It’s never too early to look ahead to future Hall of Fame ballots to see which former Atlanta Braves might appear in the coming voting cycles. While nothing is official until the Baseball Hall of Fame releases each cycle’s ballot, here is a preview of some notable names who spent time in the Atlanta organization and could appear on future ballots*.
* - This will include players who may not have appeared in a game with the Braves, but were either in the Braves’ system or were part of the organization at some point during their career. Also, there’s a chance at least one or two of these names could resurface in MLB this season, thus pushing their eligibility back until they formally retire.
It should also be noted that this list will not include any players eligible for the 2023 election cycle.
Jim Johnson (RP), Braves, 2015-2017
Brandon Phillips (IF), Braves, 2017
Jose Bautista, (OF), Braves, 2018
Adrian Gonzalez (1B), Braves, 2017 (released after being acquired by Braves in December 2017)
Bartolo Colon, (SP), Braves, 2017
No one on this list of late-rebuild era Braves is likely to be voted into the Hall of Fame and it is possible Johnson might not appear on the ballot. Colon, besides being a larger-than-life personality, is a former Cy Young Award winner with 247 career wins - most by any Latin American pitcher. Phillips, Bautista, Gonzalez, and Phillips are each multiple-time All-Stars with notable careers.
The only sure-fire, first-ballot HOFer of this class will be Adrian Beltre, although the injury-shorten careers of both Joe Mauer and David Wright are likely to be seen as worthy of inclusion, but whether-or-not they will have enough support in their first year of eligibility is questionable. Chase Utley may also ultimately get elected, but his candidacy does have more question marks than Mauer and Wright.
Brian McCann (C), Braves, 2005-2013; 2019
Felix Hernandez (SP), Braves, 2020 (did not appear in an MLB game due to injury)
Martin Prado, (IF/OF), Braves, 2006-2012
Melky Cabrera (OF), Braves, 2010
For Braves fans, McCann is the big name on the 2025 ballot. Although he isn’t likely to be elected, he could be a player who stays on the ballot for the full 10 years of eligibility. Given his age, it is plausible that Hernandez attempts another comeback, but his injury-shortened career will be an interesting HOF case given his seven-year run of excellence from 2009 through 2015 that including one AL Cy Young Award, two second-place finishes, and three other top-eight appearances. Prado and Cabrera may not appear on the ballot.
The only 2025 first-time inductee lock is Ichiro Suzuki although CC Sabathia is also a likely inductee, but maybe not in his first year. Like 2024, there are several players whose injury-shortened career will make for interesting results-watching. This includes Hernandez, Dustin Pedroia, and Troy Tulowitzki.
Nick Markakis (OF), Braves, 2015-2020
Matt Kemp (OF), Braves, 2016-2017
Cole Hamels (SP), Braves, 2020
Jason Kipnis (IF), Braves, 2021 (did not appear in an MLB game)
Hamels continues to say he wants to keep pitching, and teams keep signing him, even though he hasn’t appeared in the Majors since is lone appearance with Atlanta in 2020. Markakis is the most notable ex-Brave on this list, and although he is likely to be included on the ballot, he likely will be one-and-done. Kemp’s two-year peak with the Dodgers in 2011 and 2012 might be enough to get him on the ballot. Kipnis, who did not appear with the Braves at the Major League level in 2021 but was at AAA most of the season, is likely to not be on the ballot.
This may be a class without a Hall of Fame selection. Hamels has a career that is borderline, at best, and Ryan Braun’s scandals and relatively short peak are likely to keep him from garnering much support beyond enough to keep him on the ballot for numerous cycles.
Jonathan Lucroy (C), Braves, 2021
Pablo Sandoval (IF), Braves, 2020-2021
Scott Kazmir (SP), Braves, 2018 (released prior to the start of the regular season due to injury)
Ervin Santana (SP), Braves, 2014
It is slim picking in the 2027 class, which also includes former Braves prospect Netali Feliz. Santana had the best career of the bunch, although Lucroy and Sandoval each had notable enough careers that they are likely to make it on to the ballot. Kazmir’s career was derailed by injuries, but his inclusion on this list for 2027 is because he was able to return to the Majors in 2021 after a four-year absence due to injury.
The headliner of the 2027 class - and a likely first-ballot inductee - is Buster Posey. Although his relatively short career could sway some voters to pass on his during his first year of eligibility. Jon Lester is unlikely to be elected but may stay on the ballot for some-or-all of the length of his eligibility.