The Cincinnati Reds have a trio of former players that are on the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot that was just released this afternoon. Here’s how the ballot looks:
|First Timers||Returnees||Last Year Vote %|
|Bobby Abreu||Barry Bonds||59.1%|
|Josh Beckett||Roger Clemens||59.5%|
|Heath Bell||Todd Helton||16.5%|
|Eric Chavez||Andruw Jones||7.5%|
|Adam Dunn||Jeff Kent||18.1%|
|Chone Figgins||Andy Pettitte||9.9%|
|Rafael Furcal||Manny Ramirez||22.8%|
|Jason Giambi||Scott Rolen||17.2%|
|Raul Ibanez||Curt Schilling||60.9%|
|Derek Jeter||Gary Sheffield||13.6%|
|Paul Konerko||Sammy Sosa||8.5%|
|Cliff Lee||Omar Vizquel||42.8%|
|Carlos Pena||Billy Wagner||16.7%|
|Brad Penny||Larry Walker||54.6%|
Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko are on the ballot for the first time. Scott Rolen is returning to the ballot. Konerko is the outlier on this list when it comes to the Reds – he racked up a grand total of 81 plate appearances with the Reds in 1998 before moving on to the White Sox where he played in 2268 games through 2014 – retiring with the club after that season.
Adam Dunn has the seniority between he and Scott Rolen among the former Reds. The Big Donkey as he was lovingly referred to played with Cincinnati in parts of eight season from 2001-2008. That stretched for 1087 games and he hit 192 doubles, eight triples, and 270 home runs with the Reds while posting an even .900 OPS. For his 14-year career he hit just .237, but posted a .364 on-base percentage and slugged .490 while hitting 462 home runs. Defense was never a specialty for Dunn, though early in his career he wasn’t a terrible fielder like he was from the mid-point of his career until the end. A younger generation of voters may not hold a low average against him as much as an older generation would given that he walked 100+ times eight different times in his career and consistently got on base.
With all of that said, there’s not much reason to think that Adam Dunn is a Hall of Famer – though his Adam from Milwuakee call to Marty Brennaman certainly should be discussed among the writers. WAR isn’t perfect – far from it in fact. But it’s not so dead wrong that Dunn’s 17.4 career WAR should be ignored and place him in the conversation. He might get a few votes, which could be warranted depending exactly how you feel about not voting for players with PED ties – but Dunn is more of a “Hall of Pretty Good” than a “Hall of Fame” kind of guy. There’s nothing wrong with that – the guy played for 14 years at the highest level of his profession and was pretty good at it. Oh, and he also hit the longest home run in the history of The Milky Way.
Scott Rolen didn’t spend much of his career with the Reds, playing in parts of four seasons from 2009-2012. Only one of those seasons was a full one, though – in 2010 when he played in 133 games. Over his four seasons he played in 330 games with Cincinnati, hitting .263/.332/.438. As you’d expect, being the final few years of his career, that was his worst line with any of the four teams he played with.
For his career, Scott Rolen has the best case for the Hall of Fame among the three players that are on the ballot with Cincinnati Reds ties. In his 17 seasons he hit .281/.364/.490 – an identical on-base percentage and slugging percentage to that of Adam Dunn. Unlike Dunn, though, Rolen was a strong defender for his entire career and he did it on the dirt instead of the corner infield. Rolen was a 7-time All-Star, a Rookie of the Year, and he was an 8-time Gold Glove winner.
As Jason Linden pointed out over the weekend, there are 158 position players in the Hall of Fame and Scott Rolen has more WAR than 108 of those players. Matt Wilkes took a look back at Rolen’s career in January of 2018 and asked whether or not he was a Hall of Famer. Right now he’s got a lot of ground to make up. In his first year on the ballot he finished 17th with 10.2%. Last year he moved up to 13th and gained more votes – getting his name onto 17.2% of the ballots.