2024 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot: 10 things to know, including odds for Alex Rodriguez, Adrián Beltré, more

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The 2024 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot was released Monday. This is the BBWAA ballot, meaning it features players who have been retired at least five years and those who are withheld from previous ballots to be on between 5 and 75% of getting the vote. Here is the full ballot with 26 players.

Players who receive less than 5% of the vote fall off the ballot and those with at least 75% are inducted into Cooperstown as Hall of Famers next summer. Everyone else on the ballot will have 10 chances to enter before they expire. The Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2024 will be announced in January.

Let’s go through the biggest stories on the ballot this year.

1. How high will Beltré’s percentage be?

I can’t see any scenario where Adrián Beltré falls short of the 75% mark, which means he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame next summer. He has over 3,000 hits, over 600 doubles, nearly 500 home runs, over 1,700 RBI, over 1,500 runs, two Platinum Gloves and is generally pretty much loved in the baseball world.

The only real question here is how many voters refuse to check the box next to Beltré’s name and what excuse is used when the box is not checked. We might see something like, “Mike Schmidt got 96.5% of the vote, so Beltré can’t be unanimous!” Don’t forget that the voting percentages are not a definitive ranking and voters should just cast votes based on who should get in without worrying about any other nonsense.

The bottom line is that Beltré gets in, though, otherwise he’s a complete disappointment.

2. Helton will likely get in, but what about Wagner?

Usually when a player gets the kind of momentum Helton has, it leads to a touchdown. Take the recent cases of Larry Walker and Scott Rolen. Todd Helton only received 16.5% of the vote in his first year on the ballot, but check out this improvement in vote percentage in just five years: 16.5, 29.2, 44.9, 52, 72.2.

Basically, it would be surprising to see Helton miss the 75% mark this time around. I have covered his case before.

A bigger question here is elite closer Billy Wagner. Wagner has better rate stats than Trevor Hoffman (look here for more), but it doesn’t have the save number or the workload. It’s been tough to navigate but Wagner has gotten to the point where he has a real vision to do it. After getting no higher than 16.7% in his first four ballots, Wagner rose all the way to 68.1% last year. He’s within striking range, but those last few percentage points for a reliever can be extremely difficult and this is his ninth year – out of a possible 10 – on the ballot. He might do it this year, but at the very least he might have to climb over 72% to have a good hope for next time.

3. Will Beltran make a big gain?

Carlos Beltran’s numbers say he should have made it last year, his first time on the ballot. It wasn’t related to PEDs either, but it was another scandal that sank his vote percentage last year. Beltrán was considered one of the leaders in the Astros’ sign-stealing operation in 2017. I covered its complex issue here.

As a result, he debated with 46.5% of the vote last year.

The players who are linked to PEDs seem to progress at a certain point, depending on how good their numbers were. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens soared into the mid-60s. A-Rod may be settling in the mid-30s, though, and Manny Ramirez hasn’t received more than a third of the vote.

It’s harder to predict what will happen with Beltran, because the sign-stealing thing was different than PEDs. Sometimes voters “punish” a player with a one-time no vote and then start ticking the box for him in year two. It is reasonable to believe that a good number of voters did this with Beltran and will decide to vote for him this time. If he sees a big jump, his chances of getting in will be realistic. If he ends up in the mid-40s again (46.5% last year), he could be in trouble.

4. A-Rod will likely continue to stagnate

Remember, the voting body is constantly changing. BBWAA voters can become extinct after not covering the sport for several years and, of course, some longtime voters die. At the same time, new voters join the party every year, after completing their 10 years of service. I’m a year away from voting, for example. This is to say that the voting body is constantly changing and the more we move forward, the “newer” school the voting body gets.

However, it wasn’t enough for Bonds and Clemens to get all the way to 75%. Also, Alex Rodríguez was suspended due to his connection to PEDs by Major League Baseball, something that never happened to Bonds and Clemens.

A-Rod received 34.3% of the vote in his first year and it was thought that he might be suffering from the first year penalty I mentioned above with Beltran. No. A-Rod received 35.7% of the vote last year.

The best bet is that he finishes around 37% this year and that just isn’t going to cut it, even with seven years left on the ballot.

