Next Tuesday, January 6 at 2 p.m. eastern, we will find which former big league players will receive an invitation to be inducted into to the Baseball Hall of Fame. I have already detailed some of the players who will have a hard time getting into Cooperstown in 2015. The biggest question on everyone’s mind is, who are the players that will be inducted into the 2015 class?
Three former Cy Young Award winners, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz headline a group of 17 first-time former players on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America 2015 Hall of Fame ballot. Former Boston Red Sox and two-time batting champ (1999, 2000) Nomar Garciaparra and power hitters Gary Sheffield and Carlos Delgado will also make their first appear on the ballot. Without further ado, here are the players I believe will be inducted into the 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Big Unit was arguably the best pitcher of his generation. Randy Johnson played 22 seasons and was a five-time Cy Young Award winner, 10-time All-Star, and shared the 2001 World Series MVP with Curt Schilling. Johnson also finished his career second on the MLB strikeout list with 4,875 and was a four-time ERA champion.
Johnson was baseball’s most featured pitcher during the 1990s and is a lock for the Hall of Fame. It is likely Johnson will have the highest voting percentage out of any candidate in 2015.
At 5’11”, 170 pounds, Pedro Martinez might not have looked like an intimidating player on the mound, but he certainly was that.
In the middle of the steroids era, Martinez was a three Cy Young Award winner and finished with the top ERA in baseball five times. From 1997-2003, the pitcher went 118-36 with a 2.20 ERA as he averaged 5.6 strikeouts-per-walk along with a WHIP of 0.94.
Martinez won .687 of his games, which is only second to Whitey Ford in baseball’s modern era. Martinez’s 1999 season might have been the best year any pitcher has ever had in the modern era.
Martinez won the pitching version of the Triple Crown as he posted a 23-4 record with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts against 37 walks in 213 1/3 innings pitched. No disrespect to Ivan Rodriguez, but Martinez should have won the 1999 AL MVP.
While he didn’t have the 300 career wins like Johnson did, Martinez certainly be a first-ballot hall of famer in 2015.
John Smoltz had an interesting career as he was first a starter and later a relief pitcher. From 1988-1999, Smoltz was a staple of the Atlanta Braves pitching rotation as he went 209-147 with a 3.40 ERA, a 1.19 WHIP and had a 2.92 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He was also a six-time All-Star as a starter and won the 1996 NL Cy Young Award by going 24-8 with a 2.94 ERA while leading the league in innings (253 2/3) and strikeouts (276).
As a reliever from 2001-2004, Smoltz recorded 154 saves with a 2.41 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP and a 5.60 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 261 1/3 innings. He led the majors with 55 saves in 2002 and finished third in NL Cy Young during that same season. Smoltz was selected as a NL All-Star twice as a reliever in 2002 and 2003.
Smoltz was also one of the best postseason pitchers ever as he finished with a 15-4 record with four saves in 27 starts and 14 relief appearances. He also sported a 2.67 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP and a 2.97 strikeout-to-walk ratio in postseason play.
While I don’t expect Smoltz to get 90 percent of the votes, I do believe he will get into Cooperstown in 2015. With his longevity, excellent postseason record and all of his accomplishments, I don’t think there’s any doubt Smoltz is a Hall of Famer
In 2014, on his second-time on the ballot, Craig Biggio missed being elected by just two votes. Needless to say, Biggio should get in 2015.
In 20 seasons in majors, Biggio recorded 3,060 hits (21st all-time), 1,844 runs scored (15th all-time), 668 doubles (5th all-time), 1,014 extra-base hits (33rd all-time) and 414 stolen bases (66th all-time). He also is a seven-time All-Star, four-time Gold-Glove Award winner and a five-time Silver Slugger winner.
Biggio was arguably baseball’s best second baseman in the mid-90s, so I would be surprised if the third time wasn’t the charm for him.
Players that Should Get in but won’t
Mike Piazza– He is the best hitting catcher of all-time and should be in already. Piazza only got 62 percent of the votes last year, so I would be a surprise to see him get elected in 2015.
Mike Mussina- The former Baltimore Oriole and New York Yankee won 270 games in his career. While I think Mussina will eventually get in, it won’t be this year.
Fred McGriff– The crime dog had a career batting average of .284 with 493 homeruns, 2,490 hits, 1,550 RBI, 1,349 runs and 441 doubles. McGriff is one of the most underrated hitters of all-time and should be in.
Jeff Bagwell– The 1994 MVP had a career average of .297 with 449 home runs and 1,529 RBIs. It is quite possible he may never get into the Hall of Fame.
Tim Raines- It’s a shame the second greatest leadoff hitter ever is not in the Hall of Fame. Raines averaged 60 steals per year from 1981-1992.
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