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2022 MLB Hall of Fame Candidates, Who Gets In and Who Doesn't

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The 2022 MLB Hall of Fame class is fast approaching and will be decided on January 25. A 75% approval is needed to get into the MLB Hall of Fame and some players are creeping up to that number and some won't even get close.

There are some players that should definitely be in the Hall of fame, on paper they're clear-cut Hall of famers. Their records, stat numbers and overall accomplishments are unquestioned. However, past allegations of Android use and performance enhancers will likely keep them out. I'm here to give the stats, then give what I think should happen and will happen this year's vote. I'll break down some of the notable candidates for this year's Hall of Fame and will they get in or not.

Honorable Mention

Andy Pettitie

Jake Peavy

John Papelbon

Jeff Kent

Scott Rolen

Mark Teixeira

Billy Wagner

Ryan Howard

Barry Bonds

Photo Credit: New York Times

Barry Bonds is a Hall of Famer in any era. His numbers are otherworldly. He’s the only player to be in the 500-500 club, having hit 500 over home runs and stolen over 500 bases in his career. He’s a 7-time MVP, he holds the all time and single season home run record.

But Bonds will be forever linked to PED usage. Sports writers say Bonds, along with others, damaged the integrity of baseball by taking substances to give them a competitive edge. It disqualifies Bonds in many voters’ eyes, but to me everyone benefited from the PED use. From Bud Selig to the owners to the writers, everyone got rich but only the player are suffering. I would vote him in because there's nothing or about the game built on cheating, segregation and other lies they don't tell you.

Roger Clemens

Photo Credit: Call to the Pen

Another first ballot Hall of Fame pitcher who gets lumped in with Bonds and company. Roger Clemens is in my opinion the greatest pitcher of the modern era. The Rocket finished his career with 354 wins, a 3.12 ERA, 4,672 strikeouts (third-most all time) and 7 Cy Young Awards.

But Clemens' PED usage came before rules regarding PEDs were defined by MLB. To me, the league turned a blind eye until they were forced to police themselves. This is another player that just needs to get in based on numbers. Leave the morality cause at home.

Prince Fielder

Photo Credit: SB Nation

The son of Tigers great Cecil Fielder, Prince Fielder was an imposing figure at the plate During Prince Fielder's 12 year career, he was one of the best first baseman in the game. He finished with a strong .285 batting average and 319 home runs. He was a 6 time All-Star and 3 time Silver Slugger winner.

The biggest argument against Prince Fielder is his longevity. Fielder only managed 6,853 career plate appearances in his career. It was ultimately nagging neck injuries that really halted his career and forced him into retirement in 2016. If he had finished his career, he would likely have the numbers to get in. But I think he falls short.

Todd Helton

Photo Credit: USA Today

Todd Helton is an interesting name because people will say his numbers are a product of Coors Field and the mile high altitude in Denver. But Todd Helton’s raw numbers can't be ignored when you start breaking it down. Helton's batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage slash records at the magical .300/.400/.500 numbers. Helton’s triple-slash finished at .316/.414/.539.

Regardless if you had a bias against Rockies players, everyone knew that he was a damn good ball player. My biggest issue with Helton is he never win an MVP Award. He was robbed in 2005 of the awards because he led all of Major League Baseball in doubles, RBI, batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS. The award went to Albert Pujols. Helton was also an underrated fielder as he was 4th among all qualified first basemen in Defensive Runs Saved from 2000 to 2010. Helton would get my vote in any ballpark.

Torii Hunter

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Torii Hunter’s Hall of Fame case can swing on both sides of the fence. Looking at his numbers only is misleading but if you put them in context then he's a clear Hall of Famer.

Because Hunter spent most of his great career in center field forces you to assess his defensive impact with his offensive impact. Hunter was one of the great defensive center fielders we have ever seen. Hunter also finished his career with 353 home runs, which is top 10 all-time for a player who spent most of their career in center field. Hunter also tallied 498 doubles which is the 7th most all-time. Hunter was a 5-time All-Star, won 9 consecutive Gold Glove Awards as a center fielder, and was a 2-time Silver Slugger Award winner. A decade as an elite center field defender makes for a strong case

When compared to other Hall of Fame center fielders, Hunter has as good a case as any player at his position. He has the longevity, defense, stats to get in. But the fact that Andruw Jones, the best defensive CF of his era, can't get into the Hall of Fame really makes Hunter's bid an uphill battle. But if you keep out the players with gaudy numbers because they used PEDs, you have to let the players with average numbers who didn't use in. Hunter has my vote.

Andruw Jones

Photo Credit: USA Today

Andruw Jones should be in the Hall of Fame by now. How he hasn’t been inducted into the Hall of Fame already really pisses me off. Jones is considered one of the greatest defensive center fielders in MLB history. However, Jones is in his fifth year of eligibility, and hasn't received 50 percent of the votes on any of the ballots. That's a joke.

