By Jason Shetler
Former Pirates infielder Freddy Sanchez was named to the Hall of Fame ballot by the BBWAA. While Sanchez obviously isn’t a Hall of Famer, he had a productive big league career nonetheless. So here now is my 2017 Hall of Fame mock ballot.
Barry Bonds: While Barry Bonds was certainly a controversial figure, he was without a doubt one of the best all-around players to ever play the game. By the year 2000, Bonds won three MVP awards, eight Gold Glove honors and had an OPS+ of 163, so he had a Hall of Fame career even before the steroid allegations.
Billy Wagner: One of the most dominant relievers during the Expansion Era was Billy Wagner. The hard-throwing lefty posted an 11.9 K/9 along with a 187 ERA+ in 16 seasons. Wagner also recorded 422 saves, which are fourth most all-time.
Curt Schilling: In 20 big league seasons, Curt Schilling racked up 3,116 strikeouts, and finished runner-up for the Cy Young award on three different occasions. Schilling was better known for his work in the postseason, as he put up a 2.23 ERA with a 0.97 WHIP in 19 starts, while helping guide the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox to World Series championships.
Edgar Martinez: Although some people frown upon the designated hitter, Edgar Martinez was one of the very best in that role. The seven-time All-Star had a 147 OPS+ during his 18 year career, which is better than David Ortiz (141), and Ortiz is likely headed to Cooperstown as a DH.
Ivan Rodriguez: Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez is no doubt heading to the Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot. Rodriguez is simply one of the greatest all-around catchers in baseball history, as he captured 13 Gold Glove honors, seven Silver Slugger awards and was the 1999 AL MVP.
Jeff Bagwell: With Craig Biggio already in the Hall of Fame, his longtime Houston Astros teammate Jeff Bagwell should be there as well. Bagwell posted a .948 OPS along with a 149 OPS+ and was the recipient of the NL MVP award in 1994. There were two other seasons that he finished in the Top 3 of the NL MVP voting. Bagwell was arguably the best first baseman during the 90’s.
Jorge Posada: While Jorge Posada wasn’t as decorated as Ivan Rodriguez, he certainly had a solid career in his own right. In 17 seasons, Posada put up an .848 OPS, which is exceptional for a catcher, and won five Silver Slugger awards. He also played a vital part in the New York Yankees dynasty run during the late 90’s-early 2000’s.
Manny Ramirez: Whether you were a fan of Manny Ramirez’s antics or not, there’s no denying that he was one of the most potent sluggers of his generation. A 12-time All-Star, Ramirez finished Top 5 of the MVP voting on four occasions, while posting an OPS over 1.000 eight different times. Although he was hit with a PED suspension, Ramirez still had Hall of Fame worthy numbers even before that.
Mike Mussina: One of the more underrated pitchers in terms of durability may have been Mike Mussina, as he compiled 3,562.2 innings. While his 3.68 ERA doesn’t seem great, he pitched in the “Steroid Era” where runs were being scored at an all-time high. Mussina had a career 82.7 WAR, which is better than the average Hall of Fame pitcher (73.9), and finished Top 5 of the AL Cy Young voting six times.
Roger Clemens: For as much of a polarizing figure as Roger Clemens is, he’s one of the greatest pitchers of the 20th century with his seven Cy Young awards, AL MVP award from the 1986 season and a career 4,672 strikeouts. Just like Barry Bonds, Clemens amassed a Hall of Fame resume well before suspicions of PED use came about.
Tim Raines: Tim Raines will be in his final year on the ballot, and it’s a shame that he isn’t in Cooperstown already. Over a 23-year Major League career, Raines had a very impressive .385 on base percentage, and had 808 stolen bases, which are fifth most all-time.
Trevor Hoffman: When it comes to consistent relief pitchers, Trevor Hoffman was in the category of consistently great. Hoffman had a career ERA+ of 141, and recorded 601 saves, second only to Mariano Rivera. He also finished runner-up for the NL Cy Young award in 1998 and 2006.
Vladimir Guerrero: Vlad Guerrero made an instant impact when he joined the Montreal Expos in the late 90’s, and that impact lasted well beyond the 2000’s. During his 16-year big league career, Guerrero put up a .931 OPS along with an OPS+ of 140 and captured the AL MVP with the Los Angeles Angels in 2004. He also was the recipient of eight Silver Slugger awards, seven as a right fielder and one as a DH.