2015 Hall of Fame Ballot
Earlier this week, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) released the 2015 ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. This article looks at the candidates on the 2015 Hall-of-Fame ballot. This is the third year for which I have written such an article: see 2013 and 2014. I also wrote an article that looked at what the 2014 election results might have looked like in the absence of the 10-player ballot limit.
Over the next month or so, I will be writing (fairly brief) articles on each of the players on this year's Hall-of-Fame ballot. These articles will be linked at the end of this article as they are posted.
The first table of this article looks at the 34 players on the ballot as measured by Player won-lost records. In a separate article, I looked at players already in the Hall of Fame and Hall of Merit and how their careers look measured by Player won-lost records. In that article, I identified Willie Stargell as perhaps the most typical Hall-of-Famer as measured by Player won-lost records and Reggie Smith as perhaps the most typical player in the Hall of Merit but not the Hall of Fame. I have included Stargell and Smith in the table below to give some sense of how this year's candidates compare to existing Hall-of-Fame (and Hall of Merit) standards.
|2015 Hall of Fame Ballot
Player Won-Lost Records, sorted by pWORL
|Randy 'Big Unit' Johnson|
|Pedro J. Martinez|
|Tim Raines Sr.|
|Brian S. Giles|
Keep in mind that Willie Stargell is an average Hall-of-Famer. There are 8 players on this year's Hall-of-Fame ballot with more career pWins over replacement level (pWORL) than Stargell and an additional 3 players (Bagwell, Piazza, and McGwire) with more career pWins over positional average (pWOPA) than Stargell. Removing context and shifting to eWins brings at least two more players even with Stargell, Sheffield and Walker.
That's 13 players who are not just qualified for the Hall of Fame, but, essentially would be qualified for a Hall of Fame that was only half as large as the real one.
If we shift our standard down to Reggie Smith and recognize that even he is not the floor but solidly above minimum standards, I count at least 17 players for whom a strong statistical Hall-of-Fame case can be made.
Recent Debuts in Historical Context
The group of players making their debut on the 2015 Hall-of-Fame ballot is the third consecutive class of extremely strong candidates. To give a sense of just how impressive the last three debut classes have been, the top 10 players who first appeared on a Hall-of-Fame ballot in 2013, 2014, or this year, as measured by pWins over replacement level, are compared to the top 10 players for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records (most games since 1921) who debuted in 1983 or earlier. I chose 1983 because that is the season before the debut season of 2013 Hall-of-Fame ballot debut candidate Roger Clemens.
That's a lot of exceptional Hall-of-Fame candidates to sort through. Four players who have debuted on the last three ballots are among the top 10 players in pWORL for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records and a fifth candidate (Pedro Martinez) beats several of the players on the "Everybody Else" table in career pWOPA. Perhaps even more striking are the names missing from the left-hand table. A top 10 list of the last three Hall-of-Fame debut classes doesn't have room for a player with 3,000 career hits (Craig Biggio) and two players with 500 home runs (Sheffield and Sosa). Recent Hall-of-Fame ballots have seen a true embarrassment of riches.
As I've written about before, it's a damn shame that the BBWAA limits the number of players for whom a voter can choose.
Performance-Enhancing Drugs and the Hall of Fame
Unfortunately, lately, it has become impossible to talk about the Hall of Fame without bumping up against the subject of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). This is not a topic that I'm particularly keen on discussing here. My interest is in the data and, as far as the data are concerned, a home run is a home run and a Player win is a Player win, regardless of what a player did to hit that home run or earn that Player win. I gave my opinion on PEDs in baseball in my first Hall-of-Fame ballot article about the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot if anybody cares about my opinion.
The Individual Players on the 2015 Hall of Fame Ballot
Over the next several weeks, I will write up an article about each of the 34 players on the 2015 Hall of Fame ballot. For the most part, these will not be advocacy articles: plenty of other people will post plenty of those. But hopefully, they will be interesting articles that may reveal something new and/or interesting, or at least a little fun, about these players, using Player won-lost records. I hope you enjoy them.
Links to these articles will be added to this article as these articles are posted.
2015 Veterans' Committee Hall-of-Fame Ballot
2015 BBWAA Hall-of-Fame Ballot
Predicted Outcome of the 2015 BBWAA Hall-of-Fame Voting
Analysis of My 2015 BBWAA Hall-of-Fame Voting Predictions
Final Analysis of 2015 BBWAA Hall-of-Fame Election Results and a First Look at the 2016 BBWAA Hall-of-Fame Election
All articles are written so that they pull data directly from the most recent version of the Player won-lost database. Hence, any numbers cited within these articles should automatically incorporate the most recent update to Player won-lost records. In some cases, however, the accompanying text may have been written based on previous versions of Player won-lost records. I apologize if this results in non-sensical text in any cases.
List of Articles