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2016 Hall of Fame Ballot



Earlier this week, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) released the 2016 ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. This article looks at the candidates on the 2016 Hall-of-Fame ballot. This is the fourth year for which I have written such an article: see 2013, 2014, and 2015 for my previous articles.

Over the next few weeks, 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 32 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
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Barry Bonds
2,984
462.1315.160.3
90.8
456.8310.260.390.3
Roger Clemens
709
318.2228.251.1
79.6
310.8225.548.776.7
Mike Mussina
537
224.3173.229.6
51.3
218.9170.228.349.6
Alan Trammell
2,289
283.1256.224.4
45.2
277.6256.321.642.2
Curt Schilling
571
207.0172.025.5
44.9
203.3170.624.243.3
Gary Sheffield
2,573
342.0289.817.6
43.4
332.8279.418.443.5
Ken Griffey Jr.
2,671
339.3300.716.5
42.0
345.5293.123.448.8
Jeff Bagwell
2,150
275.4202.422.3
41.3
270.1199.621.239.9
Jeff Kent
2,297
302.6264.818.9
41.1
286.4256.614.936.2
Willie Stargell
2,355
293.6232.318.8
40.1
286.2222.520.541.1
Edgar Martinez
2,055
212.5168.818.4
39.6
211.1166.319.039.9
Jim Edmonds
2,008
256.8210.121.2
39.5
247.1204.519.237.0
Mike Piazza
1,911
214.0174.922.4
38.4
206.5166.922.638.0
Mark McGwire
1,874
220.1158.921.9
36.7
217.3155.722.236.8
Larry Walker
1,983
266.9214.717.2
36.3
261.8208.817.736.5
Tim Raines Sr.
2,481
313.2275.910.7
33.9
317.9274.213.937.2
Reggie Smith
1,984
262.3219.813.0
32.4
262.3215.215.334.6
Fred McGriff
2,458
276.9230.810.0
30.5
266.5221.79.929.7
Sammy Sosa
2,349
313.8281.45.9
29.9
318.0270.513.637.3
Trevor Hoffman
1,034
100.762.316.6
27.4
54.543.63.910.4
Nomar Garciaparra
1,433
184.4165.912.2
25.8
179.4162.411.424.8
Lee Smith
1,021
111.378.213.3
25.1
63.756.01.99.3
Mike Hampton
434
146.2143.09.9
24.3
146.6141.710.725.0
Troy Glaus
1,536
180.6157.610.5
23.8
175.7154.79.622.5
Billy Wagner
853
80.050.412.6
21.4
46.133.25.110.5
Jason Kendall
2,084
196.1195.25.6
20.7
193.3195.14.219.2
Garret Anderson
2,226
266.6264.1-3.2
18.5
256.2254.1-3.217.6
Mike Lowell
1,600
179.3169.13.3
16.8
174.3165.32.815.9
Luis A. Castillo
1,715
203.0204.10.4
16.0
203.5203.31.016.7
Mark Grudzielanek
1,802
209.5217.4-1.5
15.1
206.9211.7-0.116.2
David Eckstein
1,310
156.1156.22.2
14.2
149.9157.9-1.810.0
Mike Sweeney
1,451
133.1128.2-0.9
12.0
135.8121.53.916.5
Randy Winn
1,713
196.8202.8-6.3
9.1
200.3197.0-1.613.7
Brad Ausmus
1,961
140.8159.6-5.6
6.2
144.8162.5-4.97.1


Keep in mind that Willie Stargell is an average Hall-of-Famer. There are 5 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 three more players even with Stargell (in eWORL, eWOPA, or both): Sheffield, Griffey, and Walker.

That's 11 players who are not just qualified for the Hall of Fame, but, would be reasonable candidates 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 necessarily the floor but solidly above minimum standards, I count at least 14 players for whom a reasonably strong statistical Hall-of-Fame case can be made.

Preliminary Prediction of 2016 Hall-of-Fame Election Results

Following the release of 2015 Hall-of-Fame election results, I posted an article that analyzed the results and offered a very early prediction for 2016 voting results. Taking those very early predictions as a starting point, I make a somewhat updated set of predictions next. The first few paragraphs here are repeated from my earlier article.

