With the 2022 season in the rearview mirror, free agency hysteria is the focal point of the Minnesota Twins offseason. The team needs to adjust the roster a lot before the 2023 season and has already released a new logo and jersey lineup ahead of the offseason frenzy known as winter meetings.
Despite all of the hype amidst offseason rumors, there’s been another event that has been on the horizon: the 2023 Hall of Fame election. With Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat making their way into the Hall of Fame, there’s only one notable former Twins player on the outside looking in: outfielder Torii Hunter.
A weak Hall of Fame ballot in 2023 could help boost former Minnesota Twins outfielder Torii Hunter towards the Hall.
Hunter is one of the best outfielders in franchise history, and is joined by Kent Hrbek, Joe Nathan, and Johan Santana as one of the best Twins players that isn’t currently in the Hall of Fame. Luckily for him, Hunter is still on the ballot:
After finishing with just over 5.3% of the ballot in 2022, Hunter was able to hang on to the bottom of the ballot, while top performers Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Curt Schilling were removed from the ballot in their tenth years.
With a weak ballot from 2022, the players on the ballot aren’t getting much better. While there are two first year former Twins on the ballot (J.J. Hardy and R.A. Dickey), there aren’t any major players on the ballot who are locks for election (though Carlos Beltran comes closest). How does this all help Torii Hunter though?
He may not have elite numbers across the board, but Hunter definitely deserves to earn a bit more of the vote in 2023. The nine-time Gold Glover was an excellent defender who hit 353 home runs, stole 195 bases, and posted a very good career OPS of 110+.
He’s significantly below where most Hall of Famers are analytically, but with such a weak class, Hunter may be able to earn an extra year on the ballot and gain a bit of extra steam as a great ambassador of the game. He might not be an all-time great, but he deserves to stay on the ballot, and this weak class should help him.