Jones finished his career with 434 home runs (348 in center field; 5th all-time). Jones never won an MVP but he had more MVP-caliber seasons. Jones led the league in home runs and RBIs in 2005 and finished second in MVP voting. Jones won the Gold Glove Award at center field every year from 1998 to 2007. I really hope the writers get this one right and vote him in

Tim Lincecum

Photo Credit: SB Nation

This is the classic argument of stats versus longevity, how much value do you put into hardware? If you look at Tim Lincecum’s awards to other Hall of Famer pitchers, Lincecum is a Hall of Famer. The biggest problem is that he won all of his awards during a dominant four year run.

Lincecum was a key piece to the San Francisco Giants’ dynasty in the early 2010's. Timmy was the ace during the 2010 World Series run. He was the best pitcher in baseball during 2008-2011 when he won 2 Cy Young Awards. His highs are high, but his lows to end his career were really low. I don't think he gets into Cooperstown, but he will make a strong case.

Justin Morneau

Photo Credit: Call to the Pen

Justin Morneau has an interesting case for the Hall. Morneau won his only MVP Award in 2006 and was a batting champion in 2014. He had a solid career that dipped towards the end before he had a resurgence with the Colorado Rockies. Morneau was a 4 time All Star, 2 time Silver Slugger, and finished with a solid .281 batting average.

As a first baseman, Morneau's power numbers aren't impressive (247 home runs and 985 RBIs). He’s only ever led the league in 4 categories; batting average, games played, sacrifice flies, and intentional walks. He likely isn't a first ballot Hall of Famer, but I think he might eventually get in. Depending on his first year percentage range will tell how long it takes for him to get in.

Joe Nathan

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Joe Nathan is one of the great closers in the history of baseball. Nathan will always be overshadowed by the G.O.A.T. Mariano Rivera, but it’s not fair to knock him for not being Rivera. Nathan finished his career with a 2.87 ERA, 976 strikeouts and 377 saves. He finished his career 8th all time in saves for a solid Twins ball club.

Win Probability Added (WPA) is the stat that relievers should be held to. Joe Nathan finished his career with at least 20 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and a Win Probability Added over 30. There are only five other pitchers to accomplish this: Dennis Eckersley, Goose Gossage, Hoyt Wilhelm, Mariano Rivera, and Trevor Hoffman. That pushes him into Cooperstown for me.

David Ortiz

Photo Credit: USA Today

David Ortiz should be a first ballot Hall of Famer. There would be no debate normally, but his failed drug test in 2003 is the only stain on his career. Ortiz’s failed test was never supposed to be leaked. David Ortiz’s failed test shouldn’t affect his Hall of Fame status but it’s debatable that PEDS may have had an effect on his career. He was a below average player in Minnesota (.232 BA) but above average in Boston (.291 BA).

But Ortiz’s numbers are Hall of Fame worthy in any era. He was a 10-time All-Star, a 3-time World Series champion, and a 7-time Silver Slugger winner. Ortiz finished his career with a .286 batting average, 2,472 hits, 541 home runs and 1,768 RBIs. No debate, he’s in if I take my PED bias out. But I feel he’ll get the votes because he was officially tested and never came up negative.

Manny Ramírez

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Manny Ramírez is a little more difficult to defend because not only did he get caught using PEDs, he got caught twice. When he got caught the rules were well-defined and restricted certain substances. He served suspensions for the positive tests so it’s hard to walk in a gray area.

The numbers are impressive, Ramírez was a 12-time All-Star, 2-time World Series champion, 9-time Silver Slugger award winner, 6 straight seasons with an OPS over 1.000. Ramirez finished his career with a .312 batting average, 2,574 hits, 555 home runs, and 1,831 RBIs.

He still holds the MLB record for most RBI in a single season since integration (165). Manny drove in more runs than David Ortiz in 400 less plate appearances. Ramírez also has better career numbers than Ortiz. But Manny’s PEDs usage that isn’t rumor or alleged will keep him out of Cooperstown.

Alex Rodríguez

Photo Credit: USA Today

A-Rod put together a Hall of Fame career. However, like Ramírez, it’s almost impossible to defend him because he used PEDs when the rules were set up banning them. Rodríguez has done a remarkable job fixing his public image as a commentator with MLB Network and in the business world. A-Rod apologized for his PED usage and told players not to follow in his footsteps much like the great Mickey Mantle admitted he wasn’t a role model near the end of his life.