5. Sheffield’s last chance

Gary Sheffield came out on top with 13.6% over five years on the ballot. He then jumped to 40.6% in his next two ballots, giving hope of finally getting in. The same 40.6% in years seven and eight hurt, but the jump to 55% last year gave some hope.

A 20% bump in his last year on the ballot would be huge. We’ve seen it happen before, but I’m not sure it will happen here for Sheffield. My bet is that he misses somewhere around 65% of the vote, meaning he will have to hope that the Linn Committee will put him in in the future.

I have long been a Sheffield supporter (even as far back as 2015), but there’s only so much I can do for him at this point. Surely everyone’s minds are made up by now.

6. Jones is looking to continue

One of the greatest defensive players in history, Andrew Jones received only 7.3% of the vote in his first year and 7.5 his second. But it has gone 19.4, 33.9, 41.4 and 58.1 since then. Another 16.7 percentage point increase for Jones this season would put him at 74.8%.

Yeah, this could be very close.

The key for Jones now, however, is to see another big jump to bring him within striking distance. This is his seventh time on the ballot, so there is no need to get all the way to 75% this time.

7. Look at Mauer, Utley and maybe Wright

In addition to Beltré, there are very good newcomers, such as Matt Holliday, Adrián González and José Bautista. As for who can get into the Hall of Fame, there are two here with another man who has a chance to stay on the ballot for a while.

Joe Mauer was a three-time batting champion and MVP as a catcher. He scores well in several areas and should make the Hall of Fame someday. It may be this year or it may take several rounds. It’s hard to know yet and I’m having trouble narrowing down a voting percentage window. Not much above, say, 55% would surprise me.

Chase Utley won’t get close to 75% in his first two or three seasons on the ballot. Of that much I am confident. I think there is a chance it will get in eventually and it probably won’t take too much longer. Then again, it might not do at all. He fell short of 2,000 hits (1,885) and finished with some other mediocre counting stats such as 411 doubles, 259 home runs, 1,025 RBI and 1,103 runs. He’s definitely one to watch, though.

I don’t think David Wright will ever make the Hall of Fame, because injuries took away his chances not too different from how they cost Don Mattingly. I think Wright is hanging around on the ballot, maybe even the full 10 years. It will be interesting to see the arguments for him and, ultimately, where his vote percentage ends up this year.

8. Playing the string with Manny, Omar

Former Cleveland teammates Manny Ramírez and Omar Vizquel are in ballot purgatory for different reasons.

Ramírez hit .312 with a 154 OPS+ and collected 547 doubles, 555 homers, 1,831 RBI and two PED suspensions. It was weak in the 20s, percentage-wise, until it jumped to 33.2% last year. I don’t see him getting to 40% and he only has three chances left.

Vizquel was a good defender who collected 2,877 hits in his career, although I long thought his case was overplayed. Regardless, just as Hall’s case was gaining momentum, he pressed his own plea – allegations of domestic violence surfaced. The following summer, he faced ugly allegations of “sexual harassment and disability discrimination” against a bat boy, who has autism. He went up to 19.5% last year and I would expect, if anything, that his poll numbers will continue to fall.

I guess we could throw Andy Pettette in here as well. He got 17% of the vote last year and was linked to PEDs during his career.

9. Can the lower level candidates make significant progress?

I mentioned Walker and Rolen earlier and Helton is going to be on the list soon – maybe even Wagner and Jones, too? – of players who were stuck with a very low percentage of votes and finally gained enough momentum to enter the Hall of Fame.

The following players are hoping to see a similar trajectory: Bobby Abreu (15.4% last year), Jimmy Rollins (12.9), Mark Buehrle (10.8), Francisco Rodríguez (10.8) and Torii Hunter (6.9). The only one I’m sure we won’t see is Hunter. I could see a move from the SABR community for Abreu, Rollins could certainly see a gathering of fanfare and Buehrle has a case for being such a workhorse, especially now in an era where there is a gap in these. And K-Rod has more saves than Wagner.

10. Donation

Adrian Beltré does it with ease. I’ll say about 95%. Helton gets over 80% to go along with it. I feel a three-man class here too, so it’s Wagner, Jones, Sheffield or Mauer. I’ll go with Wagner while Sheffield falls off the ballot and Jones and Mauer are close enough to go together next year.

Adrián Beltré, Billy Wagner and Todd Helton join the Hall of Fame

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