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Andruw headlines Braves on HOF ballot

@mlbbowman
November 16, 2020

ATLANTA -- Andruw Jones, Gary Sheffield, Billy Wagner and Tim Hudson are the most notable former Braves on the 2021 Hall of Fame ballot, which was released on Monday. While Hudson is a candidate for the first time, Jones, Sheffield and Wagner are each hoping to see their respective vote

ATLANTA -- Andruw Jones, Gary Sheffield, Billy Wagner and Tim Hudson are the most notable former Braves on the 2021 Hall of Fame ballot, which was released on Monday.

While Hudson is a candidate for the first time, Jones, Sheffield and Wagner are each hoping to see their respective vote totals increase for a second straight year. Each should benefit from the fact this year’s ballot is not as strong as those of the past few years.

2021 Hall of Fame coverage

Here is a look at the candidacy of each of these former Atlanta stars:

Jones: Jones batted .254, tallied 434 home runs and constructed a .823 OPS over a 17-season career that included 10 Gold Glove Awards, five All-Star appearances and the National League Hank Aaron Award he captured in 2005 when he finished second to Albert Pujols in balloting for NL MVP. The only other players to win as many Gold Gloves are Ichiro Suzuki and Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Al Kaline and Ken Griffey Jr.

The former Braves center fielder was the author of an uneven career that started with a bang and ended with a steep decline. He produced MLB's third-best fWAR from 1998-2007, behind Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez. The man ranked immediately behind him was Chipper Jones, his longtime Braves teammate who was a first-ballot Hall of Fame electee in 2018.

Andruw Jones didn’t receive more than 7.5 percent of the votes during his first two seasons on the ballot, but he saw his support rise to 19.4 percent last year.

Wagner: From 1995 (rookie seasons for Wagner and Mariano Rivera) through 2010 (Wagner’s final season), Rivera led all relievers with 34.9 fWAR. Wagner ranked second with 24.1, and Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman ranked third with 24.

The baseball world has wisely minimized the significance of pitching wins. Maintaining this same line of reasoning in relation to Wagner, who had 424 career saves, as opposed to 624 for Rivera and 601 for Hoffman, there’s reason to argue voters have placed too great of a significance on save totals when evaluating a reliever’s qualifications.

Hoffman was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2018, and Rivera was unanimously elected in ‘19. While Hoffman totaled 177 more saves, Wagner had a better ERA (2.31 vs. 2.87), higher strikeout rate (33.2 percent vs. 25.8 percent) and lower OPS surrendered (.558 vs. .609).

Wagner joined the Braves in 2010 to complete what was the final season of his successful career. He posted a 1.43 ERA and converted 37 saves while helping manager Bobby Cox reach the playoffs in his final season.

Sheffield: Sheffield stands as one of 19 players to produce at least 500 homers and a .900 career OPS. The only other members of this group not yet elected to the Hall of Fame are Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Mark McGwire, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz.

Pujols is still active and Ortiz is not yet eligible to be placed on the ballot. Bonds, Rodriguez, McGwire, Ramirez and Sheffield were all linked to prohibited performance-enhancing drugs during their respective careers.

Sheffield, who played in Atlanta from 2002-03, did not receive more than 13.6 percent of the votes during any of his first five seasons of eligibility. But he garnered 30.5 percent of the votes last winter and could certainly see another increase this year.

Sheffield, Bonds, Rodriguez, Ramirez, McGwire and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson are the only retired players who have not been elected after producing a 140 OPS+ and a bWAR of 60 or higher.

Hudson: Hudson is one of only 21 pitchers in Major League history to win at least 200 games, post 2,000 strikeouts and have a career winning percentage of .600 or higher. He made four All-Star squads and ranked in the top six in Cy Young Award voting four times.

Hudson began his career with the A’s and ended it back in the Bay Area, where he helped the Giants win the 2014 World Series. In between, he spent nine seasons with Atlanta, posting a 3.56 ERA and .611 winning percentage.

Greg Maddux (.688) and Tom Glavine (.624) are the only pitchers in Atlanta history to post a better winning percentage than Hudson. They also join fellow Hall of Famers John Smoltz and Phil Niekro as the only pitchers to record more wins than Hudson in Atlanta history.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.