2021 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot

It’s that time of year again. The Hall of Fame ballots have been handed out to current and former baseball writers who think they know better than everyone else. Who does and who doesn’t get into the HoF is a controversial topic every year among baseball fans and this year is no different. With 11 new players on the ballot, will we see a large HoF class in 2021? Lets take a look at these guys:

Bobby Abreu
2nd year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 59.8
Abreu played a solid 18 years in the big leagues spanning across 6 different teams. He is a 2-time All-Star, has one Silver Slugger award (2004), and one Gold Glove award (2005) in the outfield. Abreu’s overall numbers don’t exactly jump out at you as he hit 288 homeruns and 1363 RBIs in his career. He does, however, sport a solid career .870 OPS and 400 stolen bases. I believe he belongs in the “Hall of Really Good” but not the HoF.

Barry Bonds
9th year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 164.4
You know who Barry Bonds is. I don’t need to talk about his 1.051 OPS, 7 MVP awards, 14 All-Star appearances, 8 Gold Glove awards, 12 Silver Slugger awards, or his record 762 homeruns. My position on steroid usage is simple; if a player tested positive and was punished by MLB, you forfeit your HoF eligibility. If a player never tests positive, what is there to talk about? No rules were broken. I could write a whole article on this opinion alone but I want to stay focused. Barry Bonds belongs in the Hall of Fame. He introduced the excitement of baseball to a whole new generation of people and baseball wouldn’t be the sport it is today without him. I think it is very wrong of MLB to take advantage of players during their peak and then dump them after the fact to save face. Sadly, my prediction is that the writers will either wait until next year (Bonds’ last year on the ballot) to vote him in or allow the Veteran’s committee to do it years from now when Bonds is no longer with us.

Giants left fielder Barry Bonds watches his two-run home run, # 758, off Pirates pitcher Matt Morris during the 3rd inning of their Major League Baseball game at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif. on Friday, August 10, 2007. (Dean Coppola/Contra Costa Times)(Digital First Media Group/Contra Costa Times via Getty Images)

Mark Buehrle
1st year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 52.3
Buerhle had a solid career as starting pitcher for the White Sox, Marlins, and Blue Jays. He was a 5-time All-Star, 4-time Gold Glove award winner, and has a World Series ring with the White Sox (2005). I think that is the only case that you can make for Buerhle to be in the Hall. If you start looking at his career stats, you will only be unimpressed. I think Buerhle gets enough votes to stay on the ballot but I would be very surprised if he even comes close.

A.J. Burnett
1st year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 42.5
Burnett is known mainly for being one of the guys that the Yankees brought in for a successful title chase in 2009. Although he finished with a career 3.99 ERA and over 2500 strikeouts, he simply lacks the hardware that most voters deem necessary for the HoF. He’s never received any Cy Young votes, doesn’t have any Gold Gloves, and was only an All-Star once. There’s not much else to discuss here.

Roger Clemens
9th year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 133.7
Clemens is in a similar situation than that of Barry Bonds. One of the best pitchers of his generation, he was figuratively exiled from MLB due to his alleged connection to PED use. He has denied all allegations but I guess the writers that get to vote don’t seem to care. Roger had a crazy long career for a pitcher spanning 24 seasons with 4 different teams. He has 7 Cy Young awards, 1 MVP award, he’s an 11-time All-Star, he struck out 4672 batters, has 2 World Series rings, and 2 Triple Crowns. He is a without-a-doubt Hall of Famer and it’s a travesty that these writers think otherwise.

CIRCA 1988: Roger Clemens #21 of the Boston Red Sox pitching during a game from his 1988 season with the Boston Red Sox. Roger Clemens played for 24 years with 4 different teams, was an 11-time All-Star, 7-time Cy Young Award winner and was the 1986 American League MVP.(Photo by: 1988 SPX/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

Michael Cuddyer
1st year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 17.1
There’s not much to discuss about whether or not Cuddyer belongs in the because he doesn’t. He’s a 2-time All-Star, a Silver Slugger winner, and has a batting title under his belt. He finished with a career OPS of .805, 1522 hits, 197 homeruns, and 794 RBIs. None of his stats or accomplishments really jump out at you and I find it hard to believe that he will be on the ballot next year.

