Were only days away from the announcement of the 2015 MLB Hall of Fame Class, and I thought I would announce my ballot. As a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA), I get a vote for the Hall of Fame every year, and it’s a great privilege to have. Without further ado, here is my ballot.
1. Randy Johnson: This is an obvious choice, and there is no doubt that he will be a first ballot hall of famer. During his peak years between 1993-2002, there wasn’t a pitcher that opposing hitters feared more than the Big Unit, and nobody knows that more than Diamondback fans. Johnson won five CY Young Award winners, including four in a row from 1999-2002 with the Snakes.
In a 10 year period starting in 1993, Johnson had a 2.73 era averaging 273 strikeouts in 219 innings, and finished in the top three in CY Young Voting eight times. He was the last pitcher to win 300 games, and he struck out 10.6 batters per nine innings, finishing with 4875 strikeouts, which is second all time to Nolan Ryan .
2. Curt Schilling: Schilling probably won’t get in this year, and I really don’t understand why he doesn’t get more votes. Schilling finished with a 3.46 era, which is pretty high, and a 3.23 FIP, with 3116 strikeouts. He struck out more 300 batters in a season 3 times, finished with a career ERA+ of 127 which is in the top 10, and he owns the second best K/BB ratio in MLB history. He had great control and command and he kept runs off the board.
Oh yah and then there is his postseason numbers. Great players perform best when it matters most, and the numbers show that Schilling was one of the best postseason pitchers of all time. In 133.1 career October innings, Schilling finished with a 2.23 era, 0.97 WHIP, and a 120/25 K/BB ratio. When I look at a Hall of Famer, I like to use their best seven seasons. Using WAR 7, which is the WAR of a players seven best seasons, Schilling stacks up. His 49.0 WAR7 is fourth all time. He is a hall of famer.
3. Pedro Martinez: Pedro like Randy Johnson is a shoe in for the hall of fame on the first ballot. His context more than anything else makes him a hall of famer. He played in an offensive era, he pitched the majority of his starts in a hitter friendly Fenway Park, and he did in the A.L. East.
Despite those conditions, Martinez is the best of all time at preventing runs. His career ERA+ of 154 is the best ever, and five times his ERA+ was over 200, and he led the league every time. In 2000, his era+ was 291! Martinez best six years match up with Sandy Koufax’s six best seasons. There is no doubt that Martinez is a hall of famer.
4. John Smoltz: Many people don’t believe he is a first ballot hall of famer, but in my mind he deserves to go in. While Smoltz’s numbers aren’t close to Martinez or Johnson, he was a constant performer for the Braves division title teams in the 90’s.
He is the latest pitcher to reach the 3,000 strikeout club. Only two pitchers that are in the 3,000 strikeout club have yet to reach the hall of fame: Curt Schilling, and Rodger Clemens. Smoltz was also a great closer, which makes his case even more impressive.
5. Craig Biggio: It’s sad that Biggio didn’t get in last year, so he better be elected this year. He complied 3,060 hits which is good for 21st all time, and 668 doubles which is good for fifth all time. Being part of the 3,000 hit club means your a lock for the hall of fame.
Biggio is also ranked in the top 30 all time in runs scored, and very few of those guys haven’t been inducted. Biggio was at his best in his prime from 1993-1998, a span that covered his age 27 to age 32 seasons. He batted .304/.309/.476 with an OPS+ of 135. He is a clear hall of famer.
6. Jeff Bagwell: If it weren’t for unproven steroid acquisitions, Bagwell would be a slam dunk for the hall of fame as well. Across 15 big league seasons he batted .297 and finished in the top 100 of all time in 13 different categories including 488 doubles, 2,314 hits, and an OPS+ of 149. His career WAR of 83.9 according to FanGraphs is the eight highest among first basemen.
Bagwell wasn’t just a great hitter. He was also a great defensive first basemen. He finished with a 59.1 career UZR or Ultimate Zone Rating which measures how well a player covers his defensive zone. That ranks 15th all time. Simply put, Bagwell was one of the greatest all around players ever.
7. Tim Raines: I debated this one till the very end, but ultimately I believe that Raines deserves induction. In 23 big league seasons Raines finished with a slash line of .294/.385/.425 with 2,605 hits, and a 123 OPS+. He also finished with a career 69.1 WAR.
Two numbers stand out to me for Raines. For his career he finished with 808 steals which is really impressive, and he walked (1,330) far more than he struck out (966). During his peak he hit .310 with an OPS+ of 135, and he finished in the top five in eight different categories.
He was also one of the greatest leadoff hitters of all time. One of the arguments against him is that he wasn’t a very good defensive left-fielder finishing with a career dWAR of -9.5. His offense makes up for that for me.
8. Alan Trammell: Trammell is on the ballot for the 14th time, and for me he deserves to get in. An offensive shortstop is hard to fine, and that is why he had so much value.
His peak lasted 11 seasons when he hit .295/.361/.448 with a 123 OPS+. What’s even more impressive is that he averaged 48 strikeouts per season during that time. Trammel was one of the greatest offensive shortstops during his peak years.
He was also a great defensive shortstop during his prime years, and he probably should have won more gold gloves than he did. He played 2,106 games at short. He finished with a career 70.4 WAR which is 8th all time among shortstops. He was a great all around player, and deserves to be inducted.
9. Mike Mussina: Of all the players I voted for, this one took me the longest, but ultimately his 7 year peak stacks up with hall of famers. What’s impressive is he did it in the offensive heavy A.L. East. He finished with a career ERA+ of 123, and was one of the best at run prevention.
He finished in the top 11 in strikeouts. His career 1.983 BB/9 rate is great, and he ranks 15th all time with a 3.583 K/BB ratio. Mussina’s career value ranks ahead of the likes of Glavine, Palmer, and Ryan. When that is the case, your a hall of famer.
There is my ballot! Feel free to disagree in the comments section!