Former Philadelphia Phillies have begun to take over the MLB Hall of Fame ballot.
Monday, the Baseball Writers Association of America published their 2018 MLB Hall of Fame ballot. Of the 33 candidates on the 2018-2019 Hall of Fame ballot, 19 of the candidates are on the ballot for the first time. Five of those candidates spent some portion of their career with the Phillies. There's a total of seven former Phillies on the ballot.
The first-time former Phillies in the ballot are Jim Thome, Scott Rolen, Brad Lidge, Jamie Moyer and Kevin Millwood. Here's a brief look at each of their candidacies:
Jim Thome - This is a drastic oversimplification of Thome's career, but he's one of nine players in the history of the sport with 600 or more career home runs. Of those nine, Thome is one of six who has never been connected to performance-enhancing drugs. It is a crowded ballot this year, but Thome should absolutely be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Scott Rolen - Rolen isn't going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer (and may never get in), but he actually has a fairly clear-cut case. The average WAR for a Hall of Fame third baseman is 67.5, while Rolen had a career WAR of 70.0. The average WAR 7 of a Hall of Fame third baseman is 42.8, while Rolen had a WAR 7 of of 43.5. The average JAWS of a Hall of Fame third baseman is 55.2, while Rolen had a JAWS of 56.8. Rolen was the 1997 National League Rookie of the Year, made seven All-Star teams and won eight Gold Glove Awards. He didn't leave on great terms in many of the stops in his career, but his resume speaks for itself - he's a Hall of Famer. Whether he is ever elected or not remains to be seen.
Brad Lidge - Lidge is a hero to so many in Philadelphia because of his 2008 season, where he didn't blow a save the entire year and closed out the team's second World Series title. Eventually, he'll probably find his way onto the Phillies Wall of Fame. As far as the baseball Hall of Fame, he's likely to fall off the ballot.
Jamie Moyer - As cool as Moyer's story is, he has a career ERA of 4.25 and a career FIP of 4.47 (per FanGraphs). He's not a Hall of Famer. However, it wouldn't be shocking if Moyer hangs around the ballot for a few years, because you only need to get five percent of the vote to stay on the ballot. Does he deserve that much? Probably not, but enough older school voters may vote for him because of his 269 career wins and just because he pitched until almost age 50.
Kevin Millwood - Millwood did throw the final no-hitter at Veterans Stadium, but he's likely to fall off the ballot. While he threw the aforementioned no-hitter and was part of some extremely talented rotations with the Atlanta Braves, he had a 4.11 ERA and a 3.99 FIP (per FanGraphs). His 46.2 career WAR is probably higher than you would expect, but he's still pretty clearly short of garnering serious consideration.
Billy Wagner and Curt Schilling are the two former Phillies that remain on the ballot from previous year. Both of them have complicated cases:
Billy Wagner - I spoke to Wagner earlier this year, after his long-time teammate Craig Biggio was elected to the Hall of Fame. He talked about how happy he was for Biggio, while also discussing his own Hall of Fame case. Wagner first appeared on the ballot in 2016, when he received 10.5 percent of the vote. In 2017, he received 10.2 percent of the vote. Wagner's 422 saves are sixth in MLB history, and he also has a better career ERA and a similar WAR (per FanGraphs) than Trevor Hoffman, who is likely be inducted this time around. Hoffman, does, of course, have over 600 career saves.
Curt Schilling - Schilling said in April that he wouldn't vote for himself for the Hall of Fame. He's wrong. He's got a better career WAR and JAWS than the average Hall of Fame starting pitcher. He's one of the greatest postseason pitchers in the history of the sport. The problem for him is that some Hall of Fame voters already incorrectly viewed him as a fringe case because he only has 216 career regular season wins. However, those same voters voted for Pedro Martinez and will probably vote for the late Roy Halladay, who have similar win numbers. On top of that, some voters have also penalized him for comments that he's made about political topics in recent years. He's no doubt been penalized for that, as he lost more than five percent of the people that voted for him in 2016 in 2017. In that time, his stats didn't change. The guess here is that Barry Bonds will get into the Hall of Fame before Schilling.
The ballot is likely to become even more crowded with former Phillies over the next few years. Roy Oswalt, Juan Pierre, Michael Young and Halladay will become eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2019. In 2020, Bobby Abreu and Cliff Lee will become eligible.
For the time being, there are seven former Phillies on the Hall of Fame ballot. Those candidates will find out their fate on Jan. 24, 2018, when the BBWAA announces the 2019 Hall of Fame class.