Monday, August 10, 2009

Hall of Fame: Who should be inducted?

Some may love this list, others may hate it. It's an interesting discussion to have. Some prominent names might be missing due to off-field issues.

Surefire, first-ballot Hall of Famer if they retired today:
Trevor Hoffman
Mariano Rivera
Ken Griffey Jr.
Randy Johnson
John Smoltz
Derek Jeter
Pedro Martinez
Frank Thomas

Recently retired (or seemingly retired), surefire first-ballot:
Tom Glavine
Greg Maddux
Jeff Kent

Surefire first-ballot, have not reached requisite 10 years service time in Majors (but are close):
Ichiro Suzuki
Albert Pujols

Could retire today, but likely not first-ballot, will make it eventually:
Omar Vizquel
Jim Thome
Chipper Jones (will become First Ballot with a few more good years; signed with Braves through 2012)
Vladimir Guerrero

Future first-ballot, only injuries will derail them:
Joe Mauer
Jonathan Papelbon
Johan Santana
Ryan Howard
Hanley Ramirez

Could retire today, prompt debates (need a few more good years), could be a struggle:
Todd Helton
Jorge Posada

Recently retired, will prompt debates, not first ballot, but will eventually make it:
Mike Mussina
Curt Schilling

On track for eventual induction:
Miguel Cabrera
Chase Utley
Mark Teixeira
Prince Fielder
Roy Halladay
Carl Crawford
Roy Halladay
Roy Oswalt (hinted at early retirement)

On track to be in the discussion:
Justin Morneau
Matt Holliday
Dan Haren
Josh Beckett
David Wright

Once looked like a lock, still young enough to end up in discussion, but likely out:
Andruw Jones
Scott Rolen

Might have support, but probably not enough:
Jason Varitek

Need a few more years to have a shot:
Carlos Delgado

Will likely retire with monster numbers and not make it:
Adam Dunn

Great numbers, but overlooked during playing career, might not bode well for induction:
Bobby Abreu

Better chance than you might think, need to reach milestones, how badly do they want it?
Lance Berkman (33 years old, 1016 RBI, 16th all-time in OPS)
Johnny Damon (hinted at retirement before, but has 2382 hits and is only 35)
Mark Buehrle (high ERA, but only 30 with 133 wins, perfect game, no hitter, also hinted at early retirement)
Michael Young (late bloomer, 33, hitting machine: 1628 hits, 5 straight 200 hit seasons 2003-2007)
Joe Nathan (utter dominance could overcome late start, 34, 228 SV, 1.81 ERA as a closer; needs to maintain dominance and get 350 SV; tall order, but not impossible)

Hall of Fame talent, but inconsistencies and/or injuries are a major issue:
Jake Peavy
Francisco Rodriguez
Ryan Zimmerman
Jimmy Rollins
Grady Sizemore
C.C. Sabathia
Brandon Webb
Carlos Beltran
Justin Verlander
Curtis Granderson
Alfonso Soriano
Brad Lidge

Hall of Fame talent, good track record, still very early:
Tim Lincecum
Felix Hernandez
Ryan Braun
Dustin Pedroia

Seems to have Hall of Fame talent, still really young:
Justin Upton
Evan Longoria

Great talent, intriguing player, still an enigma:
Joba Chamberlain
Jose Reyes
Zack Greinke
Matt Cain
Aaron Hill
Matt Kemp

Had the talent, didn't find it until it was too late:
Chris Carpenter
Kevin Youkilis

Too late, will not make it, despite impressive numbers:
Andy Pettitte
Jim Edmonds
Luis Gonzalez
Jamie Moyer
Garret Anderson
Moises Alou
Kenny Lofton

Starting pitchers are very difficult to predict or evaluate for the Hall of Fame: no starting pitcher that started his career after 1967 has made it yet (Tom Seaver's rookie year). Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine all have 300 wins and will likely gain entry in the mid-2010's. Attitudes may have to change for pitchers that will not (or probably not) reach the 300 win mark (Pedro, Mussina, Oswalt, Santana, Halladay).

There are undoubtedly names I forgot to mention, please let me know if I did.


  1. Interesting stuff.
    I'd have to swap Frank Thomas and Jeff Kent. I sure *hope* Thomas is a surefire first-ballot, anyway (Kent should be to, but I don't think he is at all).
    I'd move Halladay up into the same category as Santana, and I'd move King Felix down with Lincecum. Hard to believe he's still only 23.

  2. I agree, it was an error not to put Frank Thomas in the First Ballot group. He's 15th all time in OPS, 9th in walks, 500 home runs, basically a unique offensive machine.

    I feel fairly comfortable I would be able to move Felix Hernandez up if has another great year in 2010, but this is his first great season out of 5.

    Thanks for the comments!

  3. That's true, but he's had 2 1/2 pretty good seasons to go with his great one (and an average season at age 20, which is kind of incredible in itself). Felix will end up with something like 55 wins through age 23, an age at which Lincecum had 7.

  4. Ok, you're right. Felix gets moved, along with Halladay.

    I made a few other adjustments as well after some consideration: moved Josh Beckett and David Wright into the 'on track to be in discussion' category.

    Once David Wright gets his power back, he'll be fine. He's had a basically flawless career, except for his terrible home runs numbers this season. If his lack of power is due to Citi Field, that creates a lot more problems for him.

    Josh Beckett has had some injuries and inconsistency, but I think he'll end with monster numbers and a few Cy Young Awards. His 2003 and 2007 postseason performances are legendary (not so much 2008), and more of that will help him out too.

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