The average full 2014 Hall-of-Fame ballot included 3.58 names of players who were no longer on the 2015 Hall-of-Fame ballot. These were replaced with 3.05 players who were new to the 2015 Hall-of-Fame ballot and, since these ballots were full by definition, an additional 0.53 votes per ballot for returning players.

The average full 2015 Hall-of-Fame ballot included 3.85 names of players who are no longer on the 2016 Hall-of-Fame ballot - the four players elected last year were all supported overwhelmingly by full-ballot voters. Players debuting on the 2016 Hall-of-Fame ballot seem extremely unlikely to earn 3 Hall-of-Fame votes per ballot like last year's debut class did. Ken Griffey, Jr. will almost certainly fill up one available ballot slot for the overwhelming majority of last year's full-ballot voters. And there are several other candidates with potentially intriguing Hall-of-Fame credentials, including Jim Edmonds, Trevor Hoffman, and perhaps Billy Wagner, Jason Kendall, Troy Glaus, and/or Mike Hampton (not to the mention the sorts of single votes thrown to past players such as Aaron Sele, Jacque Jones, and Darin Erstad, which could be tossed toward Garrett Anderson or David Eckstein this year). But I would expect first-year players to take up an average of maybe 2 votes per ballot and certainly no more than 2.5.
To a large extent, then, the logjam that was such a dominant feature of the 2015 and 2014 (and, to a less-publicized extent, 2013) Hall-of-Fame ballots should be far less of an issue in 2016. If full-ballot voters are seeing 4 ballot spaces opening up and only 2 new players worth filling them, this will go a long way toward enabling full-ballot voters to put most of the players who were ballot-cap casualties last year back on their ballots in 2016. There may still be issues for some voters whose ballot-cap backlog stretches 5 or 6 players deep, but the fact is, it seems very unlikely that this year there will be a significant number of ballot-cap casualties.

What this means, in trying to predict 2016 Hall-of-Fame voting, is that the best starting point for assessing returning candidates is probably not their 2015 vote percentages but is, instead, their 2015 vote percentages including ballot-cap casualties. The next table presents my estimate of 2015 vote percentages, had there been no ballot cap, for the 17 players who appeared on both the 2015 and 2016 Hall-of-Fame ballots. These numbers were derived in this article.

2015 Vote Pct.
(est., incl. Ballot-Cap Casualties)
Player 2015 Vote %
Mike Piazza70.7%
Tim Raines Sr.62.5%
Jeff Bagwell57.2%
Curt Schilling44.3%
Roger Clemens38.3%
Barry Bonds37.5%
Alan Trammell35.5%
Mike Mussina35.0%
Edgar Martinez33.5%
Lee Smith32.4%
Jeff Kent20.6%
Gary Sheffield16.8%
Fred McGriff16.6%
Larry Walker14.8%
Mark McGwire14.4%
Sammy Sosa6.6%
Nomar Garciaparra6.2%
Avg. Names per Ballot 5.4


One additional piece of information has been made available since I performed this analysis in January. For this year's election, the Hall of Fame has undertaken to reduce the list of eligible Hall-of-Fame voters fairly substantially. According to the BBWAA, ballots are being mailed this year to "approximately 475 voting members of the BBWAA." In 2015, there were a total of 549 ballots cast. Presuming that some members will not return ballots this year, this could reduce the number of ballots cast this year by perhaps 75-100 votes. This would reduce the number of votes needed for election by 75% of this total - perhaps 60 - 75.

This raises a new question: how many votes did these players receive from the 75-100 "lost voters"?

The next table represents my first attempt to answer that question. Ryan Thibs put together a spreadsheet that identified 308 of the 549 ballots cast in 2015 (at the time in January that I did my analysis) - the name of the voter and the contents of the voter's ballot (as indicated by the voter). For several candidates, their support was notably different on "Public" ballots and "Non-Public" ballots. My hypothesis here is that 2015 voters who did not receive a ballot in 2016 were more likely to be "Non-Public" voters than "Public" voters, or, more precisely, I assumed that the vote pattern of these "lost voters" mirrored the vote pattern of non-public voters in 2015.

