Image credit: Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
On the latest episode of From Phenom to the Farm, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy and podcast
host Kyle Bandujo took a look at the 1 st time eligible players on the 2024 Hall of Fame ballot,
how they stacked up as prospects, and their chances of making it to Cooperstown.
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Kyle broke down notable candidates below, using Baseball Reference’s calculation of WAR, as
well as Jaffe WAR Score System (JAWS).
Sure-Fire First Ballot Hall of Famers:
Adrian Beltre (93.5 Career WAR, 71.1 JAWS)
Top Prospect Ranking: BA’s #3 Prospect in the 1998 Top 100
3,166 hits, a 93.5 bWAR, and multiple Gold Gloves. Beltre could’ve booked his hotel in
Cooperstown the day he retired.
Likely Hall of Famers:
Joe Mauer (55.2 Career WAR, 47.1 JAWS)
Top Prospect Ranking: BA’s #1 Prospect in the 2004 & 2005 Top 100
Holds a strong case as the best-hitting catcher of the 00’s, with three batting titles, three Gold
Gloves, and won the 2009 AL MVP. Injuries and a move off of catcher made his 30’s much less
productive than his 20’s, but Mauer should make it into the Hall, possibly first ballot.
Chase Utley (64.5 Career WAR, 56.9 JAWS)
Top Prospect Ranking: BA’s #81 Prospect in the 2004 Top 100
While Utley didn’t play a full big league season until age 26, he hit the ground running, clearing
7.0 WAR for five consecutive seasons while serving as a catalyst for the Phillies’ 2008 World
Series champion team. Kind of like Mauer and catching, if Utley isn’t in as a second basemen,
then what even is a Hall of Fame second basemen?
The Hall of Really Good:
David Wright (49.2 Career WAR, 39.3 JAWS)
Top Prospect Ranking: BA’s #21 Prospect in the 2004 Top 100
Wright was on a near-surefire Hall of Fame trajectory until spinal stenosis led to his age-
31season being the final full year he’d play as a big leaguer. When Wright was healthy, he was
awesome, making seven All Star Games and showcasing power and speed at the hot corner, as
well as serving as the face of USA Baseball for at time. It’s not crazy to think about Wright
getting in down the road via a committee selection.
Matt Holliday (44.5 Career WAR, 39.4 JAWS)
Top Prospect Ranking: Colorado Rockies #9 Prospect in 2004
A top quarterback prospect in high school, Colorado broke what was then the 7 th round signing
bonus record with $840,000 to convince Holliday to pass up football. He took until his age 24-
season to debut in the big leagues, but then spent the next 15 years hitting everywhere he went,
finishing with a career 132 OPS+. It might not be enough to get him into the Hall, but he clearly
passed down some worthwhile knowledge to sons Jackson and Ethan.
Adrian Gonzalez (43.5 Career WAR, 39.1 JAWS)
Top Prospect Ranking: BA’s #31 Prospect in the 2003 Top 100
The other 1 st overall pick debuting on this year’s ballot (along with Mauer), Gonzalez was traded
twice before his 24 th birthday, but settled in as a very productive 1 st basemen for the Padres, Red
Sox, and Dodgers, finishing Top-10 in MVP voting three times.
Not Getting In, But Let’s Remember Some Guys:
If you could induct a single home run into the Hall of Fame, Bautista’s go-ahead home run in
Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS would be first-ballot. Bautista famously re-made his swing and
turned himself into the best home run hitter in baseball for a five-year stretch, leading the league
twice and making six consecutive All Star Games.
While he never quite lived up to the billing of being BA’s #4 overall prospect in the 2007 Top
100, Hughes does still hold the single-season record for best K/BB ratio, posting an 11.6 during
2014 for the Twins, part of a solid 12-season career.
Proof that great athletes come in all different sizes, Colon won the 2005 AL Cy Young, won 247
games over 21 seasons, and earned the nickname “Big Sexy.”
Shields finished 3 rd in AL Cy Young voting in 2011, and pitched well for multiple playoff teams,
but might end up being best remembered for being traded for Fernando Tatis Jr. (and giving up a
bomb to Bartolo Colon).
Arguably, the coolest player on the ballot, Phillips won four Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger
after breaking out as a 25-year-old for the Reds in 2006.