Michael Cuddyer of the Minnesota Twins, batting, 4/3/10. St. Louis Cardinals at Minnesota Twins ©2010 MN Twins/photo by Bruce Kluckhohn

Dan Haren
1st year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 40.4
To be honest, I’m not quite sure why Haren is on the ballot. He was among the better pitchers from 2007-2011 but that’s about it. He served 13 years in the majors and made 3 All-Star appearances. He finished with a career ERA of 3.75, WHIP of 1.181, and 2013 strikeouts. He’s pretty funny sometimes on Twitter, too.

LaTroy Hawkins
1st year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 14.7
Hawkins spent a whopping 21 years in the big leagues and didn’t retire until he was 42. I think that might be the one and only reason he is on the ballot. He played on 11 different teams in that time span, however, he’s made zero All-Star appearances, has no World Series, and no awards. As a middle-reliever for most of his career, he has a career 4.31 ERA, 127 saves, and 983 strikeouts in 1467 IP. This should be his one and only year on the ballot.

Todd Helton
3rd year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 54.9
Let me just say this: I don’t care where players play. It’s a damn shame that it took Larry Walker all those years to make it in but hopefully it paves the way for Todd Helton because he should be in. Helton played all 17 years of his career in Colorado and was as solid as it gets. With a career .953 OPS, he averaged 27 HR and 101 RBIs a season and hit .316. He was a 5-time All-Star, 3-time Gold Glove, 4-time Silver Slugger, and won a batting title. Not to mentioned that he got absolutely robbed of the NL MVP award in 2000. Let me break this down right quick. Todd Helton led the NL in hits and OBP while leading all of MLB in doubles, RBIs, AVG, SLG, and OPS. He came in 5th in NL MVP voting… 5th!!! Jeff Kent took home the award and didn’t lead the NL in any major offensive category let alone 7 like Helton. The voters of the Hall of Fame need to do right by Helton and get him in immediately.

DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 24: Todd Helton #17 of the Colorado Rockies prepares to take the field against the Boston Red Sox at Coors Field on September 24, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Tim Hudson
1st year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 48.9
When I think of Tim Hudson, I think of a guy who was really consistent his whole career. He was never the best pitcher but far from the worst. For example, there were only 6 seasons out of his total of 17 where his ERA wasn’t in between 3.00 and 4.00. He was a 4-time All-Star and won a World Series with the Giants in 2014. He has racked up over 2000 strikeouts and over 200 wins. I firmly believe this is one of those instances where a player belongs in the “Hall of Really Good” but not the HoF.

Torii Hunter
1st year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 43
This is where it starts to get interesting. Although Torii wasn’t all that flashy with a bat, he made his presence known with a glove. He won 9 Gold Glove awards (they were all consecutive 2001-2009), was a 5-time All-Star, and 2-time Silver Slugger. I would really like to start seeing more defensive oriented players make it into the Hall as long as they weren’t a whole in the batting lineup for which Torii was far from that. In 19 years, he slashed .277/.331/.461 with 353 HR and 1391 RBI. Personally, I’m on the fence on whether or not he should make it in. I believe it’s because it’s its harder to appreciate defensive stats when I’m just looking at Baseball Reference or Fangraphs. I do hope that narrative changes and player like Torii and more that will be discussed soon get the respect they deserve.

Andruw Jones
4th year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 67
Andruw sort of falls in the same category as Torii Hunter. The difference is that Jones had a little more pop in his bat during his prime than Hunter did. Jones racked up 10 Gold Gloves, 5 All-Star appearances, a Silver Slugger award, and a HR title (51 in 2005). Injuries derailed his career and he only made it to 35 before he had to hang up the cleats. In his prime (1998-2006) he averaged 35 homeruns, 104 RBIs, and 31 doubles a season while sporting an .860 OPS. If Andruw gets into the Hall, I predict that it won’t be until his last few years of eligibility based on the same reasoning as Torii.

