The 2024 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot has been released. The ballot includes former Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre for the first (and, most likely, last) time.
Along with Beltre, the players who are on the ballot for the first time are:
It is a really interesting group of first time eligibles. Aside from Beltre, who seems like a lock to be elected on the first ballot, the player most likely to eventually get in is Chase Utley. The longtime Phillies second baseman had an extremely high peak — from 2005-10 he averaged 7.56 bWAR per year — and ended his career 15th all time in bWAR among second basemen, between Craig Biggio and Jackie Robinson. I wouldn’t be surprised if Utley were elected this year, but I expect he’ll end up having to go through the process a few times before he ultimately makes it in.
Joe Mauer is an interesting case, as a former MVP and three time batting champion who spent ten years as a catcher before moving to first base for his final five seasons. He was only 35 when he retired, which hurts his counting numbers, and how you view his case depends on whether you compare him just to other catchers. For his career Mauer started 885 games at catcher and 888 games at 1B/DH, and if you view him as a combo catcher/1B/DH, his case is weaker. As a point of reference, Victor Martinez, who is also on the ballot for the first time, started 828 games at catcher, 1061 games at 1B/DH.
Beltre, Utley and Mauer are the only three in this group who I think have a solid shot at eventually getting elected. David Wright looked like a future Hall of Famer for much of his career — he had 46.5 bWAR through his age 30 season — but after a 134 game, 2.1 bWAR age 31 season, he only played 77 games the rest of his career. He is 28th all time among third basemen in bWAR, and guys at the hot corner tend to get shafted anyway.
Jose Bautista had 0.0 bWAR through his age 28 season in 2009 (and only got to breakeven then because of a 2.9 bWAR 2009 campaign), then had six great years, but six great years don’t get you in the Hall.
I expect Bartolo Colon to pick up a handful of votes, though not enough to stay on the ballot. His numbers don’t get him there, and the PED suspension and problematic personal life would seem to ding him, but he’s got a reputation for being a loveable baseball character and I suspect that will result in him showing up a few ballots.
As far as carryovers go, Todd Helton and Billy Wagner both came very close last year, and likely make it in this year. Andruw Jones and Carlos Beltran are both around the 50% mark, and will need to see a surge in support to ultimately get in. Jones is on the ballot for the 8th time, while this is just Beltran’s third go round, so Carlos has a longer window of time to gain support.
Bobby Abreu — who I have used as my best case scenario comp for Evan Carter — is on the ballot for the sixth time. He got just 15.4% of the vote last year, which is unfortunate, because I think he has a legitimate Hall of Fame case.