizquel, Larry Walker. This group all have something missing. In Walker and Helton’s cases, they both spent a lot of their time in Colorado with the Rockies, which automatically knocks them down a few notches, Helton’s home/road splits are not-surprisingly favored heavily towards Coors Field. The others however, always seem to have something missing in the eyes of the voters. Rolen, Kent, and Vizquel will gain some ground, but won’t have a plaque hanging in Cooperstown come next summer.
Borderline, Can Go Either Way- Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens. These three players are the most controversial players on the ballot. We know the deal with Bonds and Clemens, both have been accused of taking steroids, but could have made the Hall of Fame without them. Then there’s Schilling. It is hard to put a finger on why the voters aren’t sold on Schilling making the Hall of Fame, but out of all the returners on the ballot this year, he had the most votes the year prior at 60.9%.
No Brainer- Derek Jeter. Could the former Yankees shortstop be the second player to be unanimously voted into Cooperstown? Quite possibly. Jeter is the only name on the 2020 ballot that anyone can look at and guarantee he will be holding a plaque in Coopertown next summer.
This years’ Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot is something that can be looked at as one of the worst overall in quite some time. It is top heavy with Jeter, but once it gets past him, it is all controversy, drama, or lack of talent. Hopefully the 2021 ballot will have more talent.