The 2023 Hall of Fame Ballot was released today. In order for a player to be selected to the Hall of Fame, they must receive 75% of the votes. Last year, David Ortiz was the lone player that reached the 75% plateau. This year, 28 players are on the ballot with 14 of those appearing for the first time. If not elected, players will remain on the ballot if they receive at least 5% of the vote and they have not appeared 10 years. On this year's ballot, 4 former Cardinals have their shot at getting the call. Let's dive in to who they are.
Scott Rolen is on the ballot for his 6th year and of the returning players, he garnered the highest percent of the vote with 63.2%. Rolen was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2nd round of the 1993 MLB Draft and made an immediate impact with the Phillies by winning the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year. From there, he didn't stop. He quickly became one of the best 3B in the game and is now widely regarded as one of the best defensive 3B in history. At his retirement, Rolen was 3rd all time with 8 gold gloves at 3B.
Rolen's prime years were from 1998-2004, which includes a personal best 4th place finish in MVP in 2004. According to USA Today, during that stretch, Rolen had a better WAR than current Hall of Famers Jeff Bagwell, Chipper Jones, Larry Walker, Derek Jeter, & Vladimir Guerrero.
Rolen, who spent his career with the Phillies, Cardinals, Blue Jays, & Reds, is certainly trending in the right direction and is the most likely player on the ballot to be enshrined. He no longer has to go up against the major steroid era players like Barry Bonds & Roger Clemens. It's very likely that this is the year for Rolen.
Carlos Beltran is on the ballot for the first time and is now the most controversial player on the ballot due to his involvement with the Houston Astros scandal. Should his involvement mean he doesn't make the Hall of Fame? It will be interesting to see how the voters decide. Scandal aside, let's look at strictly his numbers.
Beltran, who spent time with the Royals, Astros, Mets, Giants, Cardinals, Yankees, & Rangers, certainly has the numbers to be considered. He won the Rookie of the Year in 1999, is a 9 time All Star, 3 time Gold Glove winner, 2 time Silver Slugger, and a World Champion, however, that championship is now tarnished. I know it's not the end all be all, but he actually has the same career WAR as Scott Rolen. So, in theory, he should get the same amount of "love" as Rolen.
Many of his numbers were just shy of some of the milestone levels. He was a career .279 hitter, had 2725 hits, hit 435 home runs, and stole 312 bases. Solid numbers, but do they say Hall of Fame? I think you'll see him get votes and will remain on the ballot for all 10 of his year, but I don't see him getting in.
John Lackey is a 3 time World Champion: 2002 with the Angels as a rookie, 2013 with the Red Sox, & 2016 with the Cubs. He finished 2007 with the best ERA but overall, his 3.92 career ERA would be the worst of any elected Hall of Fame pitcher, just behind Jack Morris. His 188 wins would be good for 68th ahead of guys like Sandy Koufax and Satchel Paige. His 2294 strikeouts puts him ahead of Roy Halladay. Having playing with the Angels, Red Sox, Cardinals, and Cubs, these are very mediocre stats and I would be surprise if he's on the ballot for longer than 3 years.
Jhonny Peralta is a 3 time All Star, who played with only 3 teams: Indians, Tigers, & Cardinals. Peralta is an admitted PED user as a result of the Biogenesis investigation. A career .267 hitter, has barely over 200 home runs, I doubt he gets a single vote.
The Hall of Fame announcement will be on January 24, 2023, live on MLB Network.