In 2010, former Colorado Rockies Pedro Astacio, Vinny Castilla and Eric Young make their first appearances on the ballot, joining Larry Walker, who appeared on 20.3 percent of ballots in 2010. The 2012 list of first-time candidates has no player who stands out as a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Astacio, Castilla and Young have nowhere near Hall of Fame statistics and will likely not even meet the five percent minimum to make the 2013 ballot. There would be no injustice done there if that happens.
But 2012 could prove to be a better year for Walker. While Walker won't receive the 75 percent of ballots necessary for induction, the Baseball Writers' Association of America could start to change their minds on him. Could he get into the 30 percent range? That's possible, given the diminished pool of candidates for induction.
Barry Larkin (62.1 percent) could gain enough support in 2010 to attain a plaque in Cooperstown, but no one else immediately jumps out as gaining that much ground next year. Jeff Bagwell and Larry Walker appear to be the best candidates to gain a significant uplift in 2012 because they will stand out compared to those who enter the ballot.
But 2013 will be the important year for those players. In 2013, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa, all players connected to steroids and PEDs, become eligible. The voters could punish them as they have Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro because of that. However, Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling and Mike Piazza also become eligible. It will be a very interesting vote in two years.