As I said, at the time of my analysis, Thibs had been able to track down 308 of 549 ballots. That left 241 ballots which remained "Non-Public". While it was impossible to identify any of these specific ballots, one can, nevertheless, identify the total votes cast by these 241 voters, based on the publicly released totals for all 549 voters (and the 308 "Public" ballots). As suggested above, the total number of votes in 2016 is likely to be 75-100 fewer than in 2015. Picking the number 80, that would imply that exactly one-third of all 2015 Non-Public ballots would disappear in 2016. To estimate, then, the impact of this change in the electorate on the vote totals of returning candidates, I subtracted one-third of candidates' Non-Public vote totals from the numbers implicit in the previous table (total votes = vote percentage times 549) and converted them to percentages of the new lower total (469 = 549 minus 80).

The results are shown in the next table and form the starting point for my 2016 vote total predictions.

2015 Vote Pct.
(est., incl. Ballot-Cap Casualties)
Player 2015 Vote %
Mike Piazza71.6%
Tim Raines Sr.65.2%
Jeff Bagwell58.4%
Curt Schilling46.7%
Roger Clemens39.0%
Mike Mussina38.4%
Barry Bonds38.4%
Alan Trammell37.3%
Edgar Martinez34.8%
Lee Smith31.3%
Jeff Kent21.7%
Gary Sheffield17.3%
Fred McGriff17.1%
Mark McGwire15.1%
Larry Walker14.3%
Sammy Sosa6.2%
Nomar Garciaparra5.5%
Avg. Names per Ballot 5.6


Mike Piazza
Mike Piazza was the top 2015 vote-getter among players returning for the 2016 Hall-of-Fame ballot. Piazza was named very infrequently as a ballot cap casualty (in fact, he was named exactly once). He did, however, do somewhat better among Public voters than Non-Public voters, so removing some of the latter improved his expected vote percentage. If the total number of ballots in 2016 is 469, then the number of votes needed for election will be 352.

The above number leaves Piazza only 16 votes shy of election. In 2014 and 2015, amidst the most crowded Hall-of-Fame ballots probably of my lifetime, Mike Piazza was able to gain 55 and then 29 votes (even as the total electorate declined by 22 votes in the latter case). While it presumably gets ever harder to gain votes, the closer one gets to 100% (as there are simply fewer voters available to convert), I would be shocked if Mike Piazza is not able to pick up the 16 votes needed for election in 2016. If I had to pick a number, I would guess somewhere between his gains over the two previous seasons - say, +42 votes (the simple average of 55 and 29).

Tim Raines
The potential good news for Tim Raines is that there were a number of full-ballot voters (10) who apparently considered Tim Raines to be Hall-of-Fame worthyy but were unable to fit him on their 10-person ballot. With the ballot clearing up considerably for 2016, it seems very likely that Tim Raines should be able to pick up most of these votes. Tim Raines also performed better on Public ballots than Non-Public ballots.

Putting these two factors togther, I project a baseline estimate of 65.2% for Tim Raines's support in 2016, which would leave him only 46 votes shy of election.

The optimistic take on Tim Raines's candidacy is to note that Raines gained 39 votes from 2014 to 2015 (and this was with an electorate that declined by 22 votes). Raines's 2015 gains were much more prevalent among non-full-ballot voters - where he gained an estimated 36 votes from 2014 to 2015. Those numbers certainly offer some hope that Raines can continue to increase his vote total and perhaps even make up the full 46 or so votes that he needs to be elected.

There are, however, two notes of caution. First, Raines's gain from 2014 to 2015 mostly just made up for a significant drop in Raines's vote total from 2013 (297 votes, 52.2%) to 2014 (263 votes, 46.1%). Over the past two years, Raines has actually only gained 5 net votes (although the electorate shrank by 20 over this time period). Second, because of a recent change in eligibility standards, Tim Raines only has two more years on the BBWAA ballot.

Still, if Raines can find his way onto the ballots of all of the full-ballot voters who believe him to be Hall-worthy and can repeat his 2014 gains among non-full-ballot voters again in 2015 (or close to it), he could do well enough in 2016 that the combined momentum in 2017 of Raines being the top returning vote-getter (assuming Piazza is elected in 2016) and it being Raines's final ballot could be enough to push him over the top.

