The most important man in baseball every December is Ryan Thibodaux. Thibodaux runs the Baseball Hall of Fame Vote Tracker, which does exactly what it promises: it keeps a running tally of BBWAA members’ ballots, allowing you (and also, crucially, people who are actually good with statistics) to get a sense of the chances for this year’s candidates for Cooperstown.
So rather than wait for the official announcement on Jan. 22, you can just go check the constantly updating Tracker here. Or, if that’s too much info, the summary. Here’s the situation at the top as of this morning:
It is early, and all the usual caveats still apply—this is a self-selected sample, of sportswriters who have chosen to make their ballots public or to share them with Thibodaux—but election appears assured for Mariano Rivera and the late Roy Halladay, in their first year on the ballot. And it would appear to be good news for Edgar Martinez, in his 10th and final year of eligibility. But what about Mike Mussina, in his sixth, and Curt Schilling, in his seventh? There things get interesting.
The Tracker always inspires some really smart folk to play around with the numbers, and that includes Jason Sardell, who regularly runs and updates projections as the data comes in. Here are Sardell’s projections as of this moment:
Sardell has a thread explaining this further, but the upshot is that Rivera, Halladay, and Edgar are basically sure things, and Mussina is highly probable but definitely not guaranteed. And Schilling? Despite looking good in the early count, he will almost assured fall short again.
Players north of 50 percent tend to gain votes each subsequent year, so that would tend to bode well for Mussina and Schilling’s near futures if they miss out this time. However, there’s not the logjam on the ballot there has been in recent years, so any voters leaving these two off are probably not doing so just because there are 10 other deserving candidates. And of course, in the case of Schilling, many if not most of those declining to vote for him are doing so for reasons other than his baseball bona fides; I don’t know if those voters will change their minds so easily.
It bears watching. But even with Schilling not in the picture this year, the Hall of Fame class of ‘19 still looks like it’ll be a relatively large one, with as many as four players joining the two already selected by committee. It’s going to be a busy summer in Cooperstown.