A Completely Correct 2022 Hall of Fame Ballot

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The MLB’s Hall of Fame ballot feels incredibly contentious every year, especially in recent times thanks to the eligibility of top performers during the “Steroid Era” of baseball. Every MLB fan has their own picks, as do many of the writers that elect players into the Hall. But only one fan can be completely unbiased in this regard. Of course, that person is not me, but I will do my best to channel that unbiased person as I give my (correct) takes for the 2022 HoF ballot. Below, I’ll put down my ballot and my reasoning for each decision.

As a quick disclaimer: I tried to take all elements into account here, from stats to steroids to eligibility.

The Ballot:

The Picks:

Barry Bonds:

Bonds’ legacy has certainly been tarnished by his steroid use, but even among other “users” he’s a step above. A career 182 OPS+ and 162.7 WAR will do that for you. For context, the next best WAR among hitters on this ballot is A-Rod’s 117.5, and they played the same amount of years. It’s just hard to keep those numbers out of the Hall.

Roger Clemens:

Similar to Bonds, Clemens’ stats go far beyond his use of PEDs, and it really seems like he should be in the Hall regardless. Clemens ended his career with 139.2 bWAR, which is known to be more unkind towards pitchers, in addition to a career 143 ERA+ and 3.09 FIP. Plus, the man has 4,672 K’s! The numbers just overshadow everything else.

Todd Helton:

Helton may be one of the last players to play with one team throughout their whole career, and I think that gives him a few points in his favor. But obviously that doesn’t make a full case. Instead, may I direct you to his 133 OPS+ and 61.8 WAR over his 17 year career. He also has the hardware to go with it, earning 5 All Star nods, 3 Gold Gloves, and 4 Silver Sluggers. If you look at his Baseball Reference page, he’s just under the average Hall of Fame numbers when it comes to WAR and JAWS for first basemen. But again, that’s the average. Meaning he’s the average Hall of Famer first baseman. Sounds like he belongs to me.

David Ortiz:

Ortiz was one of the best pure DHs in history, along with Edgar Martinez. A 141 OPS+ in his career and 55.3 WAR while barely playing the field is pretty good. So is 10 All Star appearances, 7 Silver Sluggers, 3 World Series Trophies, and a World Series MVP award. His playoff performances alone should probably send him to the Hall.

Manny Ramirez:

I promise I’m not that much of a homer, but Manny’s career numbers are up there with all the other Hall of Famers I’ve gone through so far. The 154 career OPS+ is the big standout, and a 69.3 WAR isn’t bad either. Neither is 12 All Stars and 9 Silver Sluggers. Pair it with a couple of World Series trophies, and you’re in. His career may have whimpered in the end, but there are still some strong numbers.

Alex Rodriguez:

A-Rod’s 117.5 WAR is already a top tier case in and of itself, but 3 MVPs add to his first ballot case. Steroid use hurts his chances, but if he doesn’t get in this year it will certainly happen a year or two later.

Scott Rolen:

Rolen might be the most well rounded player on this sheet, as he ended his career with a 122 OPS+ but also 116 DRS. He was a very good bat and a great glove, which is showcased by those 8 Gold Gloves. He only had 1 Silver Slugger, but it’s not like he was a slouch at the plate either. I’d like to consider him a lock by the numbers, but who knows what goes through the BBWAA’s heads sometimes.

Curt Schilling:

Curt has some extremely bigoted opinions, but that said this distinction is based upon his play on the field, not his rhetoric off of it. Schilling’s 79.5 bWAR is second among pitchers on the ballot, and he was a key piece to 3 World Series teams. A 1.137 career WHIP and 127 ERA+ add to that case.

Omar Vizquel:

This is gonna be the most controversial pick on the ballot, I know it. Vizquel only has a 45.6 WAR and 82 OPS+, but he has 11 Gold Gloves and has been widely regarded as one of the best defensive players ever. I don’t think that’s something we’ve been able to properly rate with numbers yet, so this is more of a pick for future justification. Someday we’ll be able to look back and say “why would anyone doubt Vizquel’s HoF case??” That day may not be today, but he should still get the nod.

Billy Wagner:

Like Vizquel and defensive maestros, Wagner’s breed of relief pitchers get no love from the WAR machine. But of the three relievers on this ballot, Wagner has the best stats. A 27.7 WAR and 187 ERA+ bests Joe Nathan and Jonathan Papelbon, and both of them are only on their first year of eligibility anyway. You gotta have at least one RP represent in this year’s class, and I say it should be Wagner.

Who Will Get the Real Votes?

As fun as it is to pretend I have an opinion that matters, the reality is I don’t. These players will have to deal with the gauntlet that is the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. I think most of my picks will make it in, but I’m a little afraid of the likes of Wagner and Vizquel. We’ll see who gets picked and who gets snubbed in the coming weeks. Let me know who you’d pick on your ballots!

Featured Image Source: @NotMrTibbs, Twitter.com

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– Pat Shuman (@PShu1996 on Twitter) Check out my other articles here!

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