Final Predictions for 2022 MLB Hall of Fame Voting Results

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2022

Final Predictions for 2022 MLB Hall of Fame Voting Results

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    The 2022 Baseball Hall of Fame voting results will be revealed Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling are looking to get over the hump in their final year of eligibility, while David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez lead the list of newcomers.

    Before the balloting totals are released, let's make one final round of predictions on how the voting will play out.

    These predictions could not have been made without the early voting data tirelessly compiled by Ryan Thibodaux and his team at Baseball Hall of Fame Vote Tracker and his data from past years.

    Will Bonds and Clemens receive enough of a bump in their final year?

    Will Ortiz join the esteemed group of first-ballot nominees?

    Which of the first-year candidates will stick around for another year?

    All of those questions and more will be answered in our 2022 Baseball Hall of Fame voting predictions.

Jimmy Rollins Will Be the Only Fringe First-Timer to Stick Around

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    David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez are not the only players whose Hall of Fame case is up for debate for the first time on the 2022 ballot. All told, there are 13 newcomers on the ballot.

    Based on a projected 392 ballots expected to be cast, it takes 20 votes to receive the 5 percent support necessary to hang around on the ballot for another year.

    Shortstop Jimmy Rollins is at 21 votes with 49.0 percent of ballots revealed, so he's in the clear, but there are 10 others on their way to a one-and-done:

    • SP Tim Lincecum (6 votes)
    • RP Joe Nathan (4 votes)
    • 1B Ryan Howard (3 votes)
    • 1B Justin Morneau (1 vote)
    • RP Jonathan Papelbon (1 vote)
    • C A.J. Pierzynski (1 vote)
    • 1B Mark Teixeira (1 vote)
    • LF Carl Crawford (0 votes)
    • 1B Prince Fielder (0 votes)
    • SP Jake Peavy (0 votes)

    The anonymous ballots often trend differently than the revealed ballots, but those 10 guys still face a significant uphill battle in a crowded field.

    Add to that second-year holdovers Tim Hudson (5 votes) and Torii Hunter (3 votes), as well as 10-year limit guys Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling and Sammy Sosa, and there figures to be a good deal of ballot turnover in 2023.

Jeff Kent Will Fail to Set Himself Up for 2023 Induction

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    Jeff Kent's case to be in the Hall of Fame is pretty straightforward.

    His 377 home runs are the most all-time by a second baseman in MLB history. His 55.5 WAR is ahead of second basemen like Bobby Doerr (51.6), Nellie Fox (49.5) and Tony Lazzeri (47.7), all of whom are in the Hall of Fame. And at his peak, he was an MVP-caliber player.

    However, Kent's limited defensive abilities have led some to view him as one-dimensional. In his first six years on the ballot, he failed to receive more than 20 percent support, but things have been trending upward over the last two years.

    • 2019: 18.1 percent
    • 2020: 27.5 percent
    • 2021: 32.4 percent

    To put himself in position to get to 75 percent in his final year of eligibility, he needed another sizable step forward this year, but it doesn't look like he's going to get it.

    He is tracking at just 31.8 percent support, and among returning voters, he has more lost votes (eight) than gained votes (six). His public-versus-private voting differential was a negligible 1.7 percent last year, so he isn't likely to get a major bump from the ballots that have yet to be revealed.

    It looks like it will ultimately be up to the Veterans Committee to decide on his fate.

Andruw Jones and Todd Helton Will Take Another Step Forward

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    Andruw Jones
    Andruw JonesElsa/Getty Images

    Andruw Jones and Todd Helton won't be part of the 2022 Hall of Fame induction class, but both players are poised to take another significant step toward joining the immortals in Cooperstown.

    With 434 home runs and 10 Gold Glove Awards, Jones put together a convincing Hall of Fame case despite limited production after his 30th birthday. He received less than 10 percent support in his first two years on the ballot, but the needle is starting to move in the right direction:

    • 2018: 7.3 percent
    • 2019: 7.5 percent
    • 2020: 19.4 percent
    • 2021: 33.9 percent
    • 2022: 49.0 percent

    He did quite a bit better on public ballots a year ago, so his 2022 number could drop once the final results are revealed, but he continues to move in the right direction with five years of eligibility remaining.

    The same is true of Helton, who hit .316/.414/.539 for a 133 OPS+ with 369 home runs, 1,406 RBI and 61.8 WAR in a 17-year career spent entirely with the Colorado Rockies. Playing half his games at Coors Field created an uphill battle in building support, but he has made strides:

    • 2019: 16.5 percent
    • 2020: 29.2 percent
    • 2021: 44.9 percent
    • 2022: 56.8 percent

    If he can break 50 percent once all of the ballots are tallied, he'll be in good shape for induction in 2024 or 2025.

