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2015 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot announced

This thing juts keeps on getting more and more crowded...

RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

This year Cooperstown inducted a very strong Hall of Fame class, with two excellent pitchers (Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine) and one very good position player (Frank Thomas) making the cut. Things could be very similar in 2015. The new HOF ballot was announced today by the BBWAA, and has been the case for a few years in a row now, there are a lot of very deserving candidates.

Here are the newcomers, chosen from all former players who spent part of at least ten seasons in MLB and have now been retired for five years. I've also included each player's WAR (Baseball-Reference), which isn't to say WAR is the only measure, but does give a nice shorthand:

  • Rich Aurilia (18.1)
  • Aaron Boone (13.5)
  • Tony Clark (12.5)
  • Carlos Delgado (44.3)
  • Jermaine Dye (20.3)
  • Darin Erstad (32.3)
  • Cliff Floyd (25.9)
  • Nomar Garciaparra (44.2)
  • Brian Giles (50.9)
  • Tom Gordon (34.9)
  • Eddie Guardado (13.3)
  • Randy Johnson (104.3)
  • Pedro Martinez (86.0)
  • Troy Percival (17.2)
  • Jason Schmidt (31.7)
  • Gary Sheffield (60.2)
  • John Smoltz (66.5)

Johnson and Martinez are two of the 15 or so best pitchers in baseball history, and should each be a no-brain "yes" for every voter. Neither of them will actually receive every vote, but both should collect more than 75% of the votes, and be inducted next summer. Smoltz is the only other player on that list I expect to receive strong support. I haven't yet though through which guys I'd vote for if I had a ballot this year, but he's certainly someone I'd strongly consider, as are Sheffield and Giles, neither of whom is likely to receive much actual support.

In addition to that strong class of newcomers, you've also got these players returning to the ballot (along with the percentage of votes they received last time):

  • Craig Biggio, 74.8 percent
  • Mike Piazza, 62.2
  • Jeff Bagwell, 54.3
  • Tim Raines, 46.1
  • Roger Clemens, 35.4
  • Barry Bonds, 34.7
  • Lee Smith, 29.9
  • Curt Schilling, 29.2
  • Edgar Martinez, 25.2
  • Alan Trammell, 20.8
  • Mike Mussina, 20.3
  • Jeff Kent, 15.2
  • Fred McGriff, 11.7
  • Mark McGwire, 11
  • Larry Walker, 10.2
  • Don Mattingly, 8.2
  • Sammy Sosa, 7.2

Biggio will almost certainly clear 75% this year, while the other guys with more than 40% support will probably see their number rise a bit, but not enough to push them over the top. As I said, I haven't yet thought through who I'd vote for, but I know there are more than ten players on the ballot who I think deserve enshrinement, while voters are limited to no more than ten.

As for what will happen, I expect Johnson, Martinez, and Biggio to be elected.