Ethan's 2023 IBWAA HOF Ballot
This week I looked at everybody up for Hall of Fame consideration. For the IBWAA, this is who I am voting for:
This Past Week in Posts:
Over the past week I have looked at, and briefly touched, every players candidacy for the Hall of Fame. Here are some quick links for you to easily to get to each article:
Tuesday - The BBWAA Ballot: First Year Players
Wednesday - The BBWAA Ballot: Returners
Thursday - The BBWAA Ballot: Former Yankees
The IBWAA Ballot:
The IBWAA ballot this year is perfectly identical to the BBWAA ballot when it comes to which players can be voted for. (This wasn't true in recent years as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were previously inducted by the IBWAA.)
There is another important distinction between the two ballots as well, as the BBWAA limits voters up to 10 selections while the IBWAA allows for voting up to 12 players. In my circumstance this year, the extra votes were not necessary.
This is my 4th year voting for the IBWAA, of which you can find my previous ballots and reasonings here:
My 2023 Ballot:
Without further ado, let's get into my ballot. And, as I previously laid out their cases in the articles above, this year I'm going to be a little more relaxed on explaining why I am voting for each player.
Todd Helton -
When looking at his case against other players on the ballot, Todd Helton had the highest OPS+ for players who have not been accused of using steroids. This completely takes away the advantage of playing in Coors Field and yet he still comes up as a top hitter amongst this crowd. By JAWS, he's the 15th ranked first baseman, by WAR he's 17th, and WAR/7 he's 10th. His career .3XX/.4XX/.5XX triple-slash is also only matched by 7 other first baseman in history...of whom all are in the Hall of Fame.
Andruw Jones -
Through the Hall of Fame the game of baseball has given favor to players who had excellent defensive numbers while being lackluster on offense, especially for catchers and shortstops. It's time to make that same favor for one of the greatest defensive center fielders ever. And, it also helps that Jones had above-average offensive numbers too. I saw it stated this way recently: "If I told you the greatest defensive center fielder since the 1990's also hit 400 home runs, would you think of him as a Hall of Famer?". The answer is yes. Welcome to my ballot, Andruw.
Andy Pettitte -
Arguably the best postseason pitcher of all time, Andy Pettitte is a deserving Hall of Famer. Along with that, his regular season stats are perfectly on-par for a Hall of Fame pitcher, which also doesn't fully consider how he pitched through one of the most offensive-heavy era's in baseball history. And, maybe if you can't accept his use of HGH and consider that unacceptable, I think it's also fair to point out that he was the first player to publicly admit and apologize for his usage. I believe in giving people a second chance and Pettitte gets the benefit of doubt for me.
Manny Ramirez - (see next player)
Alex Rodriguez -
If it isn't clear by now (and if you've followed me over the years, this isn't a shock) but I am okay with steroid users to get into the Hall of Fame. I also believe in the "steroid tax", which is to say that known steroid users should have to have put up outstanding stats to make the Hall of Fame. I believe both Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez fit this mold.
Manny Ramirez is one of 15 players to ever hit more than 550 home runs. Manny Ramirez is one of 4 left fielders to finish his career with a .3XX/.4XX/.5XX triple-slash (the three others are Ted Williams, Ed Delahanty, and Lefty O'Doul). Would you say Willie Stargell is a Hall of Famer? Of course. Manny Ramirez has a more than 10 bWAR, 300 hits, 80 home runs, and 100 points by OPS advantage over him. Even with a steroid tax, his case is proven.
Alex Rodriguez is a Top-5 player by home runs with his 696. He's one of 32 players- of whom 21 are position players- with a bWAR above 100. Considered a shortstop by JAWS, he has the highest OPS by players with more than 1500 games played...which is over 70 points higher than the player in 2nd place- Honus Wagner. (That same difference would also separate Wagner from someone like Michael Young.) I rest my case.
Francisco Rodriguez -
Yes. And we'll come back to this later.
Scott Rolen -
I've made this case and will continue to make this case until I am blue in the face. Scott Rolen is a sure-fire Hall of Famer. He was an excellent defender and a very good hitter at the hot corner and the position deserves more recognition in the Hall of Fame. How his case has taken this long to really materialize is a joke. I have nothing left to say. Put him in already.
Billy Wagner -
Who are the Top 5 relief pitchers in baseball history? The top two are pretty clearly Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman, the two titans of the boom of the closer. Then you get Dennis Eckersley and Goose Gossage who really set the bar for what makes a great reliever. And then who is fifth? Rollie Fingers and Hoyt Wilhelm are good options. But what about Billy Wagner or Francisco Rodriguez? I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out.
Billy Wagner pitched in the 6th most games and games finished for a reliever ever. Across relievers with more than 200 innings pitched (yes, really), Billy Wagner is 2nd in ERA+. Billy Wagner also has the 6th most saves in history. Across relievers who have less than 150 games started, Wagner has the 6th most strikeouts.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched in the 9th most games and games finished for a reliever ever. Across relievers with more than 750 innings pitched (a more fair innings cut-off), Francisco Rodriguez is 6th in ERA+. Francisco Rodriguez also has the 4th most saves in history. Across relievers who have less than 100 games started, Rodriguez has the 12th most strikeouts.
Let's be fair here. These two guys were titans of their positions and were incredibly under-recognized because their careers- Wagner (1995-2010) and Rodriguez (2002-2017)- also mostly overlapped Mariano Rivera (1995-2013) and Trevor Hoffman (1993-2010). Let's be fair to them now. Maybe I'm a bit crazy, but I've pretty well convinced myself of this.