Odds of 2014 BBWAA Hall of Fame Nominees Earning Induction
Hall of Fame voting results won't be announced until Jan. 8, but this year's ballot was announced by the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Tuesday afternoon.
Headlining this year's class of first-time eligible players are former Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and White Sox slugger Frank Thomas. Starter Mike Mussina and second baseman Jeff Kent also figure to get a decent amount of support in their first go-around.
That group will join 17 holdovers from last year, including Craig Biggio, Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza and Tim Raines, all of whom received over 50 percent of the vote.
Last year was the first time since 1996 that not a single person was voted into Cooperstown. To be voted in, each player must be voted-in by 75 percent of the 600 voters in the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Now that we have a look at the ballot and the requirements, here are my projected odds on each of the top candidates earning enshrinement in 2014.
One-and-Done First Timers with Zero Chance
RP Armando Benitez
RP Eric Gagne
RP Todd Jones
SP Hideo Nomo
SP Kenny Rogers
SP Mike Timlin
C Paul Lo Duca
1B Sean Casey
2B Ray Durham
1B Richie Sexson
1B J.T. Snow
LF Moises Alou
RF Jacque Jones
Enough to Stay on Ballot, Zero Chance of Induction
SP Curt Schilling
RP Lee Smith
1B Don Mattingly
1B Fred McGriff
1B Mark McGwire
1B Rafael Palmeiro
SS Alan Trammell
LF Luis Gonzalez (first-timer)
RF Sammy Sosa
RF Larry Walker
LF Barry Bonds
Last year's Hall of Fame ballot asked the question of just how many voters would support Barry Bonds for his numbers and performance before he allegedly used performance-enhancing drugs. The answer was a meager 36.2 percent, as the all-time home run leader did not even receive half of the necessary total.
The chances are slim to none that his support sky rockets to the necessary 75 percent in his second go-around, especially considering how many other options are on the ballot and the resentment he still faces from most of the writers.
At the end of the day, Bonds will earn enough support to hang around on the ballot, but it's hard to see him earning enshrinement anytime soon.
2014 Induction Odds: 1 percent
SP Roger Clemens
A grand total of eight more voters wrote down Rogers Clemens' name than Barry Bonds in what was both players' first time on the ballot last year, and like Bonds the Rocket may have a long wait ahead of him.
PED suspicions will keep Clemens from earning enshrinement anytime soon, despite the fact that statistically he ranks as one of the single greatest pitchers to ever toe the rubber.
He's top 10 all-time in wins (ninth), strikeouts (third), rWAR among pitchers (third) and has the highest fWAR of all-time among pitchers. That is all moot though at this point, as he—like the rest of the players burned during the Steroid Era—remains on the outside of Cooperstown looking in.
2014 Induction Odds: 1 percent
DH Edgar Martinez
The candidacy of Edgar Martinez was an interesting one when he first hit the ballot, as he spent just 592 of his 2,055 career games playing a defensive position, making him the first player to spend the majority of his career at DH with a legitimate Hall of Fame case.
So far he's yet to gain any steam in four years on the ballot, earning 36.2 percent of the vote his first time around and 35.9 percent this past year.
His offensive numbers are not exactly eye-popping, but he is one of just 18 players with over 5,000 at-bats and a .300/.400/.500 career line. Currently, Larry Walker is the only other to accomplish that and not earn enshrinement.
2014 Induction Odds: 5 percent
2B Jeff Kent
An average-at-best defensive second baseman, Jeff Kent finished his career as one of the most prolific offensive players to ever play the position.
He holds the all-time home run record at the position, reaching the 20-HR mark 12 times in his career. He also ranks second in RBI to Rogers Hornsby, eclipsing the 100 mark on eight different occasions.
Add to those numbers an NL MVP award in 2000 and five All-Star appearances, and a strong case can be made for his induction. His chances of being a first-ballot selection seem remote, especially in a deep class, but he should get there eventually.
2014 Induction Odds: 10 percent
LF Tim Raines
After he received just 24.3 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot back in 2008, support for Tim Raines has steadily climbed each season, to an all-time high of 52.2 percent last year.
He lacks any of the traditional counting stat milestones, but his .385 OBP and 808 stolen bases (fifth all-time) is a good indication of just how valuable he was as a table-setter atop the lineup for the Expos and other teams.
Expect his vote total to climb a little higher this season as he continues to work his way towards the needed 75 percent of the vote. Chances are it won't be 2014, but enshrinement is not too far off for Raines.
2014 Induction Odds: 25 percent
1B Jeff Bagwell
Jeff Bagwell has seen his voting support increase each of his first three years on the Hall of Fame ballot, going from 41.7 percent to 56 percent up to 59.6 percent, and given his career body of work chances are he will earn enshrinement before his 15 years on the ballot are up.
However, being on the same ballot as Frank Thomas who played the same position during the same era and put up superior numbers will likely mean Bagwell has to wait at least one more year before making his way to Cooperstown.