As a first guess, I think that Raines could see a gain in vote total over these numbers equal to half of his gain from 2014 to 2015 - i.e., 20 votes, which would push his vote percentage to 69.5%

Jeff Bagwell
In many ways, Jeff Bagwell may be the Hall-of-Fame candidate worth watching most closely. While 3 of the top 4 returning vote getters saw significant increases in support in 2015 (Biggio, Piazza, and Raines), Jeff Bagwell's vote total basically stagnated. He actually lost 4 votes from 2014 to 2015, although the smaller electorate meant that his vote percentage increased slightly, from 54.3% to 55.7%. But that latter number remains lower than Bagwell's vote percentage in both his second and third years on the ballot (2012 and 2013, 56.0% and 59.6%, respectively). And the ballot cap numbers do not suggest a hidden reservoir of support for Bagwell as they do for Raines. Nor did Bagwell do appreciably worse among Non-Public voters than he did among Public voters. Even adding in full-ballot voters who excluded Bagwell because of the ballot cap and removing one-third of Non-Public voters only pushes Bagwell's percentage to 58.5%, which would still be about 1% below the high-water mark of Bagwell's third year on the ballot.

I see three possible explanations and paths going forward.

One possibility, and I think by far the most optimistic for Bagwell, is simply that voters were overwhelmed by the last two exceptionally strong ballots and had no opportunity to really evaluate Bagwell's candidacy. It could be, then, that Bagwell's candidacy will essentially reset in 2016, picking up where it left off in, say, 2012 - when Bagwell's support grew 14.3% (from 41.7% to 56.0%) from his first to second ballot. Bagwell has five years left on the ballot and needs to increase his support by 15-20%. A solid gain in 2016 of 6-8% by Bagwell - into the low-to-mid 60's would put Bagwell back on a path to 75% that would be attainable before his ballot eligibility expires.

A second possibility is that voters have considered Bagwell's case but are simply unpersuaded by it. Using traditional statistics, Bagwell's Hall-of-Fame case is fairly subtle. He wasn't a .300 hitter (barely, he was a career .297 hitter), he failed to hit 500 home runs (he hit 449 and added 488 doubles), he made only 4 All-Star games, he won only one Gold Glove. Digging more deeply, Bagwell's case becomes much stronger - he had a career on-base percentage of .408, he was an excellent base runner and fielder for a first baseman. Controlling for context, for example, his career value is similar to Hall-of-Fame first basemen Eddie Murray and Willie McCovey. If the problem is simply that voters can't see that, Bagwell's case could still be won yet, but may require a more concerted effort at persuading the doubters among the electorate. Given the relatively light rookie class on the 2016 Hall-of-Fame ballot - none of whom are very similar to Bagwell - the electorate could be open to this sort of persuasion to a greater extent than in years past. But half of Bagwell's eligibility has already been used up, and such persuasion could be an increasingly difficult sell.

The third possibility is probably the most damning to Bagwell's candidacy. There are undoubtedly some Hall-of-Fame voters who are reluctant to vote for Jeff Bagwell because of a belief that he might have used steroids during his playing career. It is clear that the number of voters who view verifiable (or even reasonably certain) steroid use as an absolute disqualifier for the Hall of Fame is sufficient to deny election. The question, however, is how many such voters are placing Bagwell into the "known steroid user" bucket. If 30% of the electorate are not voting for Bagwell because they believe he used steroids then, absent some compelling evidence that Bagwell did not use steroids (and it's very difficult to prove a negative), his Hall-of-Fame candidacy would seem doomed.
I do not really have a good feel for which of these three possibilities is the most likely. As such, my first guess as to Bagwell's 2016 vote total would probably be something very similar to the number in the above table, perhaps plus 5-10 votes. I think that 60% is probably the magic number for Bagwell. If his 2016 vote total ends up below 60%, I suspect that the second and third possibilities raised above are the dominant factors affecting Bagwell's case and I would bet against him being able to overcome them in time to be elected by the BBWAA.

Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina
Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina potentially stand to gain more from the clearing of the last two Hall-of-Fame ballots than anybody else. In both 2014 and 2015, Mike Mussina was named as a ballot-cap casualty more frequently than anybody else. The reason for this seems fairly clear: the Hall of Fame has just elected five starting pitchers who were exact contemporaries of Mussina (and Schilling) to the Hall of Fame over the past two years. In 2016, Schilling and Mussina should move from the 4th- and 5th-best "steroid-free" starting pitchers on the ballot to the 1st- and 2nd-best "steroid-free" starting pitchers on the ballot.

Thanks primarily to gaining back ballot-cap losses, Schilling and Mussina stand poised to surge to 47% and 38% support this year - up dramatically from their support two years ago (in 2014) of 29% and 20%, respectively. And with no better starting pitcher candidates coming on the ballot any time soon, I would expect their support in 2016 to actually be at least somewhat stronger than that and to grow from there.

The one possible downside caution might be if Hall-of-Fame voters are tired of voting for pitchers. That is, there may be some reluctance to believe that 7 pitchers from within the same 15-20 year period should be elected. Historically, however, this has not tended to be an issue. From 1990 through 1999, the BBWAA elected 8 starting pitchers to the Hall of Fame in 10 years. From 1972 through 1976, the BBWAA elected 6 starting pitchers in 5 years. I don't expect either Schilling or Mussina to be elected in 2016, but I think it's quite plausible to think that the BBWAA could elect 7 starting pitchers in, say, 8 years, from 2014 through 2021 (which would be Schilling's 9th and Mussina's 8th year on the ballot).

As a first guess for 2016, I could see both Schilling and Mussina gaining an additional 20 votes or so above and beyond the numbers implicit in the preceding table.

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens
Hall of Fame support for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens has held fairly steady in their three years on the ballot, at 35-39%. And, in both 2014 and 2015, I found very few writers who excluded either Bonds or Clemens (or both) because of the ballot cap. So, my first guess would be to expect support for Bonds and Clemens to continue to hold relatively constant in 2016 (and thereafter), at something just under 40%.

There are two potential pieces of evidence against this expectation. First, reading through Hall-of-Fame articles from full-ballot voters one sometimes gets the sense that having a full ballot - that does not include Bonds or Clemens - provides a convenient excuse to not have to reconsider one's position on steroids (e.g., "And again, I did not even factor Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa into the equation.") With the ballot logjam easing up, some full-ballot voters may decide to start "factor[ing] Barry Bonds [and] Roger Clemens [back] into the equation." And some voters who perform such a re-evaluation may change their mind in a way more favorable to Bonds and Clemens.

The second piece of evidence, which, I think, supports the above paragraph, is that there is some evidence - possibly weak, perhaps not statistically significant, but there nevertheless - that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens did better among non-full-ballot voters in 2015 (~19% support) than in 2014 (~15%). Even 19% support is, of course, far below what would be necessary to actually elect Bonds or Clemens to the Hall of Fame - something that is certainly not going to happen in 2016. But it is a move in that direction. As a first guess of Bonds and Clemens vote totals for 2016, I would probably still guess that they will hold fairly constant beyond the gains implicit in the above table. But they could see some improvement. In the long run, I think the magic number for Bonds and Clemens is 50%. If there comes a time when a majority of the BBWAA votes for Bonds and Clemens, there might be a shift in the electorate away from a reflexive rejection of "known steroid users" with more of a shift toward forcing voters to more affirmatively make the case why Bonds and Clemens are NOT Hall-of-Famers. For the 2016 election, I think the magic number might be 40% - if Bonds and Clemens can break 40% in 2016, that would be a clear sign of improvement in their support.

Everybody Else
Frankly, nobody else who will be returning to the 2016 Hall-of-Fame ballot looks to be an obvious candidate to gain any traction.

The 2016 ballot will be the final appearance on a BBWAA ballot for two candidates here - Mark McGwire and Alan Trammell. It is fairly common historically for candidates to get a final-year bump. I could see this adding perhaps 10 votes to each of Trammell's vote total. If I had to guess, however, I would guess that the final-ballot bump would be smaller for McGwire (if he gets any bump at all), perhaps no more than 5 votes.

