The neverending debate that is Baseball Hall of Fame worthiness can move ahead to 2024 after the elections of Scott Rolen and Fred McGriff to 2023’s Hall class.
Next year’s BBWAA ballot includes not just prominent holdovers like Todd Helton, Billy Wagner, and Carlos Beltran, but also three newcomers who surpass the standard set by Bill James’ Hall of Fame Value (HOF-V) stat.
HOF-V sums a player’s Win Shares and four times his Baseball-Reference WAR (For a more in-depth analysis of HOF-V, check out this article from The Bill James Handbook 2018). The target HOF-V to signify Hall of Fame worthiness is 500.
The 2024 ballot is not fully set yet, but these will be the leading newcomers by HOF-V:
Adrián Beltré is a clearcut Hall of Fame selection. He totaled 3,166 hits and 477 home runs in a 21-year career. He ranks in the top 20 in hits, doubles, total bases, and games played. His 1,781 Runs Created rank 44th all time and his 93.5 bWAR ranks 40th.
Beltré’s 200 Defensive Runs Saved are tied with Andrelton Simmons for the most in the 20-year history of the stat. He won three Fielding Bible Awards and five Gold Glove Awards.
Joe Mauer packed a lot into a 15-year MLB career with the Twins, playing catcher early in his career and first base in his latter seasons. He won the AL batting title three times, won the AL MVP in 2009, and finished in the top eight of the MVP voting three other times. He was a six-time All-Star who won five Silver Sluggers and three Gold Gloves.
Mauer retired at age 35 and thus didn’t play long enough to record the cumulative totals of some other candidates, but his candidacy is viewed favorably by this system. His HOF-V is actually six points higher than Rolen’s and nearly 100 points higher than another contemporary, Buster Posey (490.7).
Chase Utley’s HOF-V is a near match for McGriff’s 552.4. Utley totaled 64.5 bWAR (97th among position players) in a 16-year career as a second baseman for the Phillies and Dodgers. He was a six-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger. He was also an impactful postseason player, whose five home runs in 2009 are tied for the most in one World Series.
Utley had a six-year peak from 2005 to 2010 in which he ranked second to Albert Pujols in Win Shares. Utley’s 123 career Runs Saved at second base rank second to Mark Ellis (130) in the 20-year history of the stat. He won a Fielding Bible Award in 2010.
We expect fellow ballot newcomers David Wright, Adrián González, and Matt Holliday to get some degree of sentimental support (and probably Bartolo Colon too). But HOF-V does not consider such feelings. It stamps Beltré, Mauer, and Utley as Hall-of-Fame worthy and is a tool that can be used (perhaps alongside Jay Jaffe’s JAWS system) to support those candidacies. We look forward to the debate.