The results of the voting for baseball's 2023 Hall of Fame class won't be announced until Tuesday evening, but it's not too soon to have bones to pick.

Because based on how things are looking right now, some guys deserve better.

It would be impossible to know without Ryan Thibodaux's indispensable Hall of Fame ballot tracker, which, as of Monday evening, has Scott Rolen and Todd Helton trending toward getting elected with more than the requisite 75 percent of the vote.

As percentages have been known to drop when ballots that haven't been made public are counted, that could change. But while small-hall folks might disagree, the position here from more of a big-hall viewpoint is that both Rolen and Helton deserve to be in Cooperstown.

As for the guys who aren't projected to get in this year, there are six for whom we'd like to go to bat. Because while the cases against them getting plaques aren't entirely without merit, the cases for them ought to hold just as much (if not more) water.

Before we get to them, we'd like to first address the guys who are polling about where they ought to be.


No Argument Here

Not counting Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Cain, Mike Napoli and others who are polling at 0 percent, here's the list of guys who we think are getting more or less the support they deserve:

Gary Sheffield (9th year on ballot): 63.2 percent

Jeff Kent (10th): 51.9 percent

Alex Rodriguez (2nd): 40.0 percent

Manny Ramírez (7th): 37.3 percent

Jimmy Rollins (2nd): 12.4 percent

Omar Vizquel (6th): 8.6 percent

Francisco Rodríguez (1st): 8.6 percent

Torii Hunter (3rd): 3.2 percent

Huston Street (1st): 0.5 percent

R.A. Dickey (1st): 0.5 percent

Rodriguez, Ramírez and Sheffield may have 1,760 career home runs between them, but another thing they have in common is strong ties to performance-enhancing drugs that kinda-sorta-definitely put a damper on their cases for Cooperstown. The first two served PED-related suspensions, while Sheffield admitted to using steroids.

As he's up from 32.7 percent of the vote last year, support for Kent has seemingly gotten a big boost in his final year of eligibility. But despite his MVP award from 2000 and record-setting 351 home runs as a second baseman, all-encompassing stats such as JAWS—that's "Jaffe Wins Above Replacement Score" for the uninitiated—don't characterize him as a Cooperstown-caliber representative for the position.

The same holds true for Rollins, an MVP in his own right, among shortstops. And while Vizquel and Hunter combined to win 20 Gold Gloves, their defense doesn't rate highly enough among shortstops and center fielders to distract from their modest offensive track records. That especially goes for Vizquel, who was also accused of domestic violence in 2020.

There's likewise a domestic violence arrest in Francisco Rodríguez's off-field history. And while he did rack up tons of saves—437 total and a single-season record 62 in 2008—his on-field history is otherwise lacking relative to the standards set down by relief pitchers already in the Hall.


LHP Mark Buehrle

Year on Ballot: 3rd

Voting: 10.8 percent

The Case Against Him

If ever there were an ideal pitcher for the Hall of Very Good, it has to be Mark Buehrle, right?

He may have been an All-Star five times throughout his 16-year career, but he finished in the top five in the Cy Young Award voting exactly once. And while he did log an impressive 3,283.1 innings, his 117 ERA+ is only tied for 181st all-time, and his career rate of 5.1 strikeouts per nine innings is only impressive if judged by leaguewide standards from before 1960.