As far as candidates who may see lower vote totals than shown above, my best guess would be candidates with very low totals and/or those whose vote totals have been trending down in recent years. Specifically, I could see the vote totals for Nomar Garciaparra, Gary Sheffield, Lee Smith, and Sammy Sosa, coming in somewhat lower than in the previous table - perhaps by 5 votes apiece.

With respect to everybody else, the optimistic scenario for most of these candidates may simply be if the average names per ballot remains near the historic high levels of 2014 and 2015 (8.4 names per ballot). As shown above, the numbers in the above table translate into 5.6 names per ballot. Adding in the totals laid out in my discussion of specific candidates pushes that total up to 5.8. This leaves room for an additional 2.6 names per ballot available if voters want to continue to match 2014 and 2015 voting levels - perhaps even more if the average number of names per ballot were lower for the 75-100 "lost voters" in this year's election. I would guess that new candidates are unlikely to end up taking up even a combined 2 votes per ballot, which could leave room for some additional votes for returning candidates. More likely, however, I suspect that most of the remaining votes per ballot will simply be lost relative to the 2015 ballot. Nevertheless, I tweaked the above numbers all up by a couple of votes to allow for the possibility that voters may continue to average 8+ names per ballot.

First-Year Players
Ken Griffey, Jr.
Ken Griffey, Jr., will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016. I am probably more confident in this prediction than in any other prediction I am making here - regardless of how fuzzy some of those other predictions are. The simple fact is there's no real reason why any voter would vote against Ken Griffey, Jr. True, his post-age 30 career was something of a disappointment, but yet, he still ended up hitting 630 home runs (6th all-time) and driving in 1,836 runs (15th all-time). He made 13 All-Star teams, he won 10 Gold Gloves (1 in every year of the 1990's). He won an MVP award and finished in the top 5 in MVP voting 4 other times.

The two arguments I could maybe have thought someone might try against Griffey would be either "I won't vote for any home run hitters from the 'Steroid Era'" or "I won't vote for anybody whose last good season was at age 29". Except that the BBWAA just elected Frank Thomas - 521 career home runs, dramatically better in his 20's than in his 30's - in 2014. And Ken Griffey added Gold-Glove centerfield defense.

Picking a round number for Griffey's vote total this year, I'd say probably something in the neighborhood of 95%.

Trevor Hoffman
Among players debuting on the 2016 Hall-of-Fame ballot, I would expect the second-highest vote total to go to Trevor Hoffman. Lee Smith has lasted 13 years on the Hall of Fame ballot (which, because of a rule change, Trevor Hoffman has no chance of matching), peaking at 50.6% support in 2012 on the basis of having held the career record for saves when he retired, with 478.

Trevor Hoffman retired with 601 career saves. So, logically, one might expect all of Lee Smith's supporters to also become Trevor Hoffman supporters. On the other hand, Lee Smith held the career saves record when he debuted on the Hall-of-Fame ballot (with 42.3% support his first year). Trevor Hoffman does not. Also, while Lee Smith's support peaked at 50.6%, it fell to 29.9% and 30.2% the last two years and, at least in 2015, the evidence I checked found relatively few writers who would have voted for Lee Smith but for the ballot cap.

Still, 601 is quite a bit greater than 478, and this looks to potentially be a fairly favorable ballot for marginal debut candidates. I don't have a great deal of confidence regarding what kind of Hall-of-Fame support to expect for Hoffman: perhaps 40-50%?

Jim Edmonds
The only other player debuting on the 2016 ballot who I think has any chance of actually being elected to the Hall of Fame is probably Jim Edmonds. Edmonds has some things going for him - a career OPS of .903, OPS+ of 132, 393 home runs, 8 Gold Gloves. Measured by Player won-lost records, Edmonds looks much stronger, for example, than Hall-of-Famer Andre Dawson.

His traditional Hall-of-Fame markers are not that impressive, though - 4 All-Star games, 2 top-5 MVP finishes (a 4th and a 5th), no "black ink" (i.e., he never led his league in any offensive categories). Most damaging, I think, to his candidacy in 2016 is that Jim Edmonds is debuting at the same time as another candidate with, essentially, the same short-hand Hall-of-Fame case - power-hitting, Gold-Glove-winning, centerfielder. Except that Ken Griffey, Jr. was much better.

