It’s that time again! The Baseball Hall of Fame has announced the candidates on the main ballot. It’s a pretty “meh” group; all the superstars have come off (for one reason or another). The biggest names on the ballot are Scott Rolen and Todd Helton. Great players, but not the sort that scream out “Hall of Famer”. When you have to dig into the “advanced stats” because no one really looks like they belong, well….
There are fourteen newcomers to the ballot; let’s give them all their due.
Bronson Arroyo: Reliable workhorse of a pitcher; made 30+ starts in ten consecutive seasons. Named to the All Star Game in 2006, and was part of the World Champion Red Sox in 2004.
Carlos Beltrán: If it weren’t for his association with the Astros’ sign stealing scandal, he’d be a shoo-in. Hit 435 home runs and stole 312 bases over a 20 year career. Nine time All Star, and AL Rookie of the Year in 1999.
Matt Cain: Part of the Giants World Championship teams in 2010 and 2012, he threw a perfect game on June 13, 2012.
R.A. Dickey: Used a knuckleball to earn the 2012 NL Cy Young Award with a 20-6 record and a league leading 230 strikeouts.
Jacoby Ellsbury: His best year was 2011, when he hit .321/.376/.552 with 212 hits, 46 doubles, 32 homers, 39 steals and he won a Gold Glove. Came in second in the MVP voting that year.
Andre Ethier: Patrolling the outfield for the Dodgers, he made the All Star Game in 2010 and 2011. Won a Gold Glove that latter year. Hit .285 over his 12 year career.
J.J. Hardy: A two-time All Star, he won three consecutive Gold Glove awards as a shortstop with the Baltimore Orioles in 2012-14.
John Lackey: With the Angels, he made the All Star Game in 2007 when he led the AL in ERA with 3.01. Won World Championships with the Angels in 2002, Red Sox in 2013, and Cubs in 2016.
Mike Napoli: An All Star catcher with the Rangers in 2012, he was part of the World Champion Red Sox in 2013.
Jhonny Peralta: From 2005 through 2015, he got at least 120 hits each year. Made the All Star Game three times. Part of the Tigers pennant-winning team in 2012.
Francisco Rodríguez: Holds the record for saves in a season with 62, collected in 2008 with the Angels. Fourth all-time in career saves with 437.
Huston Street: Won the AL Rookie of the Year award with the A’s in 2005 and made the All Star Game in 2012 and 2014. Collected 324 saves over the course of his career.
Jered Weaver: Led the AL in wins in 2012 and 2014, and the majors in strikeouts with 233 in 2010.
Jayson Werth: A key part of the Phillies’ pennants in 2008 and 2009, he made the All Star Game in 2009. Led the NL in doubles in 2010.
Good players all, with careers that are worthy of recognition and at least a little applause. But “Hall of Fame” quality? Somehow, I wouldn’t be surprised if the writers didn’t select anyone this year.