ATLANTA – JULY 16: Andruw Jones #25 of the Atlanta Braves makes a diving catch against the Cincinnati Reds at Turner Field July 16, 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Reds defeated The Braves 10-3. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Jeff Kent
8th year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 56
This is the guy that stole the NL MVP award from Todd Helton in 2000. Besides that, Kent has made 5 All-Star appearances and won 4 Silver Slugger awards. He played for 6 different teams over 17 years and finished with a career OPS of .855 with 377 HR, 1518 RBI and 2461 hits. Look, Jeff Kent was really good but he’s not Hall of Fame worthy. I think he should be happy and content about his MVP award and move on.

Andy Pettitte
3rd year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 68.2
As a Yankee fan, it pains me to say this, but I don’t think Pettitte belongs in Hall. He’s right there on the cusp because of his 5 World Series rings but I just don’t think he was good enough on a regular basis to warrant a vote. He only had an ERA under 3.00 thrice in his 18 year career and finished with a 1.351 WHIP. A lot of people like to bring up his stellar postseason presence but a simple visit to Baseball Reference tell a different story. In the postseason, he has a 3.81 ERA, a 1.305 WHIP and a 9.3 H/9. That doesn’t exactly scream ‘postseason hero’ to me. I’m happy with Pettitte getting a plaque in Monument Park and that’s it.

Aramis Ramirez
1st year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 38.5
I honestly forgot that Aramis existed. I was even more surprised to find out that he was actually pretty good in his prime years. From 2004-2009, he had an OPS of .919 and averaged 29 HR and 98 RBIs a season. However, that and 3 All-Star appearances does not qualify a guy for the Hall of Fame, unfortunately. Don’t be surprised if this is his one and only year on the ballot.

Manny Ramirez
5th year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 66.3
As much as I want to say “100% yes, Manny Ramirez is a Hall of Famer”, I just can’t. The difference between Manny and Bonds/Clemens is that Manny got busted for PEDs…twice. That alone should warrant a player ineligible for the Hall but let’s look at his stats anyways. After 19 years in the bigs, he finished with a .996 OPS, 555 HRs, 1831 RBIs, 12 All-Star appearances, 9 Silver Sluggers, 2 World Series rings, and a batting title. It’s a shame that he felt the need to tarnish such a great career with illegal PED use.

BOSTON – OCTOBER 5: Manny Ramirez #24 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after connecting for a three-run home run to defeat the Los Angeles Angels, 6-3, in Game 2 of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park October 5, 2007 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Scott Rolen
4th year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 69.9
Rolen was more than a solid player in the late-90s and early 2000s. He won the RoY in 1997, is a 7-time All-Star, 8-time Gold Glove winner, a Silver Slugger, and won a World Series ring with the Cardinals in 2006. He hit over 300 HR, had over 1200 RBIs and posted a career .855 OPS. The biggest drawback for Rolen’s HoF case is that it was hard for him to stay on the field. In 17 seasons, Rolen played in 150+ games only 5 times. If he had played more and boosted his overall stats enough he would probably be HoF worthy but he falls short for me personally.

Curt Schilling
9th year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 79.8
Schilling’s HoF worthiness is almost as controversial as Bonds/Clemens but for a different reason. Schilling has the numbers for the Hall, no doubt about it. In 20 seasons, he has a 3.46 ERA, 1.137 WHIP, 3116 strikeouts, 6 All-Star appearances, and 3 World Series rings. He’s also lights out in the playoffs with a 2.23 ERA and 4 complete games in 19 games started. He’s not in the Hall yet because a lot of voters have an issue with how Schilling handles himself now that he’s retired. He’s very outspoken politically and sometimes he comes off a little too strong. There are many voters who vote based off of character in addition to stats and it is up to them whether or not they can ignore his antics. So far, Schilling has lost 2 votes that he had last year. It may be an omen for things to come.

