Posted January 09, 2014

JAWS and the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot: An early look at the new names for 2015

Hall of Fame, JAWS
Randy Johnson

Five-time Cy Young award winner Randy Johnson headlines the newcomers to the 2015 Hall of Fame ballot. (John Biever/SI)

The following article is part of my ongoing look at the candidates on the BBWAA 2014 Hall of Fame ballot. For a detailed introduction to JAWS, please see here. For the breakdowns of each candidate and to read the previous articles in the series, see here.

If you thought that the traffic jam on the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot was a temporary problem, wait ’til next year. Just as the voters cleared a pair of 300-game winners and a 500-homer slugger on Wednesday, a similar array of well-qualified newcomers will join the fray on the 2015 ballot. Without changes to the process, that will likely cause a similar scenario to this year, with the vote totals of even the strongest holdover candidates — including near-miss Craig Biggio — suppressed.

The newly-elected Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine may have combined for 660 wins, 5,978 strikeouts and six Cy Young awards between them, but 2015 first-timers Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez alone can claim a combined 522 wins, 8,029 strikeouts and eight Cy Youngs, and both had a higher ERA+ (135 for the Big Unit, 154 for Pedro) than the Braves’ pair (132 for Maddux, 118 for Glavine). Throw in the third pitching mainstay of Atlanta’s dynasty, 1996 NL Cy Young award winner John Smoltz, and you’ve got even more hardware, not to mention yet another member of the 3,000 strikeout club. And even then, we’re just getting started.

What follows is a thumbnail sketch of the top new candidates on the ballot. Obviously, I’ll have more to say about each of these players down the road.

Randy Johnson (102.1 career WAR/62.0 peak WAR/82.0 JAWS)
Despite a late start to his major league career — he didn’t have a season where he qualified for the ERA title until age 26 — the Big Unit racked up 303 wins and 4,875 strikeouts, the second-highest total of all-time behind Nolan Ryan. He led his league in strikeouts nine times, in ERA four times and in wins once; in 2002, he won the pitchers’ Triple Crown by leading the league in all three categories. He made 10 All-Star teams and led the Diamondbacks to victory over the Yankees in the 2001 World Series, capping it with a memorable relief stint in Game 7.

Johnson’s five Cy Young awards rank second only to Roger Clemens’ seven, and unlike the Rocket, he doesn’t have any baggage related to performance-enhancing drugs. Six times Johnson led his league in pitcher Wins Above Replacement, and overall he ranks ninth among starting pitchers in JAWS, one spot ahead of Maddux. Among southpaws, only Lefty Grove (103/6/63.6/83.6) has a higher score. He should sail into Cooperstown.

Pedro Martinez (84.0/58.2/71.1)
He didn’t pile up nearly the number of innings that Maddux, Glavine, Clemens or Johnson did — just 2,827 1/3 total, en route to 219 wins — but he may have been the most dominant pitcher of the bunch. Martinez retired with a 2.93 ERA despite spending parts of his career in leagues where scoring was above five runs per game. Five times he had an ERA+ above 200, which means his raw ERA was less than half the league average; needless to say, he led his league in both categories in all five seasons (of which there have been just 17 since World War II). His 291 ERA+ in 2000 (1.74 ERA in a league that scored 5.30 runs per game) is the best of all-time among ERA qualifiers, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that his 154 ERA+ is the best among pitchers with at least 2,000 innings.

Beyond that, Martinez led his league in whiffs three times and reached 300 strikeouts twice in his career; he also led in strikeouts per nine five times and in strikeout-to-walk ratio four times. At the 2,000 inning level, he’s second among pitchers since 1900 (note that Mike Mussina — remember him? — is second in the latter category once the bar is raised to 3,000 innings). Martinez also made eight All-Star teams, won three Cy Youngs and was part of the World Series-winning 2004 Red Sox. Even with his low innings total, he ranks 21st all-time in JAWS, ahead of Curt Schilling, Mussina and Glavine; meanwhile, everyone who outranks him threw at least 1,000 more innings. Somebody somewhere will quibble with his workload (just seven 200-inning seasons and 11 qualifying for the ERA title). That person should be laughed out of the room, because on a per-inning basis, Martinez has a claim as the best pitcher ever.

