First-timer Beltrán garners 46.5% of HOF votes

January 25th, 2023

won’t be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he’ll get another chance to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame next year.

The former Royal received 181 votes (46.5%) out of 297 ballots cast by voting members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Scott Rolen was the only one of the 28 candidates on the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot to reach the necessary 75% threshold revealed Tuesday night on MLB Network. He will join first baseman Fred McGriff in the Class of 2023 after McGriff’s selection in December by the Contemporary Baseball Era Players Committee.

Beltrán began his career with the Royals before going on to play for the Astros, Mets, Giants, Cardinals, Yankees and Rangers over 20 big league seasons. He certainly has a strong Hall of Fame case, and that conversation isn’t over. Candidates may remain on the BBWAA ballot for up to 10 years provided they are listed on at least 5% of ballots cast.

Per Baseball Reference, Beltrán has the same career wins above replacement (70.1) as Rolen. The difference is that Beltrán was involved in the Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing scandal, which cost him his job as Mets skipper before he'd managed a game.

While Beltrán racked up his Hall case in the 19 seasons prior to 2017 -- his 20th and final season -- his role in the scandal complicates the matter for voters, especially with Beltrán on the ballot for the first time.

Beltrán has a career .279/.350/.486 slash line across 20 seasons with 435 homers and 1,587 RBIs. He cracked the top five in MVP voting just once (finishing fourth in the National League in 2006), but he was an AL Rookie of the Year Award winner (1999), a nine-time All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove Award honoree.

The Royals drafted Beltrán in the second round of the 1995 MLB Draft out of Puerto Rico, and he quickly became a young outfield sensation in Kansas City. He became one of four Royals in history to win Rookie of the Year after he hit 22 home runs and posted a .791 OPS in '99 for Kansas City. He finished ninth in MVP voting in 2003 after his best year as a Royal; he hit .307/.389/.522 with 26 homers and 100 RBIs that season.

Beltrán was traded to the Astros during the 2004 season, wrapping up nearly seven years in a Royals uniform. He hit 123 homers and posted a .835 OPS during that time. He is also on the Royals Hall of Fame ballot this year. Those results -- from fan and committee voting -- will be announced at a later date, with the induction ceremony this summer.

After a deluge of BBWAA inductees -- 22 total from 2014-20 -- the road to Cooperstown has been harder to find for recent nominees. The BBWAA did not elect anyone in '21, and last year, David Ortiz was the only player to be inducted.