Rodríguez’s case for Cooperstown is so strong because he is arguably the top 5 shortstop and top 5 third baseman in the history of baseball. A-Rod’s accomplishments are insane: a .295 batting average, 696 home runs, 2,086 RBIs, over 2,000 runs scored, 3,115 hits, over 300 stolen bases. A-Rod is the only player in MLB history to achieve all of those feats. He was also a 14-time All-Star, 3-time AL MVP, 10-time Silver Slugger and 2 Gold Glove Awards.

The only thing that will keep Rodríguez is his PED usage. A-Rod’s apology and PR clean up will go a long way, but the writers are making an example of the PED users. I don't think he gets in this year or at all.

Jimmy Rollins

Photo Credit: USA Today

So Jimmy Rollins is one of the hardest cases for or against the Hall. He has some impressive numbers, but I don’t know if he was the best at his position all-time. He certainly was during his playing career but there are shortstops I would take over him.

Rollins made three All-Star Game appearances in his career and won the NL MVP in 2007. Rollins led the NL 4 times in triples, and once each in runs, stolen bases, and stolen base percentage. Rollins also won the Gold Glove Award four times, as well as the Silver Slugger Award, and the Roberto Clemente Award. He’s the Phillies career leader in at bats (8,628), hits (2,306), doubles (479), and power-speed number (292.5), second in games played (2,090) and stolen bases (453), and third in runs scored (1,325), triples (111), and stolen base percentage (82.66).

Rollins has hardware and impressive numbers to get the nod for me, especially if you are keeping players out for PEDs. Rollins never used and achieve heights anyway, make the plaque now.

Curt Schilling

Photo Credit: USA Today

Here’s another borderline player that somehow gets the short-end of the stick. Curt Schilling pitched in the juiced ball era and was one of the top pitchers for a while. Schilling’s career ERA (3.46) is the lowest of any starting pitcher on the ballot. One of my biggest problems is he never won a Cy Young Award, however he did finish 2nd in voting three times. He’s got the ERA numbers, 216 wins, 3,116 career strikeouts, a World Series title, plus a World Series MVP.

What’s killing Schilling is non-baseball actions and comments. His racist, xenophobic, and anti-journalist comments are keeping him out of the Hall. Schilling's time spent serving on Steve Bannon’s border wall group is the biggest red flag. That group allegedly “defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors” during their run. Schilling seems content not getting in as he asked to be taken off the 2022 ballot. He’s in his final year of eligibility for the Hall of fame, and I don’t see anyone voting him in. He was less than 4% away from induction last year, but he’s just making it easy to leave him off this year..

Gary Sheffield

Photo Credit: GettyImages

Gary Sheffield was one of the most imposing hitters of his time. His numbers are impressive, but the links to PEDs are what’s hurting his case. Sheffield had the magical .300/.400/.500 slash line during his prime years (.304 batting average, .411 on-base percentage, and .551 slugging percentage). Sheffield finished with a stellar .292 batting average, 2,689 hits, 509 home runs and 1,676 RBIs

Sheffield clearly has the numbers to be in Cooperstown, but his links to PEDs are just going to keep him out. I would vote him in but the writers aren’t as forgiving as I am..

Sammy Sosa

Photo Credit: The Score

So there are levels to the PED / Hall of Famer argument. There are people that were caught using, people that were positive before the rules were changed and people that we suspect used but we have no proof. Sammy Sosa falls into the latter category with David Ortiz. While he never was publicly caught, he was on a list and we suspect he used.

We all know his numbers didn’t really take off until his 5th year and that’s a direct correlation to his suspected usage. Sammy’s 6-year stretch in the 90s rivals anyone. From 1997-2002, Sosa hit 328 home runs and drove in 824 RBIs. Sosa finished his career with .273 batting average, 2,408 hits, 609 home runs and 1,667 RBIs

But the The New York Times article that reported Sosa was on the list of players who had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003 has crushed his Hall of Fame chances. The first year of eligibility he only got 12% of the votes and the number has dipped as low as 6% one year. He should get in, but he just won’t get the vote.

Omar Vizquel

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The pure offensive numbers for Omar Vizquel won’t get him into the Hall. Vizquel’s HOF case is based on his stellar defense and career durability at the shortstop position. Vizquel ended up playing more games than anyone else at shortstop. Vizquel may have tallied over 2,877 hits and over 400 stolen bases, but because he played so long it almost works against him. People will say he’s a compiler but a .272 career batting average just tells me he was better for longer.

He was one of the greatest defensive shortstops we ever saw. He’s easily compared to Ozzie Smith, and Smith is a Hall of Famer. Smith won 13 career Gold Gloves compared to Vizquel‘s 11 Gold Gloves. Off the field issue may be playing a part in his HOF induction (sexual assault allegation and domestic abuse). But he is a Hall of Fame level player, so I’d let him in.

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