John Smoltz (69.5/38.7/54.1)
Because he spent 3 1/2 seasons as a top-flight closer following Tommy John surgery, Smoltz doesn’t have the win totals of his Braves brethren, but he may have been more dominant than either Maddux or Glavine, as his 125 ERA+ and 8.0 strikeouts per nine (3,084 Ks for his career) attest. Smoltz won a Cy Young, led his leagues in strikeouts and wins twice apiece and was an absolute beast in the postseason, going 15-4 with a 2.67 ERA in 209 innings, better than either of his already elected former teammates.

Because of his relief work, Smoltz is below the JAWS standard for starters (72.6/50.2/61.4), but he’s very close in terms of career value; his case is kind of like that of first-ballot Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley, though the latter spent far more time in the bullpen. Anyway, his case will be interesting on the advanced metrics, but I suspect he’ll meet little resistance from the voters. When he goes in, he’ll be the first Tommy John surgery recipient to reach Cooperstown.

Gary Sheffield (60.4/38.0/49.2)
Sheffield was an offensive force during his 22-year career, using perhaps the most fearsome swing of the era to mash 509 home runs. He earned All-Star honors nine times, placed in the top three in MVP voting three times and finished with 2,689 hits and a .292/.393/.514 line, good for a 140 OPS+. His career featured one controversy after another, from his claim that he made intentional errors as a young shortstop with the Brewers — one that doesn’t really hold up, particularly in the context of his mistreatment by the organization — to his worn-out welcomes in multiple cities to his connection to Barry Bonds and the BALCO scandal. He never tested positive for steroids, and his claim that he didn’t know “the cream” was a PED may be more plausible than most denials, but he’ll face a tough time in front of voters nonetheless. Terrible defense (-177 runs according to Total Zone) knocks his JAWS below the standard on all three fronts. For as great a hitter as he was, he could be in for some rough sledding.

Brian Giles (50.8/37.1/44.0)
An on-base machine with power (.291/.400/.502 career), Giles was a highly underrated player due to the fact that he spent his entire career with the Indians (where he struggled to crack their lineup), Pirates and Padres. He didn’t qualify for a batting title until his age-28 season, when he bashed 39 homers, but that 1999 campaign started a 10-year run with an OPS+ of 142. Alas, he made just two All-Star teams, and was done at age 38 due to injuries. He won’t make it to the Hall, but his career deserves a longer look.

Nomar Garciaparra (44.2/43.0/43.6)
Remember the Holy Trinity of AL shortstops? There was a time early in his career that Garciaparra was considered a better player than either Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter; from 1997-2000, he hit for the highest OPS+ of the three (142, compared to 138 for Rodriguez and 128 for Jeter). During that span Garciaparra won AL Rookie of the Year honors and back-to-back batting titles.

Injuries took their toll thereafter, costing him most of 2001, and he reached 100 games just twice over his final six seasons due to ongoing lower body woes. Still, he surpasses the peak score of the average Hall of Fame shortstop (66.7/42.8/54.7), and despite his low career totals (1,747 hits, 229 homers) he’ll get some love from voters. Not enough, though.

Carlos Delgado (44.3/34.4/39.4)
Delgado made only two All-Star teams, but he did hit 473 homers to go with a .280/.383/.546 line (138 OPS+). Had a hip injury not curtailed his major league career at age 36, he’d get more serious consideration from the voters, but as it is, he’s short on just about every front. Still, the fact that he’s the ballot’s seventh-best newcomer — a distinction that belonged to Luis Gonzalez (51.5/33.8/42.7) this time around — speaks volumes as to the quality of first-time candidates here.

Tom Gordon (35.3/23.4/29.3)
The pint-sized “Flash” didn’t put up numbers that will get Hall of Fame voters to turn their heads (138-126 with 158 saves and a 3.96 ERA), but his was a fascinating career. He had an extended stint as a pretty decent starter/swingman with the Royals and Red Sox, a brief period of dominance as a closer interrupted by injury — punctuated by being the title subject of a Stephen King book — and then a long string as a setup man and occasional closer as he bounced around the majors. He ranks sixth in reliever JAWS, but below the standard on all three fronts, so he’ll be one-and-done, but he deserves his victory lap just the same.