Thinking about the candidates currently on the ballot, Larry Walker might be my best guess as the candidate most similar to Jim Edmonds, in terms of expected vote totals, which would leave Edmonds staying on the ballot for a second year, but with a long uphill battle to election.

Other Players
Troy Glaus hit 47 home runs as a 23-year-old. But he only hit 30 home runs twice after the age of 25 and was named in the Mitchell Report. He may get a handful of token votes, but that's it.

From age 22 - 26, the second-most similar player to Jason Kendall, as measured by (context-neutral) Player won-lost records, was Yogi Berra. But Kendall suffered a serious wrist injury in his age-27 season (2001), tried to play through it, and never really recovered. He also spent his prime with a series of forgettable Pittsburgh Pirates teams. For a clue to how short-career borderline Hall-of-Fame candidates who spent their prime on a losing small-market team do, see the 2015 vote total of Kendall's one-time teammate, Brian Giles (zero).

For a brief time, Mike Hampton was one of the best pitchers in baseball. Now, he's remembered for failing to live up to the free-agent contract that earned him. He's Kevin Brown without the Mitchell Report reference, but also without the actual Hall-of-Fame worthy statistical record. Brown received 12 Hall-of-Fame votes his one year on the ballot. Hampton will be lucky to get half of that.

Except for saves, Billy Wagner matches up with Trevor Hoffman pretty well statistically. Of course, Trevor Hoffman's Hall-of-Fame case begins (and pretty much ends) with saves. Billy Wagner also matches up pretty well statistically with John Franco, who was one-and-done after receiving 27 votes in his only appearance on a Hall-of-Fame ballot (in 2011).

I don't think there's anybody else debuting on the 2016 ballot that warrants even a one-paragraph dismissal.

Putting all of that together in convenient table format, then, here are my predictions for final BBWAA vote percentages for the 2016 Hall of Fame election. The names in bold are my predictions for who will be elected this year.

2015 Vote Pct.
(Preliminary Estimate)
Player 2015 Vote %
Ken Griffey Jr.95.3%
Mike Piazza81.0%
Tim Raines Sr.69.9%
Jeff Bagwell60.6%
Curt Schilling51.4%
Trevor Hoffman45.2%
Mike Mussina43.1%
Alan Trammell39.9%
Roger Clemens39.4%
Barry Bonds38.8%
Edgar Martinez35.2%
Lee Smith30.7%
Jeff Kent22.2%
Fred McGriff17.5%
Mark McGwire16.6%
Gary Sheffield16.6%
Larry Walker14.7%
Jim Edmonds13.6%
Billy Wagner5.8%
Sammy Sosa5.5%
Nomar Garciaparra4.9%
David Eckstein1.7%
Mike Hampton1.3%
Garret Anderson0.4%
Troy Glaus0.2%
Randy Winn0.0%
Mike Sweeney0.0%
Mark Grudzielanek0.0%
Mike Lowell0.0%
Brad Ausmus0.0%
Jason Kendall0.0%
Luis A. Castillo0.0%
Avg. Names per Ballot 7.5


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 2016 Hall of Fame Ballot
Over the next several weeks, I will write up an article about each of the 32 players on the 2016 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.

2016 Veterans' Committee Hall-of-Fame Ballot
Wes Ferrell
Marty Marion
Frank McCormick
Bucky Walters
2016 BBWAA Hall-of-Fame Ballot
Garret Anderson
Brad Ausmus
Jeff Bagwell
Barry Bonds
Luis Castillo
Roger Clemens
David Eckstein
Jim Edmonds
Nomar Garciaparra
Troy Glaus
Ken Griffey, Jr.
Mark Grudzielanek
Mike Hampton
Trevor Hoffman
Jason Kendall
Jeff Kent
Mike Lowell
Edgar Martinez
Fred McGriff
Mark McGwire
Mike Mussina
Mike Piazza
Tim Raines
Curt Schilling
Gary Sheffield
Lee Smith
Sammy Sosa
Mike Sweeney
Alan Trammell
Billy Wagner
Larry Walker
Randy Winn
2016 Hall-of-Fame Vote: How Good Were My Predictions?

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.

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