The 1994 NL MVP actually has a better rWAR and fWAR than Thomas, but he falls short in the counting numbers like home runs and RBI, and those are still what voters look at above everything else.
2014 Induction Odds: 33 percent
SP Mike Mussina
One of the premier arms of the 1990s and 2000s, Mike Mussina won 15 or more games 11 different times in his career and was the definition of a staff ace during his time with the Baltimore Orioles.
He never won a Cy Young award, but finished in the top 10 in voting nine different times as he was consistently one of the top arms in the game.
His 270 wins leave him short of the magic 300 number, and chances are he won't be a first-ballot selection. However, his candidacy is very strong from a sabermetrics standpoint, as he ranks in the top 25 all-time among pitchers in both rWAR (24th) and fWAR (19th), showing he has earned a place among the all-time greats.
2014 Induction Odds: 45 percent
C Mike Piazza
He was never more than an average defensive backstop at best, but the Hall of Fame candidacy of Mike Piazza is not built on defense, as he is squarely in the argument for the title of best offensive catcher of all time.
He earned just 57.8 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot, but should see that total steadily increase until his eventual enshrinement, as he certainly belongs among the Johnny Bench's and Carlton Fisk's of the world.
Questions about PED use are likely what kept him from being a first-ballot selection, and could keep him out once again in 2014, but before his time on the ballot is up he'll find his way into Cooperstown.
2014 Induction Odds: 50 percent
1B/DH Frank Thomas
A true superstar and one of the faces of Major League Baseball during the 1990s, Frank Thomas put up fantastic numbers in the heart of the Steroid Era and was never once tied to PEDs during his playing days.
The "Big Hurt" won back-to-back AL MVP awards in 1992 and 1993, and has five 40-home run seasons and 11 100-RBI seasons to his credit to go along with five All-Star appearances.
He ranks among the all-time leaders in OBP (20th), SLG (22nd), HR (18th) and RBI (22nd) and has a very good chance of earning first-ballot induction as one of the most feared sluggers of his or any other generation. The only thing that could go against him is the amount of time he spent as a DH.
2014 Induction Odds: 75 percent
2B Craig Biggio
Craig Biggio came the closest of anyone to earning induction last season, earning 68.2 percent of the vote in his first time on the ballot. That leaves him just a handful of votes short, and there's a good chance he gets over the hump in his second go-around.
A member of the elite 3,000-hit club, Biggio is also the all-time leader in hit by pitches while also ranking fifth in doubles and 15th in runs runs scored. His defensive progression from catcher to second base was impressive as well, as he turned himself into a Gold Glove infielder.
Add 414 steals and seven All-Star appearances to the already mentioned numbers and accolades, and Biggio will likely find himself in Cooperstown sooner rather than later.
2014 Induction Odds: 80 percent
SP Jack Morris
After not receiving more than 26.3 percent of the vote in his first five years on the ballot, support for Jack Morris has continued to climb over the past few years. Now he enters his 15th and final go-around on the ballot coming off of an all-time high 67.7 percent of the vote last year.
Those against Morris earning induction point to his relatively high ERA and lack of any major statistical milestones. Those for his enshrinement view him as one of the elite pitchers of his era and the definition of a big-game pitcher with a 4-2 record and 2.96 ERA in the World Series, including his masterful 10-inning shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 Series.
Candidates tend to get a decent bump in their final years on the ballot as their candidacy comes to a close, and it would not be at all surprising to see Morris get the necessary support to make in his final year of eligibility.
2014 Induction Odds: 80 percent
SP Tom Glavine
Though he played Robin to teammate and fellow Hall of Fame candidate Greg Maddux's Batman during their time together in Atlanta, Tom Glavine was one of the best pitchers of his era in his own right.
A five-time 20-game winner, the left-hander won NL Cy Young honors in 1991 and 1998 and was a 10-time All-Star. He won his 300th game as a member of the Mets in 2007, and his 305 career wins are the fourth-most all-time among left-hander pitchers.
He also pitched well in October, going 14-16 with a 3.30 ERA in 35 playoff starts and he won World Series MVP honors in 1995 when he went 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his two starts. It only seems fitting that he earns enshrinement alongside Maddux as a first-ballot selection.
2014 Induction Odds: 90 percent
SP Greg Maddux
A strong case can be made for Greg Maddux being one of the 10 best pitchers to ever play the game, and he did it with impeccable control as opposed to overpowering stuff.
He won four-straight Cy Young awards from 1992-1995, and turned in one of the best single-season pitching performances of all-time in 1995 when he was 19-2 with a 1.63 ERA and 0.811 WHIP.
His 18 Gold Glove awards and eight All-Star Game appearances are just icing on the cake of what was one of the best careers in baseball history, and he could challenge Tom Seaver (98.8%) for highest vote total as a sure-fire first-ballot selection.
2014 Induction Odds: 99.9 percent