As for the rest, barring a change to the nominating process, expect the ballot to include Jermaine Dye, Darin Erstad, Cliff Floyd, Troy Percival and Jason Schmidt, none of whom will get more than token support but all of whom had laudable careers that were limited by injuries.

In all, the 2014 ballot featured 17 players with JAWS scores of at least 50, the highest total since the balloting returned to an annual basis in 1966 (I haven’t gone further back systematically). The 2015 ballot will have 16 plus Sheffield, who’s within one point. It will again feature a player in Craig Biggio who had 3,000 hits but who fell two votes shy of enshrinement — and who will (deservedly) siphon off votes from some of the aforementioned — as well as four players with at least 500 homers, two with at least 300 wins and five with at least 3,000 strikeouts. It’s going to be another year of heated debates and battles for ballot space.

I have to admit, I can hardly wait. The institution, the process and the candidates may all have numerous flaws, but as should be apparent from this year’s JAWS series, I take great joy in celebrating the careers of the ballot’s best. Their accomplishments were truly spectacular, and if some of the candidates have warts, that only makes them as human as the rest of us.

34 comments
KevinRussell1
KevinRussell1

oh ya remember pedros last few years he was injured more then anyone

ineedataxi
ineedataxi

Wasn't JAWS the villain in all those James Bond movies ??

KurtSteinberg
KurtSteinberg

Delgado and Giles were both rumored to have been on HGH or steroids throughout their careers.  Delgado also refused to stand during the National Anthem, proving he has no class whatsoever.  Both of them will fall off the ballot in the first year.

rtpoeman
rtpoeman

Just an odd thought....


Instead of lamenting that the current voting process is making it so hard to honor all these great players, how about celebrating the fact that we got to see so many of them playing at the same time? It's an embarrassment of riches! Was there ever an era that had pitchers like Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Johnson, and Martinez all active at the same time?


Better to have too many choices than too few.

oasis1994
oasis1994

Setting aside adjusted numbers and numbers in general, I believe 4 to 5 guys will be voted in next year.


1. Biggio - I went back and forth on this one, but having seen this guy play I have to say yes. He played 3 prime positions and did whatever the team asked of him. Michael Young reminds me a lot of this guy. Now, going back to numbers; 3,000 hits is a yes for me. I don't care what his career average was; 3,000 is an amazing accomplishment. Catcher, second base, center field (outfield in general); enough said.


2. Randy Johnson - fear comes to mind. If I were a left handed hitter in the 90s/early 2000s I would have freaked out if I had to face him. His slider is one of the best ever and had so much movement that most hitters (right and left) were not able to hit it for a period. Now to his stats; over 300 wins, and he played on some Mariner teams that had bad bullpens. Second in career strikeouts.... done here.


3. Pedro Martinez. As a Red Sox fan I am biased. However, I think most people know all about him. I have never seen a pitcher as good as this guy. I was a delight watching him pitch for a while and you knew every time he got the ball that you were going to win, unless the offense (which was often the case) did not score any runs. He dominated in the steroid era as well. His stats might not be mind blowing to the point where he does not have 300 wins or the innings, but either do a few people in the HOF (minus the players that missed time due to Wars). His 1999/2000 seasons alone should get him in the HOF. 


4. John Smoltz - I say yes to this guy as a fist ballot HOF'er. Over 200 wins/150 saves; not many people can say they have done this. He also dominated at both and as Jaffe said; he had the best "stuff" of anyone on those Braves teams. I watched this guy pitch and his slider was as good as Randy Johnson's from the right side. If I had to pick one guy from that team to pitch a playoff game I would have picked Smoltz. People talk about Morris in the 1991 World Series going 10 innings; well Smoltz matched him and was just as good. He fell just short in that game. I think his performance was just as good as his (I think Jack Morris should be in the HOF, but that is a whole other story).


5. Mike Piazza - the "eye" test annoys the heck out of me. Yes, I really wish Piazza would come out and say he never took steroids, but it has not happened. That alone makes one suspicious, but he never tested positive and having seen this guy play I have to say yes. He is the best offensive catcher ever and I know he wasn't the best defensive catcher ever. But, think about it this way - he was pretty good at handling a pitching staff and I think people overlook that aspect of his game. 400 plus home runs at the catching position is enough for me to let him in. Speculation is not enough for me to warrant anything against him. If you want to say that, then was Griffey using? How about Jeter?  I think no to both, but do we really know this? 


