After David Ortiz was elected to the Hall of Fame a year ago, the debate started as to whether anyone would be elected by the Baseball Writers Association of America in 2023. Looking ahead to 2024, the question is not “if,” but “how many?”
Luckily for those hoping to head to Cooperstown in July of 2024, Adrián Beltré should have his name checked on at least the requisite 75 percent of ballots by eligible BBWAA voters in his first appearance on the ballot, and there’s an outside chance he could be joined by one or two more of the new arrivals.
To be eligible for the Hall of Fame ballot, a player must have played 10 seasons in the big leagues and have been retired for five full seasons. (Ichiro Suzuki’s two-game Mariners cameo at the start of the 2019 season in Japan means he’s not on the 2024 ballot, but will appear on the 2025 edition.) The ballot is released every November before the physical ballots are sent to eligible writers.
Not all players who had 10 years and have been retired for five seasons are added to the ballot. The last ballot had 14 first-timers, and spitballing here, we have 18 different players who could be on the ballot come November. With apologies to Phil Hughes, Brandon Morrow and Santiago Castilla, here’s a look at those players, divided into tiers by their chances to have their busts put in Cooperstown in the future.
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• Adrián Beltré: Let’s see — 3,166 hits, 477 home runs, five Gold Gloves, two Platinum Gloves. Those numbers get the old-school votes. A total of 93.5 WAR according to Baseball-Reference (rWAR) — more than fellow third basemen George Brett, Wade Boggs and Chipper Jones — and in the Jaffe WAR Score System (JAWS), he’s behind only Mike Schmidt, Eddie Matthews and Boggs at third base. Those numbers get the new-school votes.
Voters spend a lot of time on their ballots. There’s no reason to spend much of that time on Beltré. He’s an easy check for anyone.