Gary Sheffield
7th year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 62.1
If you played baseball growing up and didn’t try to imitate Gary’s bat wiggle, you were probably not a very cool person to be around. Sheffield debuted with the Brewers at 19 years old, which was probably too young as he didn’t start coming into his own until he was 23 when he won the NL batting title. He would go on to play 22 years in the big leagues between 8 different teams. He is a 9-time All-Star, 5-time Silver Slugger, hit 500+ HR, had a .907 OPS, and won the 1997 World Series with the Marlins. Gary, unfortunately, has ties to Bonds and has admitted to using PEDs while it was all the rage. However, my stance is the same and it shouldn’t matter since it was not illegal at the time. Also, shout out to Gary since he grew up and went to high school in Tampa, FL. You love to see it.

Sammy Sosa
9th year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 60.1
Sosa is yet another player to benefit from legally using PEDs. However, Sosa’s HoF case differs than that of Bonds/Clemens in that Sosa used other ways to cheat. He was caught with a corked bat and it was highly believed that he always used one. Although he hit 600+ bombs, won an MVP award, was a 7-time All-Star, and 6-time Silver Slugger it will be much harder for him to get in the Hall when Bonds and Clemens are having a hard time getting in. Let’s just focus on those two, okay?

Nick Swisher
1st time on the ballot
Career fWAR: 25.1
No. Moving on…

Shane Victorino
1st time on the ballot
Career fWAR: 29.3
Also, no. Moving on…

Omar Vizquel
4th year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 42.5
Vizquel will probably be remembered as one of the best defensive shortstops of all time (HoF or not). He has 11 Gold Glove awards at the position over a 24 year career where he played until he was 45(!). Omar didn’t have a lot of pop in his bat, however, he was a major threat on the base paths in his prime and accumulated a total of 404 stolen bases in his career. This year’s HoF ballot is loaded with guys that are known for their glove. They deserve to be appreciated as much as anyone else.

Billy Wagner
6th year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 24
Wagner had a very successful career as a closer from 1995-2010. He racked up a total of 422 saves for 5 different teams and had an ERA of 2.31 and a WHIP of 0.998. He is 6th on the all-time saves leaders list and 4 out of the 5 players ahead of Wagner are currently in the Hall of Fame. The only guy who isn’t, Francisco Rodriguez, isn’t in the Hall simply because he isn’t eligible yet. I’m surprised that Wagner hasn’t made it in yet since he was pretty dominant for his whole career. Perhaps voters are still a little stubborn when it comes to closers and their importance in the game. I believe he will squeeze himself in before his eligibility expires.

Barry Zito
1st year on the ballot
Career fWAR: 30.2
I feel as though Zito will always be one of those guys that people remember regardless of whether or not he makes it into the Hall. Well, he won’t make it to the Hall but you know what I’m trying to say. He had a career ERA of 4.04, and WHIP of 1.337, he’s a 3-time All-Star, a Cy Young award winner, and a part of the 2012 Giants World Series team. He only spent 15 years in the bigs and really struggled in the latter half of his career. He tried to make a comeback in 2015 but only made 2 starts and a relief appearance with an ERA above 10…yikes. He is now known to have put baseball behind him and pursue a career in music, good for him. This will most likely be his one and only year on the ballot.

And there you have it, folks, the 2021 Hall of Fame ballot. Thanks for sticking with me and reading all of that. For you TL;DR people out there, below is what my ballot would look like if anyone cared about my opinion:

  1. Barry Bonds
  2. Roger Clemens
  3. Todd Helton
  4. Curt Schilling
  5. Gary Sheffield
  6. Billy Wagner

Honorable mentions: Andruw Jones, Torii Hunter, Omar Vizquel.

Thanks to Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs for the stats. Go to the link below to get the latest updates on 2021 Hall of Fame voting:

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