Others; Alan Trammell, Morris (although now he has to get voted in by the committee), Garvey.


Trammell - just about the same player as Barry Larkin minus the steals. This guy should be in the HOF. I have no idea why people have not voted him in. I have a hard time believing Ozzie Smith belongs there and Larkin and not this guy. Smith was amazing on defense, but Trammell was almost as good in my mind. On offense; no contest. Trammell was a lot better than Smith. The voters should be ashamed of themselves for not voting for this guy.


Morris - 3.90 career ERA. Yes, that is high, but look at it another way. This guy pitched into the 8th or 9th more than any other pitcher since the DH came along. He did because he wanted to, and he saved the bullpen, thus helping the team all those years. What if Morris did not pitch into the 8th and 9th so many times, heck even the 7th. I want to know how many runs he gave up in those innings and adjust his ERA from there. Truly amazing he did not get in. When you say a number "1" he was a true number 1 and he made the number 2 and 5 guys better. How? They didn't have to pitch a complete game and the bullpen, like I said before, would be able to handle a bit more of the load those days, thus limiting the innings those guys would have to pitch.


Garvey - great player, great clubhouse guy, great person, awesome player. He was a MVP, great fielder and an offensive force. Enough said.

MichaelC
MichaelC

I don't see how Sheffield has much of a chance with the current voter mentality - probably see 15-20% of the ballot. Stats are obviously great and his WAR benefits from his SB and walk totals ... but he's labeled a "PED guy" and that's pretty much all it takes for many voters to leave him off the list. Throw in reputation as a "me, myself, and I" personality and a clubhouse malcontent ... really no chance.


See Randy, Pedro, and Biggio make the cut. Piazza will probably be in the same kind of spot Biggio was in this year - barely missing the cut. Smoltz will also come close but end up in the mid 60s or so. He was essentially the #3 pitcher for the Braves (behind Maddux and Glavine) aside from the '96 season. Crazy that he became the staff ace for his 38-39-40 year old seasons ... after his amazing run as a closer. 

MarkCalasade
MarkCalasade

Randy Johnson was phenomenal. One of the if not the best left-hander to ever pitch. Besides Maddux I can't think of any other modern player more deserving of the HOF.

Masternachos
Masternachos

Want to blow your mind?

Compare Sandy Koufax' career stats with Pedro Martinez' first 13 seasons:


Games- Koufax 397, Martinez 388

Started- Koufax 314, Martinez 321

IP- Koufax 2324.1, Martinez 2296.0 (just 28 fewer IP)

Records- Koufax 165-87, Martinez 182-76

Raw ERA- Koufax 2.76, Martinez 2.71 [Martinez beats Koufax in UNADJUSTED ERA, IN THE 90s]

ERA+ -Koufax 131, Martinez 168

SO- Koufax 2396, Martinez 2653


Both had three Cy Young Awards, and Pedro was painstakingly close to joining Koufax with an MVP.


Not saying Martinez was better than Koufax, but...

SDCardsFan64
SDCardsFan64

And how many pitchers have killed a bird with their fastball? THAT alone should get Randy Johnson into the HOF.

disgracedfury
disgracedfury

Delgado numbers don't look flashy but if you look at the 8 sluggers who hit more homers between 96-03 than him 6 were steroid users(Sosa,Bonds,A-Rod,Palmeiro,Thome,Bagwell,McGwire,Ramirez)


Delgado numbers look great if those steroid users numbers was watered down. Also A-Rod stole the MVP from Delgado in 03.


He is also only one of 8 players with 450 homers,1500 rbi's and 500 doubles.

Bledred
Bledred

I just do not see Sheffield getting in due to being associated with BALCO.  Randy, Pedro, Smotlz, and Biggio are going to be getting in next year.  That will clear the slate for future classes. 

Taylor C
Taylor C

I can see 4 going in next year: Johnson, Pedro, Biggio, and Smoltz

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

Guess you figure savoring the moment (class '14) is for chumps, huh, Jay?  But since we're here...


