The Hall of Fame ballot is here, so let the arguing commence. There are 15 holdovers and 20 new names.
The holdovers are: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martínez, Fred McGriff, Mike Mussina, Manny Ramírez,Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Omar Vizquel, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker.
I think all but one of the 15 holdovers is a worthy Hall of Famer (sorry Omar) but Martinez and Mussina are the most likely to make it this year. Clemens and Bonds continue to gradually increase their vote shares. In all likelihood, they will eventually overcome the PED stigma and get over the hump. But not this year. Curt Schilling is back over 50% after actually losing votes in 2017, but the clock is starting to tick on him. He's obviously well qualified, but he's such an obnoxious jerk that it's fun watching him wait. The clock is actually running out on Larry Walker, who received his best vote total ever a year ago (34%) and was still behind Omar Freaking Vizquel. This will be Walker's ninth kick at the can and you only get ten these days.
This is the tenth year on the ballot for Martinez or McGriff, so if they don't make it this year they'll have to depend on the Veterans Committee to come through for them. Someday. Edgar should make it this time - he came close last year (70.4% of the vote) and there's only one obvious no-brainer joining the ballot this year. McGriff will slide off the ballot after he falls short this year. I think there's a good chance Andruw Jones just won't get enough votes to stay on the ballot. Sosa, Wagner, Sheffield, and Kent will probably live to fight another day but their candidacies aren't going anywhere at this point. I'm hoping to see a surge of support for Scott Rolen, who's one of the greatest third basemen in the history of the game.
New to the ballot are: Rick Ankiel, Jason Bay, Lance Berkman, Freddy García, Jon Garland, Travis Hafner, Roy Halladay, Todd Helton, Ted Lilly, Derek Lowe, Darren Oliver, Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitte, Juan Pierre, Plácido Polanco, Mariano Rivera, Miguel Tejada, Vernon Wells, Kevin Youkilis, Michael Young.
Rivera is getting in this year for sure. The only drama is if he'll become the first ever unanimous selection. (He won't.) Halladay might get in this year as well, but I think it's more likely that he'll have to wait a year or two. (There will be some people who won't be all that impressed by 203 wins.) Andy Pettitte will probably be on the ballot for years and years. I think he'll make it eventually but in the meantime he'll assume the role filled by Jack Morris for the last fifteen years of Hall discussions. Todd Helton's candidacy will also linger for years - he's got the Larry Walker problem (it's spelled C-O-O-R-S). I don't think either Roy Oswalt or Michael Young will ever get in but they should at least survive on the ballot. I'm not so sure about Berkman, who was a hell of a player but the career seems a little short. Everyone else I think is going to be one-and-done, thanks for playing. You all had very fine careers.
PREDICTION: Rivera, Martinez, Mussina.