Dec. 31 was the deadline for BBWAA members to put their Hall of Fame ballots in the mail, which means the 2018 inductees are fixed—we just won’t know who they are until the ballots are counted and then announced on Jan. 24. But we can predict, and with more and more media members announcing their votes ahead of time, it’s become easier to predict with a decent degree of accuracy. So who’s it going to be?
As always, Ryan Thibodaux’s BBHOF Tracker, which can be viewed in realtime here, tallies the publicly revealed ballots—36.4 percent of the total number of ballots are out so far. Here are the top of the standings, with 75 percent the threshold for induction:
Chipper Jones 98.7%
Jim Thome 94.9%
Vlad Guerrero 93.6%
Edgar Martinez 80.8%
Trevor Hoffman 78.2%
Mike Mussina 73.1%
Barry Bonds 69.9%
Roger Clemens 69.9%
Curt Schilling 66.7%
Larry Walker 41.0%
Manny Ramirez 27.6%
Omar Vizquel 26.9%
But wait. As you know, this early polling is self-selecting and thereby not entirely predictive. Certain types of writers are more likely to reveal their ballots early, and those types of writers are likely to over- or under-represent the constituencies for different types of players.
It looks like it could be a big HOF class, which is good news considering the logjam on the ballot and the fact that writers are limited to voting for 10 players. Chipper, Thome and Vlad seem like sure things, and will go in alongside Alan Trammell and Jack Morris, elected by the Modern Era Committee. Trevor Hoffman and Edgar Martinez seem like they’ll be borderline cases, though perhaps ultimately on opposite sides of induction. Schilling won’t make it in 2018, but projects to make significant gains from last year, which would indicate that he’s just a couple years away from getting in.
Mussina, Bonds, and Clemens will again fall short—for different reasons. All three are getting slightly closer every year...but time is running out.
And Omar Vizquel, this year’s cause célèbre for one of the Hall’s traditional voting blocs and bête noire for the other? It won’t even be close.