Randy & Pedro are in, Sheffield (Balco) & Smoltz, "maybe no."  If you'd afforded real weight to Morris' PS performance, pretty "beast(y)" too (7-1, 3.05 pre-TOR (yr 17)), I'd have allowed for it's inclusion in your case for John to Cooperstown, but gotta' be consistent, right?  And then the playoff slate was diluted somewhat in 90s and Smoltzy & Co. were a loaded staff, easing the burden.  But it's very early and maybe others will make some 'style' arguments in John's favor.  I'm open.    

ny11399
ny11399

This isn't on-topic but is more towards addressing the "controversy" about Dan Le Batard giving his HOF vote over to Deadspin.com and the uproar after.  Most of those writing to vilify Le Batard and Deadspin are talking abut the "sanctity" of the HOF vote and the fact that voters have to be at least 10-year members of the BBWAA.  And yet those 500+ voters bring their own pettiness, their own biases, their own interests into each year's voting process.  Some won't even put the best players of their time on the ballot in their first year of eligibility - making them wait for eventual enshrinement - as their way of keeping the Hall "meaningful."  Here's what I say - any of the 23 voters that didn't vote for Willie Mays in his first year of eligibility should LOSE THEIR VOTE.  My god, they shouldn't be allowed to write about baseball after that. The 9 voters that didn't vote for Hank Aaron - same thing.  20 cretins didn't vote for Ted Williams his first year on the ballot and 23 didn't vote for Stan Musial.  I'm just using obvious choices as the players I've mentioned should've been 100% unanimous selections by any baseball measuring standards.  The reasons they weren't voted for could only be pettiness, racial hatred, personal animosity, personal team allegiances and many other small, non-baseball related issues.  So to all the HOF voters upset at Dan Le Batard and Deadspin - too bad. Police your own group of small-minded voters.  Far too many, in any time period, are not using their votes in any meaningful and rightful way.  45 voters didn't vote for Frank Robinson the first year he was eligible.  And how 'bout this - Joe DiMaggio didn't even get the necessary % of votes in his first year of eligibility!!!!  I say take the vote away from the cretins that didn't vote for these obvious all-time greats.  Same holds true every year.  Didn't vote for Greg Maddux - gone.   Clean up the folks who vote and get rid of the petty, irresponsible one.

PAZSKY
PAZSKY

Percival was a good player, but he will never be in the Hall. I predict a one and done for him. There are a couple closers who aren't in with better numbers- Lee Smith and Jeff Reardon- so I hate to say it, but no shot. Same goes in the future for John Franco and Billy Wagner. I think the only closers who have a future shot are the obvious Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman, tough it might take Hoffman a few tries before entry.

vinniesdad
vinniesdad

Isn't Troy Percival on the ballot next year.  If I'm not mistaken #7 on the all time saves list and an indispensable part of the Angels early century dominance.  (Not to mention his work in the 2002 playoffs and WS).  Not saying he SHOULD be in but curious of your thoughts.


Masternachos
Masternachos

@oasis1994 Re: Jack Morris' ERA in 7th, 8th and 9th innings

Jack Morris' ERA in the 7th inning over his career was 3.33; in the 8th, 4.47; in the 9th, 2.78.

If we remove all the runs he gave up in the 7th+ innings, then his ERA would actually go "up," to about 3.97.

KurtSteinberg
KurtSteinberg

@MarkCalasadeI agree.  He really should be a unanimous pick, like Maddux should have been.  He had a cannon for an arm, like Nolan Ryan, but had immpeccable control from the time he turned 29 through the end of his career, unlike Ryan.

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

@Masternachos Good comparison, but here are their post-season ERAs: Koufax (7gs), 0.95; Martinez (14gs), 3.46.

taiwan
taiwan

@Masternachos What I remembered the most about him was his career was pretty much done after the age of 31. I never figured out what really happened that caused him to lose so much on his fastballs. He didn't have any injury that I was aware of. Once he lost those upper 90 fastballs he was very hittable. You all recalled he called Yankees his daddy.


Without a doubt he had the most dominant 10 year any pitcher could have had, With that upper 90 fastballs and one of the best changeup in the game he was virtually unhittable. Definitely first ballot HOF.


Better than Koufax? I have to say so.

