There will certainly be plenty of discussion regarding the increasing number of players from the "steroid era" of baseball, however that is a discussion I an choosing to stay out of. With that being said, here is my prediction for the Class of 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame:
Mike Piazza - This is his first year of eligibility. He was a 12x MLB All-Star and finished in the Top 10 for National League MVP award seven times. He leads all catchers in career homeruns, OPS and slugging percentage. He is near the top in several other offensive categories.
Piazza's defensive game was often picked apart by critics, however I believe that he was a victim of his own success. His 0.989 fielding percentage is just one percentage point below Johnny Bench. I expect him to get around 85 - 90% HOF votes.
Curt Schilling - There are "Big Game Pitchers," then there are "HUGE GAME PITCHERS." Curt Schilling was a HUGE GAME PITCHER. He was 11-2 in post season play and played in four World Series. He was with the Arizona Diamondbacks when the won it in 2001 and the Boston Red Sox when they took home the trophy in 2004 and 2007.
Schilling took a little while for his HOF career to start rolling. He made his first All-Star game at 30 years old and his career win total is only 216 (Good enough for 82nd All-Time), however he is a member of the 3,000 strikeout club with 3,116. Every eligible player to hit that mark has been elected to the Hall of Fame. No reason to believe Schilling wouldn't join them. I expect him to get 80 - 85% HOF votes.
Craig Biggio - Only a very select class of players have made the All-Star game playing two different positions. Craig Biggio holds the distinction of being the only player to make it as a catcher (1991) and an infielder (92, 94-98). He retired with in 2007 with 3,060 career hits. He is fifth All-Time in doubles (668) and 12th in ABs (2,850). He also holds the modern-day painful record of being hit-by-a- pitch with 285 plunks! I expect him to get 80 - 85% HOF votes.
Jack Morris - I'm shocked as to how Jack has been elected already. He won 254 regular season games, was a 5x All-Star and 3x World Series Champion. He won two WS games for the Tigers in 1984 and two for the Minnesota Twins in 1991. His Game 7 CGSHO against the Braves in '91 is widely considered one of the greatest pitching performances in MLB history. Just like Schilling, Morris was a HUGE GAME PITCHER. Expect right at 75% of the votes.
Jeff Bagwell - No offense to Craig Biggio, but who would you rather have on your team? Bagwell or Biggio? In 15 MLB seasons, Baggy knocked in 449 homeruns, 1,529 RBI while batting .297. Expect around 70% of the votes.
Lee Smith - When he retired in 1997, Lee Smith was the All-Time MLB Saves leader with 478. In the 15 seasons since he retired, only Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera have passed that total. Smith was a 7x MLB All-Star and averaged almost a strikeout per inning pitched. This will be his 10th year on the HOF ballet. He's received between 37% - 51% over the years. Expect around 60% this year.
Fred McGriff - The Crimedog was the model of consistency. Other than the strike-shortened 1994 season, he played at least 140 games a year from 1988 - 2002. He is with tied Lou Gehrig with 493 career homeruns and his 1,550 career RBIs are more than Mickey Mantle's 1,509. McGriff deserves a bust in the HOF, but he's only received around 20 - 24% of the votes during his first three years on the ballot. I've heard a lot of chatter this last year about his candidacy. I don't think there has ever been a player who went from 24% one year to 75% the next, but this could be it. It probably won't happen, but I do see his stock rising. Expect 45 - 50% of the votes.