2020: Is Derek Jeter the perfect Hall of Fame candidate?
Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, Cliff Lee, Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn
Clemens, Bonds, Mussina, Schilling, Halladay
Most Likely To Be Elected
With his 3,465 hits (sixth all-time), 14 All-Star appearances and five World Series championship rings, Jeter isn't just a lock for Cooperstown; he's got a very strong chance at a top-10 share of the vote despite his defensive shortcomings. He's even a threat to become the first unanimously elected candidate in Hall history (remember, it's not Red Sox fans voting here).
The Captain is almost certainly alone among the first-ballot set, however. Konerko, despite his 439 career homers, .279/.354/.486 (118 OPS+) lifetime batting line and upstanding reputation, isn't going to be any longer for the ballot than Carlos Delgado (473 homers, .280/.383/.546 line and 138 OPS+ but just 3.8% of the vote in 2015) was. Likewise for Dunn and his 462 bombs, particularly given the way his career slid into replacement level territory by the end. Giambi, with his 440 homers and a 139 OPS+, was a better hitter and far more valuable player than either Konerko or Dunn (46.3 JAWS, compared to 24.5 for Konkero and 17.2 for Dunn), but he's still short of the first base bar by a wide margin, and his prominent position in the BALCO mess won't help him either; his candidacy more closely resembles Gary Sheffield's than Bonds's. Abreu, despite a stellar .291/.395/.475 batting line, 128 OPS+ and a career/peak/JAWS that's a whisker above Guerrero across the board, won’t have nearly the impact on the ballot. Lee, with just 143 career wins and the 124th-highest JAWS among starting pitchers, won’t get anywhere.
This is Mussina's opening, and it could be Schilling's as well if he regains his lost ground more quickly than I anticipated. Bonds and Clemens will come close, perhaps topping 70%, but I expect the inevitable to be prolonged by some determined holdouts. Halladay should be well above 50%. Walker could near that in his final cycle. There's room for a couple others—perhaps Ramirez (in his fourth year), Sheffield (sixth year), Jeff Kent (seventh year) or more recent candidates such as Rolen or Vizquel—to gain traction.