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

@disgracedfury Had you gone with "flashy," I couldn't have disagreed.  Carlos' has some terrific numbers.  Nine seasons w/ 100 rbi, sustained run-production, no stranger to .300+ BA and while only 10g in PS, he made the most of it (.351 / 11rbi / 4hr).  As the author notes, that "hip injury" came at a bad time, but in a liberal mood, I might cast him a vote.

joshuadwatson
joshuadwatson

@KeysSteven  Here is an argument for Schilling and Smoltz...There are 16 pitchers with 3,000 K's. The only ones not in the HOF are Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Curt Schilling, and Roger Clemens. Randy, Pedro, are getting in. Clemens may not only because of PEDs. That would leave Schilling and Smoltz. Think about that only 16 pitchers in Baseball history with 3,000 K's. There have been 28 hitters get 3,000 hits...all in the HOF except Rose, Palmeiro, and Biggio. There have been 24 pitchers get 300 wins...all in the HOF except Clemens and Johnson. 23 pitchers have thrown a perfect game. 3,000 K's is more rare than any of those and both Schilling and Smoltz did it.

EliCabelly
EliCabelly

@KeysStevenRandy and Pedro are definite, Smoltz should be in but not on the first ballot. Biggio should make it finally, since he fell short by only 2 votes. 2016 will be easier, since only The Kid will be a definite with Smoltz likely then. We might see another candidate get in then, like Piazza. Trammell will be off the ballot by that time, so there will be more room for those deserving consideration.

babaarbadou24
babaarbadou24

DiMaggio was voted in 1 year early. Retired in '51 and was inducted in '55. 

lionoah
lionoah

@ny11399 I like the part about they shouldn't be allowed to write about baseball anymore. ANYONE who doesn't think Greg Maddux should be in the HOF should not be permitted to write about baseball. The reason is so simple, clear and makes so much sense that it doesn't even need to be explained.

Mikey A
Mikey A

@vinniesdad Not even close, but he may be the bets of the "honorable mentions."

Sportsfan18
Sportsfan18

@Masternachos @oasis1994   A.J. Burnett;'s career ERA+ right now is 105.  Jack Morris' career ERA+ is 105.


Ouch!  Now Jack is a better pitcher no doubt but this is just another reason why Jack didn't get in and didn't deserve to get into the HOF.

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

@joshuadwatson @KeysSteven I'm all-in on Curt Schilling for HOF: win%, BB / SO ratio is superb (711 / 3116) and those PS numbers stellar (11-2 / 2.23).  Like Morris, a gamer and a big-money pitcher.  As for John, you make a good case here and author is sold ("When he goes in").  I also like how, apart from the metrics, John wherewithal in re-working his career, shining in both starter & closer capacities, then back to starter.  I'm coming around.     

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

@EliCabelly @KeysSteven I'm on the fence with Craig.  I like the consistency, the approach, field (4gg) and run-production (for RBIs), but last third of his career the BA was Ripken-esque (fair-to-middling), didn't like the body-armour, and his PS (40g) is not an enhancer (.234 / 11rbi / 2hr / 23r (+)).  Tidal wave of sympathy this week may carry him in for '15 or simply highlight his (-)s. 

EliCabelly
EliCabelly

@KeysSteven@EliCabellyI'm on the fence with Bags and Biggio, about equally for both. The reason I say that Biggio should make it is simply because no other player has gotten that close without getting in.


Other than that, things are really crowded. Bonds and Clemens have cases to make the HoF even before they started juicing but the electorate won't vote for them, Bags and Biggio were the Killer BB (along with Beltran when he arrived), similar to Stengel's M&M boys (Mantle and Maris), Piazza was the best offensive catcher ever, Martinez was the best DH ever, Kent was the best offensive 2B ever (Wagner was a SS), McGwire was the first to hit 70 HR in a season (again, won't get in), and then you have Schilling, Mussina, McGriff, and Raines, all with varying levels of HoF qualifications. Simply put, that's 16 players who would not be out of place in the HoF including Randy, Pedro, Smoltz, and Sheffield, with only 4 effectively DQ'd from steroid use.


I really hope that 3 get in next year, and another 3 (including The Kid) the year after that. 2017 doesn't help either, with Ivan, Manny, and Vlad all joining the ballot. 2018 isn't any better, with Chipper and Thome joining then, so 3 every year until 2018 would allow Biggio, Piazza, Bags and maybe 2 other players from this incredible logjam to get in and clear things out a bit.