Prediction: Former Astros fall short in Baseball Hall of Fame voting
With the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame class to be announced today, things aren’t shaping up well for many former Astros on the ballot.
If you’re like me, you’ve been following Ryan Thibodaux’s Hall of Fame voting tracker like a hawk for the past month. As writers reveal their ballots publicly, we get a greater sense of who may get in this year and who’ll be left out. Several former Astros are on the ballot, though it doesn’t look like any will gain entry this year.
As of this writing, Thibodaux’s vote tracker has Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay and Edgar Martinez with good chances of election, with Mike Mussina right on the fence. More than half of the total ballots have been made public, so there’s a lot of information, but also a lot missing.
As things stand at noon CST on January 22, here’s how it appears things will shake out for those who’ve worn a Houston uniform. To recap the basics, a player must be named on 75% of ballots to gain induction and must be named on at least 5% to remain on the ballot next year.
Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt
I’m lumping these two together because they’re in the exact same boat. They’re both sitting at 0.9%, having received just two votes each. Since non-public ballots tend to be stingier than public ones, it would take nothing short of a miracle for Berkman and Oswalt to get to the 5% threshold.
It’s a shame, too. Neither is a surefire candidate but they at least deserved further consideration and debate. The 10-player limit on ballots essentially deprived them of that. Their cases could be reexamined by a Veterans Committee in the future, but it looks like they’re dropping off the writers’ ballots now. CTH recently examined Berkman’s Hall of Fame case in detail.
Wagner was sitting at 16.7% as of this writing, so he’s got a good shot to remain on the ballot next year. It’ll take some work to get him to that 75% mark before his time runs out (he’s in his fourth year of eligibility, with 10 being the maximum).
His final tally will likely be a little lower, but I’d peg him to end up around 12% or so. He received 11.1% in 2018, so he should be around there again. As one of the most dominant closers the game has seen, he deserves to remain on the ballot.
Clemen’s fate is tied to fellow tainted star Barry Bonds, as both are looked at almost the same way by all writers. From a sheer numbers standpoint, they’re among the best to ever play. But the cloud of steroids has kept them off many writers’ ballots.
Clemens was sitting at 71.8% as of this writing, so he’s certainly close. He was named on 57.3% of ballots in 2018, and I’d expect him to end up north of 60% once this year’s results are released. He’ll have three more years of eligibility left, so he’s got a legitimate chance to make it eventually.
Kent was named on 16.7% of public ballots as of this writing, so he’s nowhere close to getting in. But he should remain on the ballot, though his chances seem slim of getting to 75% in the next four years before his eligibility runs out.
Helping his case is that he’s one of the best-hitting second basemen of all time, delivering power numbers that few others at his position have. He was named on 14.5% of ballots in 2018, and I would expect him to end up near that total again this year.
In his first year on the ballot, Pettitte sits at 6.6% on public ballots thus far. It’s going to be a close shave to see if he ends up with the total 5% needed to remain on the ballot next year. CTH’s Brian Murray looked into his resume recently.
I’m of the opinion that Pettitte falls a little short of being a Hall of Famer, but he does have a legitimate case. If he can stay on the ballot, his chances should go up a little each year. I’m thinking he’ll slide in just above that 5% threshold to remain on the ballot.
The onetime Astros pitcher has a strong numbers case, with more than 3,000 strikeouts and a great postseason resume. Some controversial views and statements have scared off a few voters, but he’s getting close.
In his seventh year on the ballot, Schilling was sitting at 70% as of this writing. After getting 51.2% in 2018, he should end up above 60%. With three years left, he should get in before his time is up.
The former AL MVP has yet to receive a vote on any public ballot. His chances of getting to the 5% threshold are essentially zero. No suspense here, Astros fans.
***Statistics courtesy of Ryan Thibodaux and Baseball-Reference***