The best campaign of each of the rookies on the HOF ballot
There are 14 players who are in their first year of eligibility on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot. Let’s take a look at the best seasons each had.
It’s unlikely any of them will be inducted this year — though we’ll find out on Tuesday, when the Hall of Fame results are announced. For some, it will be their only year on the ballot. But they all had at least one season up to Cooperstown.
Here, the best campaigns of each of the “first-timers” on the 2022-2023 Hall of Fame ballot.
2006 (Reds): 14-11, 3.29 ERA, 184 K, 240.2 IL
The only time Arroyo earned a Cy Young vote was in 2010, but the only season in which he received at least one MVP vote was in 2006. It was his first year with Cincinnati, when Arroyo was a true “horse.” of battle”, making a pair with Aaron Harang in the rotation. Arroyo led the Majors that year with 240.2 stretches of work, ahead of Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb. His 3.29 ERA and 184 strikeouts were career highs.
2004 (Royals/Astros): 38 HR, 42 BR, 104 CE, 121 C, .915 OPS
Beltrán’s 2006 season with the Mets may have been his best regular season. But his sensational 2004, including his historic postseason run, makes 2004 the right season.
Not only was the Puerto Rican about to join the 40-40 club, but he also had one of the best postseasons in history after being traded from the Royals to the Astros. Beltrán matched Barry Bonds’ home run record with eight home runs in a playoff run, and he hit .435 with Houston in two series.
2012 (Giants): 16-5, 2.79 ERA, 193 K, 219.1 IL, perfect game
Cain’s breakout 2012 season with the Giants was his best statistically speaking, including a huge individual unemployment that ended with his second World Series title. The right-hander set career highs in wins, ERA and strikeouts, and finished sixth in Cy Young voting. But best of all, he pitched the 22nd perfect game in NL/AL history on June 13 against the Astros. Cain matched Sandy Koufax’s record for most strikeouts in a perfect game with 14. He then helped the Giants win their second World Series in three years.
2012 (Mets): 20-6, 2.73 ERA, 230 K, 233.2 RL, 5 complete games, 3 shutouts
Dickey is the only knuckleballer to win a Cy Young. And this was that season. Nobody hit Dickey in 2012 – the 37-year-old veteran led the NL in strikeouts, innings pitched, complete games and shutouts, while also setting a Mets franchise record with 32.2 straight scoreless innings. Dickey passed Clayton Kershaw for the award, joining Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden as the only Mets pitchers to win the Cy Young (later Jacob deGrom).
2011 (Red Sox): .321/.376/.552, .928 OPS, 212 H, 32 HR, 39 BR, 105 CE, 119 C
With all due respect to his 2009 season – when he led the Majors with 70 bat steals and the AL with 10 triples – Ellsbury’s career high came in 2011. At 27, he became an offensive threat with his power, joining the 30-30 club while maintaining his contact ability by being a .300 and 200-hit batter. He even won the Gold Glove in center field. Ellsbury finished second in the AL MVP Award, trailing Justin Verlander.
2009 (Dodgers): .272/.361/.508, .869 OPS, 31 HR, 106 CE
Ethier spent his 12 career seasons with the Dodgers and was among the favorites for MVP that year, though, of course, Albert Pujols had no competition in 2009. Either way, Ethier had a career-high 31 home runs and he drove in 100 runs for the only time, winning the Silver Slugger and finishing sixth in MVP voting. He added three more home runs in the postseason.
2008 (Brewers): .283 average, .821 OPS, 24 HR, 74 CE, +13 DRS (defensive runs saved)
Hardy had a big stint with the Orioles from 2011-14, including three straight Gold Glove Awards and a Silver Slugger at shortstop. He’s also having his breakout season in 2007. But the year after that could have been the best of his career, combining both aspects of the game. Hardy had the best career OPS that year, defending a brilliant shortstop and helping the Brewers advance to their first postseason since 1982. He hit .429 in the playoffs.
2007 (Angels): 19-9, ERA of 3.01, 179 strikeouts, 224 innings worked
Lackey deserves credit for his rookie season in 2002, when he was called up to the majors in June and became a key part of the rotation that helped the Angels win the World Series. But the season he had in 2007 was just too impressive, from start to finish. Lackey was an ace to the champion AL West, won his only ERA title and was named to the All-Star Game for the first and only time, was a finalist for the Cy Young Award and received MVP votes.
2011 (Rangers): .320/.414/.631, 1.046 OPS, 30 HR, 75 RBIs, 36% runners caught
You may not remember how good Napoli’s numbers were in 2011 – .300 average, 30 home runs and an OPS over 1.000 as a catcher. Playing alongside Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler and Michael Young on a team that won their division, Napoli was perhaps the best hitter in Texas that season. And he did just as well in the postseason, including .350 with two homers, 10 RBIs and a 1.164 OPS in the Fall Classic against the Cardinals.
2005 (Cleveland): .292/.366/.520, .885 OPS, 24 HR, 78 RBIs
You’d have to flip a coin to choose between 2005 and the Dominican’s first season with the Cardinals in 2014, when he received a few MVP votes. But we leave with his breakout campaign with Cleveland in 2005, when he replaced Omar Vizquel at short stop. With all that pressure, Peralta hit .292 with 24 home runs — the most home runs by a Cleveland shortstop since Woodie Held in 1959 — to help the team win 93 games a year after finishing with 80 wins.
2008 (Angels): 62 saves, 2.24 ERA, 77 strikeouts
This one is easy. K-Rod set the major league record for saves in a season with 62 in his final year with the Angels in 2008. Rodríguez even finished third in AL Cy Young voting — he remains the last reliever to finish in the top three — and sixth in the MVP race.
2014 (Padres/Angels): 41 saves, 1.37 ERA, 57 strikeouts
Mention must be made of Street’s rookie season in 2005 – he was AL Rookie of the Year with the A’s and had a 1.72 ERA and 23 saves. But his 2014 campaign was even better. Street reached 40 saves for the first time and had the best run average of his career, and got a chance to closer for a division champion after the Padres traded him to the Angels in the middle of the season.
2011 (Angels): 18-8, 2.41 ERA, 198 strikeouts, 235.2 innings pitched
Weaver, a longtime ace for the Angels, had several seasons that could be considered his best. You could pick any season from 2010 to 2012, as he was an All-Star and finished in the top 5 in Cy Young voting in each of those three seasons. In 2010, he set a career-high 233 strikeouts and finished fifth in Cy Young voting. In 2012, he pitched a no-hitter, led the AL with 20 wins and finished third. But in 2011, Weaver had his best ERA while pitching his most innings, coming just a few strikeouts short of reaching 200. That season, he finished second for the Cy Young Award behind MVP Justin Verlander.
2009 (Phillies): 36 HRs, 20 stolen bases, 99 RBIs, .879 OPS
Werth was a key part of the Phillies’ successful teams from 2007 to 2010. In 2008, he hit .444 in the World Series as Philadelphia captured its first title since 1980. In 2010, he led the National League with 46 doubles and 75 extra-base hits, finishing eighth in MVP voting. But in 2009, Werth not only posted a career-high 36 homers and 20 steals while earning his only All-Star Game, he also hit seven home runs in the postseason to help the Phillies win the pennant. the National League.