Ichiro Suzuki will be a first ballot Hall of Famer. A year from now, he will be elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He could become the second player to hover near the unanimous status only held by Mariano Rivera in 2019. The following year, Derek Jeter received the highest percentage of votes at 99.7 percent. Only one of 397 votes did not vote for the 5-time World Series champion.

The 2025 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot will have a lock in Ichrio like this years ballot will with Adrian Beltré and Joe Mauer. Then, there are some intriguing names who will be discussed among many with new arguments made, comparing those on the ballot to those already in Cooperstown. Before we get to that, here is one thing to know about a particular analytical stat used by voters to determine their ballots.

One way to look at Hall of Fame cases is using the Jaffe WAR Score System, also known as JAWS. A metric developed by Jay Jaffe, it takes a player’s WAR by combining it with their top seven WAR seasons. It looks at how good that player was at his peak and their longevity. Rogers Hornsby leads all players in history in JAWS (100.5), while Joe Morgan is the leader for post-integration players.

While Hornsby and Morgan played second base, the average JAWS score for enshrined second baseman is 57. Will that be enough for two All-Star second basemen appearing on the upcoming ballot? 

2025 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot: New Names 

Troy Tulowitzki, Ben Zobrist, Curtis Granderson, Hanley Ramirez, Russell Martin

All five players in this group have exciting cases. All five have career bWARs of at least 35 and JAWS better than 30. But, they could fall victim to the five percent rule that states players must receive at least five percent of the vote from the BBWAA to be included on the next ballot. The percent rule, which consists of the rule that allows voters to select ten names on the ballot, gave early exits to players like Kenny Lofton (2013), Carlos Delgado (2015), and Jim Edmonds (2016).

Dustin Pedroia 

Chase Utley will get votes as he is in his first year on the ballot. Will that translate well with first-year players on next year’s ballot, fellow second basemen Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler? Utley is right at JAWS for second basemen at 56.9, whereas Pedroia and Kinsler have JAWS of 46.5 and 46.1, respectively.

Like Utley, Pedroia was known as a winner and leader. Utley won a ring with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008, while Pedroia won two in 2007 and 2017. Utley had six All-Star appearances and four Silver Sluggers but no Gold Gloves on his resume. Pedroia has four Glove Gloves, six All-Star appearances and a Silver Slugger award. He also won the Rookie of the Year award and MVP. Both players have fewer than 2,000 hits, as Pedroia collected 1,805 over 14 seasons.

They have similar numbers, with Utley hitting .275/.358/.465 and 117 OPS+. Pedroia had a career .299/.365/.439 and a 113 OPS+. Utley has 80 more hits than his counterpart, whose career ended due to a knee injury. Utley entered the majors later, debuting at 24 in 2004. The two were the best second basemans in baseball while in their primes. 

Ian Kinsler

In comparison to Kinsler, he doesn’t have a similar case between those two, yet another interesting one. He has the same number of rings as Utley, winning one with the Red Sox in 2018, the same number of All-Star appearances as Pedroia with four, and a pair of Gold Gloves. His career slash line is .269/.337/.440 with a 107 OPS+. He has two fewer home runs than Utley with 257 but has more steals with 243, 89 more than Utley, 105 more than Pedroia. 

Félix Hernández

Félix Hernández won the American League Cy Young Award in 2010 with 13 wins, the fewest for a Cy Young starter in a full season. He led the league in ERA (2.27) and innings pitched (249 2/3) despite his Seattle Mariners losing 101 games. He again led the AL in ERA in 2014 but lost out on another Cy Young Award to Corey Kluber. The win total from that season makes things tricky. Hernández finished with 169 career wins, including 26 after his 30th birthday. Sandy Koufax was the last pitcher with fewer than 200 wins to be elected to the Hall of Fame.

King Felix last pitched in a regular season game in 2019 at 33-years-old. At 37, he is younger than Kluber, Max Scherzer, and Zack Greinke.

CC Sabathia

The year Hernández won his Cy Young Award, CC Sabathia finished third despite a league-best 21 wins. Sabathia has a stronger case than Hernández on the 2025 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. He accumulated a 251-161 record over 19 seasons in the majors. He won a Cy Young Award in 2007 with the Cleveland Guardians and a World Series in 2009 with the New York Yankees. Sabathia was a six-time All-Star and won the ALCS VMP in 2009. His case is comparable to Andy Pettite and Mark Buehrle. Neither has been elected, but Pettite has five more wins than Sabathia despite the latter having the edge in career strikeouts (3,093). They have a similar ERA, with 3.74 for Sabathia and 3.85 for Pettite.

It seems likely that everyone other than some of the game’s older veterans (Greinke, Scherzer, and Justin Verlander) will only approach the current JAWS average for starting pitchers (61.4) if a massive change happens in the game.

 Photo Credit: © Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

 

 

Akash Mahi, a dedicated enthusiast of the game, is a recognized expert in the domain of tennis balls. With a keen understanding of materials and aerodynamics, he has contributed to the evolution of tennis ball design, enhancing playability and performance. Mahi's expertise continues to impact both casual players and professionals alike.