18 Players Named to Hall of Fame Ballot for First Time

Hall of Fame
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 28: Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees acknowledges the crowd after hitting a single for his last career at bat in the third inning against the Boston Red Sox during the last game of the season at Fenway Park on September 28, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The BBWAA has released its ballot for the 2020 Hall of Fame election class. The careers of 32 former players will be MLB players will be subjected to extensive analysis over the next few months while the BBWAA determines which players deserve to be remembered as the greatest to ever play. Among those 32 players are 18 first-time candidates.

A player must receive at least 75% of the vote in order to be inducted. The announcement will come on January 21st during a live telecast on MLB Network.

Notable First-Time Candidates

Derek Jeter

Shortstop Derek Jeter, a 14-time All Star, appears to be the only lock on this ballot to earn induction. He played 20 seasons, amassing 3,465 hits, the sixth most of all time. He won five World Series championships with the New York Yankees while serving as team captain from 2003-2014. Jeter is the all-time postseason leader in various offensive categories including hits. he was also named the 2000 World Series MVP.

Jeter won five Gold Glove awards, and he was the 1996 AL Rookie of the Year. He also led the league in hits twice, once when he was 25 and once when he was 38. His career- batting average was .310 and his on-base percentage was .377. He also stole 358 bags in his career.

Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee pitched for 13 seasons with five different franchises, most notably the Cleveland Indians  and Philadelphia Phillies. He won the 2008 AL Cy Young award with the Indians, and he was a top-three finisher three times and top-seven finisher five times. Overall for his career, Lee was a four-time All Star with a .611 winning percentage and 3.52 ERA.

He pitched in two World Series. In 11 postseason starts, Lee was 7-3 with a 2.52 ERA and a 0.927 WHIP across 88 innings pitched. He also recorded a K/BB ratio of 8.90 while completing three of his 11 starts. Additionally, he led the league in wins, ERA, complete games, ERA+, WHIP, and fewest HR/9 each once. He led the league in winning percentage, shutouts, and FIP each twice. He also led in K/BB ratio three times and fewest BB/9 four times.

Jason Giambi

Despite retiring in 2014, first basemen Jason Giambi, would have fit in fine in 2019 MLB. He could draw walks and hit for power. In his 20-year career, playing primarily for the Oakland Athletics and Yankees, Giambi hit 440 home runs and drew 1,366 walks.

His career slash line was .277/.399/.519, and he played in five All-Star games while winning the 2000 AL MVP. He led the league in walks four times, on-base percentage three times, OPS+ twice, and doubles, slugging percentage and OPS once each.

Bobby Abreu

Bobby Abreu was a solid right fielder for 18 seasons, spending the most time with the Phillies. Abreu stole 400 bases and hit 288 home runs while receiving MVP votes in seven seasons. He has 2,470 hits, 1,363 RBI, and a slash line of .291/.395/.475.

Abreu’s main argument for Hall of Fame induction comes from his career WAR. A WAR of 60 is considered a benchmark for entrance to the Hall of Fame, and his career total sits at 60.0. He also had seven consecutive seasons from 1998-2004 where his WAR was above 5.2 every season. As voters tend to shift their focus more towards the new-age means of analyzing a player’s career, it will be interesting to see how Abreu’s WAR impacts his votes.

Paul Konerko

Paul Konerko was a six-time All Star who played 16 of his 18 seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first basemen received MVP votes in five season and two, top-six finishes in the voting.

Konerko posted a slash line of .279/.354/.486. He collected 2,349 hits, of which 439 were home runs and 410 were doubles. He also drove in over 1,400 runs in his career, finishing with 1,412 RBI.

Other First-Time Candidates

Aside from the five mentioned players, there are 13 others who are appearing on the ballot for the first time. They are: Josh Beckett, Heath Bell, Eric Chavez, Adam Dunn, Chone Figgins, Rafael Furcal, Raul Ibanez, Carlos Pena, Brad Penny, J.J. Putz, Brian Roberts, Alfonso Soriano, and Jose Valverde.

Notable Returning Candidates

In addition the 18 men who will appear on the ballot for the first time, there are 14 other players who will be returning to the ballot. In order to return to the ballot, a player must receive five percent of the vote in the previous year, and they can remain on the ballot for ten years.

Of these 14, there are four who will return having received at least 50% of the vote last year. Curt Schilling, who is entering his eight season on the ballot, is the only of these four to receive over 60% of the vote. He was voted for by 60.9% of the writers.

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are both still waiting to get their call to the Hall of Fame. They are also entering their eighth year on the ballot. Last year, Bonds received 59.1% of the vote while Clemens received 59.5% of the vote.

Larry Walker is entering his tenth, and final, year on the ballot. Last season, he was listed on 54.5% of the ballots.

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images

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