Votes 7&8- Scott Rolen and Johan Santana
Remember those 4 votes I saved with my “ballot strategy”? Here is where I will use the first 2 votes. Both Scott Rolen and Johan Santana are excellent candidates who are in danger of falling of the ballot.
For example, Scott Rolen posted a career 70. bWAR thanks largely to his blend as an above average hitter and above average defender. Rolen won 8 Gold Gloves at third base, and was widely considered one of the best defenders of his era.
Offensively, Rolen slashed .281/.364/.490 over his 17 year career, bashing 316 home runs and 517 doubles. Between 1997-2004, Rolen averaged 28 home runs and 102 RBI with a .289/.379/.524 slash to go along with his elite defense.
Like Mussina and Schilling, Rolen is a bit of an accumulator. However, Rolen’s peak was as a borderline Hall of Famer, and his durability gives Rolen a Hall of Fame resume.
As for Johan Santana, he might have the most fascinating case on the ballot. Santana is the polar opposite of Rolen. That is, he is a player with a white-hot peak but not much longevity around it. Santana peak actually is reminiscent of Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax.
From 2004-2010, Santana posted a 2.87 ERA with a 151 ERA+, averaging 222 strikeouts per 162 game average. Santana led the league in strike outs 3 consecutive seasons, won 3 ERA titles, and 4 WHIP titles. He finished Top 7 in the Cy Young voting 6 years in a row, winning 2 Cy Youngs and finishing 3rd twice.
Rolen and Santana both seem like Hall of Famers for me, though their arguments are quite the opposite.