The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) votes for the 2024 Baseball Hall of Fame induction class have started to roll in, and four former Philadelphia Phillies are in consideration for the honor this time around. Results will be announced on Jan. 23 from Cooperstown, New York.
Legendary Phillies second baseman Chase Utley is appearing on the ballot for the first time this year, but right now early trends developing on Ryan Thibodaux’s (@NotMrTibbs on X) Hall of Fame tracker suggest he's unlikely to be inducted in his first year of eligibility.
With 122 ballots publicly known at the moment, Utley finds himself sitting at 42.6 percent of the 75 percent of votes needed to gain induction. If current numbers are indeed true, Utley would have to receive 90.1 percent of all votes going forward to make it in during his debut on the ballot. That's highly unlikely.
Is Chase Utley a Hall of Famer?
The positive to take away from Utley's first appearance on the ballot is that he seems like a very strong bet to gain election into the Hall of Fame at some point during his 10 years of eligibility. Hall of Fame voters can be a fickle bunch, and anyone considered a fringe candidate can wait years before they nudge closer toward the necessary 75 percent of the vote required for induction.
If you don't believe me, look no further than how former Phillie Billy Wagner's case has steadily grown since 2016:
Billy Wagner's Hall of Fame candidacy started with 10.5 percent of the vote on the ballot in his debut but is now trending strongly as a near lock to gain induction in his eighth year as his popularity with BBWAA voters has increased. With Chase Utley currently sitting at 42.6 percent of the vote in his debut, who's to say a deeper look at his career numbers wouldn't sway baseball writers to vote for him in future years?
Chase Utley had a remarkable MLB career, with his best years coming in a Philadelphia uniform. The six-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger was a career .275 hitter with 259 home runs and 1,025 RBI. Those are all excellent numbers for a guy who played second base. A World Series champion in 2008, Utley had a five-year stretch where he was arguably the best all-around second basemen in the National League.
The problem Utley faces with BBWAA voters may be that after his five-year peak between 2005-2009, the rest of his career was average at best. Utley made one more All-Star appearance in 2014 but never reached the 20 home run mark in a season for the remainder of his career. It's likely voters will have to consider a window of dominant performance as they view a 2010-2018 career decline that stands out when looking at his overall candidacy.
How are other former Phillies' doing on the ballot?
As noted before, 2024 looks like the year former Phillies closer Billy Wagner punches his ticket to Cooperstown. Currently at 80.3 percent of all publicly known ballots, it would be a surprise if Wagner's name isn't called on Jan. 23.
Jimmy Rollins is now on his third Hall of Fame ballot, and so far, the former 2007 MVP is not feeling the love from BBWAA writers. With only 13.9 percent of known voters choosing Rollins, he has already been eliminated based on his low showing in year three. Maybe his HOF case builds in subsequent years?
The same goes for former Phillies outfielder Bobby Abreu. With only 18.9 percent of the vote, he has been eliminated from consideration this year due to low interest from BBWAA writers. With five more years remaining on the ballot, the trends point to Abreu being very unlikely to see his name called for Hall of Fame enshrinement.
If current voting trends indicate the final results, this year should see four or five former players gaining entry to Hall of Fame immortality. Chase Utley won't make it in on his first ballot, but his current numbers indicate he could have a chance in later years if he can build on his current momentum as a candidate.