Now that the 2016 Hall of Fame results have been announced I thought it would be fun to take a look at what some upcoming classes might look like. Here are my predictions for every Hall of Fame class through 2026.
Jeff Bagwell (7th ballot)
Tim Raines (10th ballot)
Trevor Hoffman (2nd ballot)
Last year of eligibility:
Chipper Jones (1st ballot)
Jim Thome (1st ballot)
Vlad Guerrero (2nd ballot)
Mariano Rivera (1st ballot)
Roy Halladay (1st ballot)
Ivan Rodriguez (3rd ballot)
Last year of eligibility: Larry Walker, Jeff Bagwell
Derek Jeter (1st ballot)
Curt Schilling (8th ballot)
Last year of eligibility:
Mike Mussina (8th ballot)
The crowded ballot is no longer a real thing at this point. Going forward I think the voters return to electing 1-2 players a year.
Now that it’s 2022 I’m also predicting who will retire as the newcomers to the ballot at this point are still active.
Ichiro Suzuki (1st ballot)
This is the final year that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are eligible. I don’t see them getting in. There are too many writers who refuse to even consider voting for anyone with a direct link to steroids. Even with many suspected guys going in leading up to this point I don’t see those two clearing 75%.
Last year of eligibility: Mike Mussina, Jeff Kent
David Ortiz (2nd ballot)
Ortiz failed the initial survey test in 2003 but claims he never knowingly took steroids or PEDs of any kind. He has since been a vocal advocate for increased testing and punishments for those caught using. His case is complicated, he may even have to wait a few more years but he will have to write an induction speech at some point.
Last year of eligibility: Gary Sheffield
I think the lack of any blue chip holdover candidates and the drought of top tier newcomers will cause another BBWAA shutout in 2024.
Last year of eligibility: Trevor Hoffman, Billy Wagner
Scott Rolen (8th ballot)
Last year of eligibility: Ivan Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez, Jorge Posada
Albert Pujols (1st ballot)
Adrian Beltre (1st ballot)
Pujols’ contract runs through 2021 which wouldn’t make him eligible until 2027 but I’m not convinced he plays out the entire contract. I have him lasting nine of his ten years which might be overshooting how long he sticks around.
The wildcard in all of this is Omar Vizquel. I have no doubt that Vizquel will be a member of the Hall of Fame at some point but I’m not convinced the writers are going to be the ones to put him in. His final year of eligibility is 2027.
To recap I have the BBWAA voting in three players in each of the next three years with two more joining them in 2020. However, after the 2020 class the ballot thins out and almost all of the 1st or 2nd tier Hall of Famers will have gotten in or seen their eligibility expire. This will leave a ballot crowded with borderline guys none of whom will get in right away if at all.
What we don’t know is if any significant changes will be made to voting process or the voters themselves over the next decade. A year ago at this time no one saw the purge of voters who haven’t been active BBWAA members within ten years coming. The Hall is sensitive to the criticism that they are out touch and internally they know they need younger people interested in the museum itself. The Hall of Fame embraces change slowly but ten years is a long time and the voting process could be very different in 2026. I hope it is.
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