Alex Rodriguez Will Fall Short of Barry Bonds' 1st-Year Percentage

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    Alex Rodriguez will be watching closely to see how the voting results play out for Barry Bonds in his final year on the ballot, as he likely faces a similar fate.

    Undoubtedly one of the most productive players in the history of the sport, Rodriguez racked up 3,115 hits, 696 home runs, 2,086 RBI and 117.5 WAR in 22 seasons. He was a 14-time All-Star, 10-time Silver Slugger winner and three-time AL MVP.

    However, his PED use and subsequent suspension could prove to be an insurmountable black eye for voters.

    A good comparison to make will be how he fares in his first year of eligibility relative to how Bonds did.

    • Bonds (2013): 36.2 percent
    • Rodriguez (2022): 39.1 percent

    Despite holding an edge based on early vote tracking, it's important to note that Bonds has historically received significantly less support on anonymous ballots. He was tracking at 73.7 percent going into the results being revealed last year, and he ended up at 61.8 percent.

    Expect Rodriguez to see a similar dip, leaving him below Bonds' first-year support level.

Scott Rolen Will Lay the Groundwork for 2023 Enshrinement

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    It's become a question of when, not if, Scott Rolen will be a Hall of Famer.

    Despite some injury issues over the course of his 17-year career, he still finished with 2,077 hits, 316 home runs, 1,287 RBI and eight Gold Glove Awards. His 70.1 WAR rank ninth among third basemen, trailing seven Hall of Famers and Adrian Beltre, who is a solid bet for first-ballot enshrinement in 2024.

    That all made his initial lack of support somewhat surprising:

    • 2018: 10.2 percent
    • 2019: 17.2 percent
    • 2020: 35.3 percent
    • 2021: 52.9 percent
    • 2022: 69.3 percent

    After massive jumps the last two years and with another significant step forward on the way, all signs point to him finally getting the nod in 2023.

    Next year has a weak class of first-timers, with Carlos Beltran the only player likely to receive significant support. That coupled with Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling and Sammy Sosa all using up their 10th year of eligibility this year should create a more clear path for Rolen to get to 75 percent.

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling Will Fall Short

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    Barry Bonds
    Barry BondsTom Hauck/Getty Images

    It's now or never for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling if they're going to be inducted by the BBWAA.

    All three polarizing figures are in their 10th and final year on the ballot. While they each have no-doubt Hall of Fame credentials, the PED cloud continues to hang over the candidacy of Bonds and Clemens, while Schilling's on-field accomplishments are overshadowed by his off-the-field persona.

    Multiple voters asked to amend their ballots last year after Schilling publicly supported the Capitol insurrection. After finishing with 71.1 percent of the vote, his support has plummeted this year.

    Twenty-four voters so far have removed him from their ballots after checking his name last year. He is currently tracking at 60.9 percent support and would need to show up on 87.8 percent of the remaining ballots. That isn't going to happen.

    Meanwhile, both Bonds (78.1 percent) and Clemens (77.1 percent) are currently tracking above the 75 percent threshold, but recent voting history is not in their favor. Both players have seen a significant dip in their voting percentage once all the ballots are released, with far less support coming from the anonymous ballot crowd.

    • Bonds 2019: 70.7% pre-release, 59.1% final
    • Bonds 2020: 70.9% pre-release, 60.7% final
    • Bonds 2021: 73.7% pre-release, 61.8% final
    • Clemens 2019: 70.7% pre-release, 59.5% final
    • Clemens 2020: 70.0% pre-release, 61.0% final
    • Clemens 2021: 73.2% pre-release, 61.6% final

    Assuming that trend continues, a 7-10 percentage point dip over their current level of support seems like a safe bet, which would leave both short.

David Ortiz Will Narrowly Earn First-Ballot Induction

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    David Ortiz is headed to Cooperstown.

    The question is whether he'll receive the necessary support to join the ranks of some of the game's all-time greats as a first-ballot selection.

    The longtime Boston Red Sox superstar posted a 141 OPS+ with 541 home runs (17th all-time) and 1,768 RBI (23rd all-time). Along the way, he compiled one of the most impressive postseason track records in MLB history and won three World Series rings.

    However, as primarily a designated hitter, his contributions were limited to offense, and his 55.3 WAR doesn't quite stack up to other recent first-ballot selections.

    So, where does that leave Big Papi?

    The early voting results are promising, with 84.5 percent support through 47.7 percent of the ballots. That gives him sufficient wiggle room to survive a slight dip on the unreported ballots.

    It's entirely possible he falls just short and lands somewhere in the 70-74.9 percent range, but enshrinement appears to be inevitable. Here's predicting he gets the nod this year by just narrowly eclipsing the 75 percent threshold.


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference. Voting results accurate as of 8 AM ET on Tuesday, and through 182 public ballots.