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Early Storylines Surrounding 2025 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot

The 2024 MLB Hall of Fame voting is complete and there is a new trio that will be enshrined in Cooperstown.

Adrian Beltre, Joe Mauer, and Todd Helton were all selected to the Hall of Fame and will be part of baseball immortally. Now, sights are set on the 2025 and there are plenty of early storylines to think about.

Will Ichiro Be A Unanimous Selection?

This, of course, is not a question of whether or not Ichiro will be selected as a Hall-of-Famer. It is a question of whether or not Ichiro will go somewhere that only one man has gone before.

Ichiro will be listed on the 2025 ballot after a legendary career. He burst onto the scene at 27 years old coming over from Japan and was named MVP and Rookie of the Year in 2001. He led the league in batting average twice (.350 in 2001, .372 in 2004), hits seven times, at bats eight times, and he played over 160 games eight times.

Ichiro will be remembered as one of the best pure hitters that baseball ever saw. The question is, will he be named to the Hall unanimously? Mariano Rivera remains the lone player ever to be elected into the Hall of Fame by all voters within a cycle. Derek Jeter came close but there was one vote that did not go his way. Ichiro could be next on that list.

Can Billy Wagner Walk It Off?

It has been a long nine-year wait for Wagner to this point. He will enter his 10th and final year on the ballot in 2025 and is trending toward being elected but anything is possible.

Wagner came up five votes short of being named this cycle. Beginning in 2021, he has gone from 51% to 68.1% to 73.8% this year. When this happens, the player typically gets elected, especially when it has been this significant of a spike in a three-year span.

Wagner is currently sixth all-time with 422 saves. During his career, the left-hander made a name for himself as a fireballer and had some tremendous years. This includes nine years totaling 30 or more saves and a career-high 44 in 2003 as a member of the Houston Astros.

What Is Carlos Beltran’s Future?

There are many comparisons coming out between Beltran and Helton after this year’s voting cycle. Beltran received 57.1% of the vote this year. While many are blackballed due to steroids, Beltran might be short votes due to his role in the sign-stealing scandal surrounding the Astros.

On the field, Beltran should be a no-brainer. He was one of the premiere centerfielders in the game during his prime and totaled 435 career home runs.

The good news for Beltran is that this was just his second year on the ballot. He eclipsed the 50% mark in his second year so it seems likely that he will get in at some point. The question is, when will that be? We will see how his stock continues to rise in 2025.

Will C.C. Sabathia Be A First-Ballot Selection?

Starting pitchers don’t come around every year, especially the caliber of Sabathia. The left-hander was an ace around the league for 19 years and will be a Hall-of-Famer. Is he a first-ballot selection?

Sabathia won a World Series with the Yankees in 2009, a Cy Young with the Cleveland Indians in 2007, and is a member of the 3,000-strikeout club. Just that enough, paired with his longevity, should be enough to land him in the Hall in 2025.

Was The Run For Felix Hernandez Enough?

The Hall of Fame is for players who have had a career of success and domination. For some players, there is a case to be made for dominating a period of time and that is exactly what King Felix did during his prime. But was it enough?

For Hernandez, it was a six-year period where he was on top of the game. He led the league in ERA (2.27) and innings pitches (249.2) in 2009, winning his only Cy Young award. From there, he went on a roll that continued into 2014, when he won the ERA title once again at 2.14 in a league-high 34 starts.

The only problem here is that his stretch might not have been long enough. There is something to be said about longevity. Some have called it “compiling” but if a player is consistent and reaches great milestones over a lengthy career, he has been looked upon more favorably. For Hernandez, it might not be long enough but he should be able to at least make it to year two on the ballot.

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