The 2023 Baseball Hall of Fame class will be revealed Tuesday (6 p.m. ET. MLB Network).
But will anyone be joining Fred McGriff, who was a unanimous selection by the 16-member Contemporary Era’s Committee in December, at this summers induction ceremony? There is a good possibility that no one will be elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for the second time in three years. It happened in 2021.
Of the 28 former players – 14 first timers – on the ballot this year, Scott Rolen received the highest percentage of votes on all ballots cast in 2022 with 63.2%. This year he has received 79% of the votes, according to the publicly revealed ballots listed in Ryan Thibodaux’s Hall of Fame Ballot Tracker, although that figure should drop by at least 5% when all of the votes are revealed.
A player needs 75% of the vote to be elected. Those who get below five percent fall off the ballot.
A look at some of the candidates on the ballot and their Hall of Fame case.
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Certainly, if you go strictly by the performance and hardware, Rodriguez is a no-brainer. Why, if not for the drug suspension, and one or two more seasons, he could have been baseball’s all-time home run king.
“Considering Rodriguez revealed that he used PEDs during several seasons, was one of 15 players suspended from purchasing PEDs in the infamous Biogenesis case, how in the world can he get in when Bonds and Clemens aren’t?”
– Bob Nightengale
“Statistically or purely from an aesthetic standpoint, Beltran was one of the game’s most talented players, certainly within his era and by some measures of all time. Beltran hit 435 home runs and stole 312 bases, one of just five in the 400-300 club.
“The odds are certainly in his favor. Beltran’s resume should age nicely, and punitive votes against him for his sign-stealing role figure to recede as time goes on.”
– Gabe Lacques
“Rolen hit with consistent power and could flat out play the hot corner. His eight Gold Glove Awards trail only Brooks Robinson (16), Mike Schmidt (10) and Nolan Arenado (10) among third basemen in MLB history. He is also one of 15 infielders ever to win at least eight Gold Glove Awards.
“It’s looking good for Rolen. This is the sixth time he’s been on the ballot, and given the momentum he’s seen the past few years and continues to get, he will be enshrined in Cooperstown. “
– Scott Boeck
“For a five-year period from 2000-04, Helton was one of the absolute best players in baseball. He was named to the NL All-Star team each of those seasons – winning four Silver Sluggers, three Gold Gloves and a batting title along the way. His 37.5 Wins Above Replacement over that span ranked third in the majors behind only Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez.
“But would Helton have been as great a player if he hadn’t played all his home games 5,280 feet above sea level? It certainly helped bolster his numbers. Helton’s 1.048 home OPS is the sixth-best in history among players who appeared in more than 1,000 major league games. On the road, he put up a less-impressive, but still respectable .855 OPS.”
– Steve Gardner
“Jones is one of only four players to have won 10 Gold Gloves with 400 career home runs. The others are Willie Mays, Mike Schmidt and Ken Griffey Jr. The center fielder’s 24.2 defensive WAR from 1998-2007 was the best in the game with future Hall of Famer Scott Rolen’s 15.1 a not-so-close second. In that stretch, Jones’ total 57.6 WAR was third in baseball behind only Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds.
“Jones may have to sweat it out until his final appearance(s) on the ballot, but it’s hard to imagine his momentum stopping short of 75%. “
– Jesse Yomtov
“A World Series-winning phenom for the Anaheim Angels at age 20, whose wipeout slider quickly earned him the nickname K-Rod, Rodriguez’s five postseason victories shortly after his 2002 debut have been equaled only by Randy Johnson and Stephen Strasburg.
“His 62 saves in 2008 remain a single-season record, and his 437 career saves rank fourth all-time, with veterans’ committee Hall of Famer Lee Smith separating him from Rivera and Hoffman.”
“One of the most fearsome hitters to ever step into a batter’s box, Gary Sheffield’s fierce bat wiggle and violent swing signaled his aim was not simply making contact with the baseball. He wanted to pulverize it.
“That’s just what he did for 22 seasons after reaching the majors in 1988 at the age of 19. The No. 6 overall pick in the 1986 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers, Sheffield collected 2,683 hits and blasted 509 home runs over the course of his career. But unlike most power hitters, he had remarkable plate discipline, walking more times than he struck out.”
“One of the most consistent performers on five World Series championship teams, left-hander Andy Pettitte enters his fifth year on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, presenting an interesting case as a New York Yankees legend – and admitted user of performance-enhancing drugs.
“Pettitte holds the all-time records with 19 playoff wins and 44 starts, helping the Yankees win it all in 1996, ’98, ’99, 2000 and ’09 – his final ring coming after a stint with the Houston Astros.”
“Kent, a career .290 hitter, holds the all-time record for most home runs by a second baseman with 351 (out of 377). That’s more than Hall of Famers Ryne Sandberg (277), Joe Morgan (266) and Rogers Hornsby (265).
“This is his 10th and final year on the ballot and the votes just aren’t there. However, Kent should be a strong candidate when he’s eligible to be on the Contemporary Game Era Committee ballot for 2026.
Billy Wagner (eighth year)
“The induction of Trevor Hoffman seems have kicked the door open for Wagner, the flame-throwing lefty who ranks sixth on the all-time saves list. He will almost certainly get in before his time is up on the ballot, a remarkable rise for the closer who debuted on the ballot with just 10.5% of the vote in 2016.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Baseball of Fame 2023: Top candidates, voting trends, tracker