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Santana, Wagner, Kent fall short of Hall of Fame

Former Mets lack support among voters; Johan drops off ballot
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- Mike Piazza's 2016 Hall of Fame induction was noteworthy in that he became the first player to enter Cooperstown with a Mets cap on his plaque since Tom Seaver in 1992, and just the second in history. Not only may it be some time before another Met shares that rarified air, but even those with more tangential ties to the organization are discovering how difficult enshrinement can be.

Johan Santana, Billy Wagner and Jeff Kent all garnered Hall support on the 2018 ballot, but none received enough to come close to induction. In his first year of eligibility, Santana received just 2.4 percent of the vote, dropping him off the ballot for future years. Kent earned 14.5 percent of the vote in his fifth year of eligibility and Wagner, in his third year, received 11.1 percent.

NEW YORK -- Mike Piazza's 2016 Hall of Fame induction was noteworthy in that he became the first player to enter Cooperstown with a Mets cap on his plaque since Tom Seaver in 1992, and just the second in history. Not only may it be some time before another Met shares that rarified air, but even those with more tangential ties to the organization are discovering how difficult enshrinement can be.

Johan Santana, Billy Wagner and Jeff Kent all garnered Hall support on the 2018 ballot, but none received enough to come close to induction. In his first year of eligibility, Santana received just 2.4 percent of the vote, dropping him off the ballot for future years. Kent earned 14.5 percent of the vote in his fifth year of eligibility and Wagner, in his third year, received 11.1 percent.

Complete voting results

Although Wagner has garnered support within sabermetric communities that view his resume -- first all-time in strikeout rate among pitchers with at least 600 innings, among other accolades -- as superior to that of new inductee Trevor Hoffman, he has not been able to translate it into votes. Wagner finished his career with a significantly better ERA, adjusted ERA, WHIP and strikeout rate than Hoffman, but collected only 422 saves compared to Hoffman's 601.

Largely as a result of that, Hoffman earned support from 79.9 percent of the electorate this year to earn enshrinement in Cooperstown. Wagner mustered just a small increase from his totals of 10.2 percent in 2017 and 10.5 in 2016.

Complete Hall of Fame coverage

"The numbers that stand out to me are not just saves," Wagner said in 2015. "It's the big numbers: ERA, strikeouts, batting average against. How do they show dominance? Those are dominant numbers. Saves are just tied along with it."

The argument for Santana is equally nuanced. One of baseball's best pitchers from 2002-10 with the Twins and Mets, Santana led the Majors with a 2.90 ERA, 1,785 strikeouts and a .221 opposing batting average during that period, also ranking fifth in wins and rating highly in a slew of other categories. But shoulder trouble brought an abrupt end to his career in 2012, shortly after Santana threw the only no-hitter in Mets history.

Video: Johan Santana reflects on first Mets no-hitter

As a result, Santana's counting stats -- wins, strikeouts and the like -- cannot match those of many starters in Cooperstown. Santana said recently that he is considering a comeback, though even if he succeeds, the result would likely have a minimal impact on his career statistics.

Kent played for the Mets relatively briefly, from 1992-96, before putting up the bulk of his numbers in San Francisco, Houston and Los Angeles. He dropped off some ballots after receiving 16.7 percent of the vote last year.

The Mets' next best chance at a Hall of Famer may be Carlos Beltran, who will become eligible for the first time in 2023. But there is question as to whether Beltran, who posted his best career numbers with the Mets, would enter the Hall with their cap or another.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.

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