Preview of the 2017 MLB HOF Ballot

The time has come to preview the 2017 MLB Hall of Fame ballot. We are just a few days past the 2016 induction ceremony, but there is no time like the present to look to next year. The 2016 class saw two legends – Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza – get inducted, while three other all-time great players – Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Trevor Hoffman – received more than 65% of votes. Here is a look at the most notable first-timers on the 2017 ballot and their chances of induction.

Preview of the 2017 MLB HOF Ballot

Ivan Rodriguez

Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez was arguably the best all-around catcher for close to two decades. Pudge debuted for the Texas Rangers in 1991 and would go on to play for five other teams during his twenty-one-year career. Rodriguez immediately established himself as an elite defender, winning a Gold Glove in just his second big league season. That represented just the first of his thirteen total Gold Gloves, including ten straight from 1992-2001. For his career, Pudge would nab forty-six percent of would be base stealers.

Rodriguez developed into an admirable offensive force during his fourth season, and posted a triple slash for his career of .296/.334/.464 to go along with 311 home runs and 2,844 hits. His best season came in 1999, when Pudge won the MVP while hitting .332/.356/.558 accompanied by thirty-five home runs and 113 RBI. He would also steal twenty-five bases while throwing out fifty-five percent of base stealers and allowing a single passed ball. Ivan Rodriguez had an outstanding and well-rounded career. It would be a shame if he was not a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Vladimir Guerrero

It is fairly well recognized that you would not show footage of “Vlad” hitting while trying to teach plate discipline to little leaguers. It is true, however, that Vladimir Guerrero was one of the premier outfielders of the late-90s and early-00s. Vlad may have swung at everything, but he could also hit anything thrown to him. That included a pitch that bounced in front of the plate! That being said, Guerrero was the model of power, speed, and hitting for contact.

Vlad became a two-time member of the 30-30 club (thirty home runs – thirty steals) by accomplishing the feat in 2001 and again in ’02. He collected 200 hits four times, 100 runs six times, and twenty-five or more home runs for eleven straight seasons (’98-’08). Vlad added an MVP in 2004 with the then-Anaheim Angels by hitting thirty-nine home runs to go along with 124 runs, 126 RBI, and fifteen steals. And who can forget the cannon of an arm that helped Vlad produce 126 assists?

For his career, Vlad slashed .318/.379/.553 to go with 449 home runs and 2,590 hits. Vlad was named an All-Star nine times to compliment his one MVP award. His career may not have been as long as some of the other all-time greats, but it is hard to imagine Guerrero not making it to Cooperstown.

Manny Ramirez

Manny loved being Manny. And crushing home runs. Manny Ramirez is one of the most unforgettable characters the sport has seen. The sometimes-comical attitude overshadows the fact that Manny was one of the most lethal right-handed hitters to ever suit up. Manny hit thirty or more home runs twelve times. He also logged 100 or more RBI twelve times and scored at least 100 runs six times. Manny played in twelve All-Star games. He won two World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox, and took home the Series MVP in 2004. For his career, Manny slugged 555 home runs, good for 15th all-time.

Every member of the 500 home run club eligible for the Hall of Fame has been inducted except for those with significant ties to performance enhancers. Therein lies the problem for Manny. Manny’s multiple positive drug tests pose a tricky conundrum for voters. It should be noted that PED users have not fared well on HOF ballots in years past. Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa – each one a member of the 500 club –remain outside the Hall of Fame for now. The PED standard may eventually change, but it is doubtful Manny will make it on his first ballot.

Other Notables on the Ballot

Magglio Ordonez, Jorge Posada, Derek Lee, and Edgar Renteria will also be on the ballot for the first time.

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