Now that no-brainer Ken Griffey Junior is a Hall of Famer (with 437 of a possible 440 votes!) and the rightful coronation of Mike Piazza has come to fruition as well, we can focus on 2017, right?
Like in years past, the ballot is going to be stacked, both with credible hold overs (Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Trevor Hoffman and Curt Schilling, for example) as well as some high profile first ballot inclusions.
Vladimir Guerrero. In 2008, Guerrero was voted by Major League managers as one of the “most feared” batters in baseball. But, as Jim Rice can tell you, being feared doesn’t necessarily equate to immediate induction into the Hall of Fame. However, Vlad is no Jim Rice. The 2004 American League MVP hit .318 for his career and never hit less than .290 in any of his full seasons in the bigs. His hits (2590), home runs (449) and RBI (1496), rank among the top five of all Dominican-born players.
Ivan Rodriguez. A quick glance at Rodriguez’s numbers and you’d be convinced he was a Hall of Famer. However, PED allegations might keep Pudge from getting in on his first ballot. Rodriguez has more hits than anyone that has suited up behind the plate as well as games played and putouts. His caught stealing percentage (45.68%) and 13 Gold Glove Awards add to the narrative that he is the best defensive catcher of all-time.
ON THE BUBBLE.
Magglio Ordonez. Like a lot of the players that have hit the ballot lately, Ordonez has some impressive numbers that, had he played in any other era, would get him some Hall of Fame consideration. Given the time he played (and his contemporaries), it’s likely Maggs will either be off the ballot after one try or last all ten years and never get in.
Jorge Posada. There’s not a chance Posada sniffs Cooperstown. However…as a member of the New York Yankees famed “Core Four”, the longtime catcher will get some extra votes here and there.
Manny Ramirez. Where to begin? Ramirez should be a slam dunk Hall of Famer. His stats rank him among his era’s elite and he passes any and all “smell tests”. That said, dude was found in violation of the league’s drug policy twice and was (allegedly) linked to a failed test in 2003. That 2003 allegation aside, you could argue Ramirez was a Hall of Famer well before he was suspended in 2009.
The others. Danys Baez, Pat Burrell, Orlando Cabrera, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Ryan Franklin, Carlos Guillen, Derrek Lee, Julio Lugo, Melvin Mora, Edgar Renteria, Arthur Rhodes, Aaron Rowand, Freddy Sanchez, Jason Varitek, Javier Vazquez and Tim Wakefield.