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So far this Hall of Fame season, we've covered Adrián Beltré, Joe Mauer, Chase Utley, David Wright, Todd Helton, Carlos Beltrán and Gary Sheffield. I also did a Snyder's Soapbox on "compilers" and there's plenty more to come. In this edition, we're going to run through a group of returning players on the ballot who appear to have at least a little momentum toward enshrinement, in order of who has the most. 

Anytime I mention the ballot tracker or polling or anything like that regarding this year's vote, it's drawing from the excellent work of Ryan Thibodaux and his team

Billy Wagner: This year could be extremely close

Wagner was one of the greatest closers of all-time. He is sixth in career saves and his rate stats (ERA, WHIP, strikeout rate) are better than several other Hall of Fame closers. I've explored his case more deeply before, so we don't need to run back through all of it. 

Wagner is in his ninth year on the ballot and players only get 10 tries. Last year, he made significant progress toward getting in, jumping from 51% to 68.1% (you need 75% for induction). Before last year's leap, it looked like Wagner might get squeezed out by a small number of votes. Now it seems like he'll get in, maybe even this year. At a bare minimum, he seems on track to make it before lapsing off the ballot. 

Right now, Wagner has 80.1% of the vote in the ballot tracker and last year he came in just 4.2 percentage points lower than the tracking number when the ballots were revealed, meaning this one will likely be incredibly close.

Andruw Jones: Steady progress

Jones had a Hall of Fame first part of his career before a drastic decline phase that hurt his chances. Still, the offensive numbers are plenty good enough to supplement him being arguably the best defensive center fielder of all-time. Here's a deeper dive on that front

Jones had very little traction early on in his appearance on the ballot, but jumped from 7.5% to 19.4 to 33.9 to 41.4 to last year's 58.1% in the last five voting cycles. This is his seventh year and it seems like he's tracking toward making it in one or two years. 

Right now, Jones is polling at 70.9%. Once the vote was revealed last year, he lost 8.4 percentage points from his poll number. If that's an indication of where things are headed this time, he'll end up north of 62%. That would be momentum, though not nearly as big a jump as last time around. Still, he'd have three more voting cycles to gain around 13 percentage points and I'd say that means he's going to make it. 

I'm confident both Wagner and Jones are headed to Cooperstown, eventually. The rest of the players I list here? Not so much. 

Bobby Abreu: Big leap last year

The long underrated and under-appreciated Abreu was more compiler than peak case and I've made the full case before. There was little ground gained in his second and third votes after barely staying on the ballot in his first try. But last year, his fourth, he jumped from 8.6% to 15.4%. Larry Walker started over 20%, but he dipped down to 10.2% in his fourth ballot, so Abreu is actually ahead of him through year four. Will he take a similar path to induction?

It doesn't seem like it. Abreu is polling at 18.5% and lost three points last season at the reveal, so we're looking at maybe 15.8%. A minimal gain doesn't help much. If we look at Walker, though, maybe there could be a similar move? Walker only got 15.5% of the vote his sixth year on the ballot. Then a pro-Walker movement took hold and propelled him into the Hall. 

Andy Pettitte: Momentum lost?

An old-school case here: Pettitte won 256 regular season games and has five World Series rings. Of course, there was also a PED connection that probably cancels out many of the old-school votes. I previously took more of a look at Pettitte's candidacy alongside Mark Buehrle and Tim Hudson (who has since fallen off the ballot). 

Pettitte was relatively stagnant through four years on the ballot, but last year jumped from 10.7% to 17%. If he makes a big jump this year, he might have a chance. 

It doesn't look like that'll happen, though. The ballot tracker has Pettitte at 13.9% and last year between the gathering and the actual results, he only gained less than a percentage point. If Pettitte loses momentum, he's probably cooked, as it's hard to see why there would be a massive sea change after this point in his candidacy. 

Jimmy Rollins: Important year

An incredibly fun yet flawed player (hey, ultimately, who isn't flawed in some way?), Rollins has a decent case. I've broken it down before. Rollins got 9.4% of the vote in his first year. There never really was a chance there, because many voters still hold "first ballot" status to high esteem. Rollins jumped to 12.9% in his second chance, last year, and probably needs another increase, possibly even a big one. Will that happen? 

The prospects aren't great. He's sitting at 13.9% in the ballot tracker and gained 0.8 percentage points at the reveal last year. It would be nice to see him get to around 15% in his third year, but that isn't a big step forward and 75% is still quite a ways away. 

Mark Buehrle: Needs a jump

A true workhorse, Buehlre had 14 200-inning seasons, the most of anyone in the Wild Card Era. More on Buehrle's case here

Buehrle got 11% of the vote in his first year and then went backward to 5.8. Last year, his third on the ballot, Buehrle jumped back up to 10.8%. This vote will be telling. Buehrle either has a shot to gain momentum toward eventual enshrinement or he's simply due to wallow away below the 15% mark. 

And, actually, Buehrle looks closer to falling off the ballot than gaining steam. Thus far, he's polling at 6.6% and only saw a miniscule bump last year with the actual results. Getting 7.3% this year would mean another step backward. 

Francisco Rodríguez: Can Wagner pave the way?

The man we knew as "K-Rod" for so long has the single-season save record at 62 and ranks fourth all-time in saves. He has excellent rate stats, even if not as good as Wagner, and more workload than Wagner. K-Rod got 10.8% of the vote last time around. This is his second year, so it's possible there are gains just escaping the "first ballot" status. Plus, if Wagner makes it, maybe it clears a path for players in the same tier as K-Rod. It could be argued he's right with Wagner. 

At this point, a second-year bump doesn't appear likely. He's at 6.6% in the tracker and gained 1.6 percentage points last year at the reveal. If he ends up at 8.3%, it represents little hope. Even starting with a low vote total, Wagner never dipped below 10.2% and that ballot was a lot more crowded (2017, a ballot that has already seen 10 Hall of Famers in addition to having Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Curt Schilling on it).