Future Hall of Fame Outfielders – American League

Future Hall of Fame Baseball Player Series:

  1. First Basemen
  2. Second Basemen
  3. Shortstops
  4. Third Basemen
  5. Outfielders – American League
  6. Outfielders – National League
  7. Catchers
  8. Starting Pitchers
  9. Closers

Since there are so many potential future Hall of Fame outfielders, I decided to divide them into two lists – current National League and current American League outfielders. Here are the candidates currently in the American League. Surprisingly, I don’t think there are any current “no doubt” Hall of Fame outfielders in the American league.

Really Good Chance

  • Manny Ramirez

Manny is virtually a done deal, and he could probably retire today and have about a 95% chance of making it to the Hall. I think there’s still just a bit of room for debate with him. His offensive numbers are impressive though – 489 home runs, 1,595 RBI, 1,327 runs scored, .313 batting average, and a .594 slugging percentage. He’s been the model of consistency by having at least 30 homers and 100 RBI in 11 of the last 12 seasons. At 35 years old, he’s likely to play a few more seasons, and really pad those stats.

  • Sammy Sosa

Sosa would probably be a lock for the Hall if it weren’t for his steroids suspicions and the corked bat incident. He’s basically a power hitter, and not much else, but his power numbers are impressive. 604 home runs, 1,647 RBI, and 1,465 runs scored would generally guarantee your place in Cooperstown, but I’ve got a feeling he may share the same fate as Mark McGwire. We’ll just have to wait and see.

  • Vladimir Guerrero

Like Manny Ramirez, Guerrero has been the model of consistency throughout his career. At age 31, he’s still probably got several productive seasons in him, so his final numbers should be awesome. Here are highlights of his career stats: 1,924 hits, 356 home runs, 1,144 RBI, 1,017 runs scored, and a .324 batting average.

  • Ichiro Suzuki

Usually, when players get a late start to their MLB career, they don’t stand much of a chance at making the Hall. Not so in Ichiro’s case. He didn’t play his first major league game until he was 27, yet he has managed to gather over 1,500 hits and 250 stolen bases by age 33. He shows no signs of slowing down yet, so he’s got a real shot at reaching 2,500+ hits and close to 500 stolen bases, as well as a .330+ batting average.

  • Gary Sheffield

Sheffield is another guy that could be hurt by steroids suspicions, but I think his numbers are impressive enough to get him in the Hall. Right now he’s got 479 home runs, over 1,500 RBI and runs scored, 2,500 hits, a .297 batting average, and 238 stolen bases. He’s 38 years old, so he probably won’t play more than a couple of more years. But, if he plays a couple of more years, he’ll probably be around 550 homers, 1,700 RBI and runs, and not be too far from 3,000 hits. That should be plenty to get him into the Hall, even with some off the field issues.

50/50 Chance

  • Magglio Ordonez

A couple of yeas ago when Ordonez was injured, I would have said there was no way he could make it to the Hall, but he’s really come back strong from those injuries. Right now he’s at 1,595 hits, 241 home runs, 962 RBI, and a career batting average of .310. He’s having a career year in 2007, so if he can avoid the injury bug and can play anywhere near as well as he is this season, he’s got a real shot at putting up Hall-worthy numbers.

Iffy at Best

  • Bobby Abreu

Abreu’s numbers are pretty similar to Ordonez’s, and he’s also 33 years old. Abreu actually has more hits, runs, and stolen bases than Ordonez, but I don’t like his chances of making it as much as Magglio’s. The reason being that Abreu is starting to see a drop off in his numbers while Magglio is playing better than ever. Right now Abreu has 1,722 hits, 218 home runs, 964 RBI, 1,039 runs, 286 stolen bases, and a .301 batting average. These are very nice numbers, but with the decline in power, speed and batting average he’s experienced, its looking like he’ll end up with very nice numbers that just aren’t quite worthy of the Hall of Fame.

  • Garrett Anderson

Anderson looks like even a longer shot than Abreu. He’s got 2,154 hits, 247 home runs, 1,164 RBI, and a .296 batting average. Very good numbers, but at 35 years old, it’ll be tough for him to reach a major milestone number like 3,000 hits. He’s also missing more and more games due to injury, and he hasn’t had 20 home runs or 100 RBI in a season since 2003. Ultimately, the lack of any numbers that really jump out at you will almost certainly keep Anderson from the Hall.

  • Johnny Damon

Damon is another guy who’s put up good numbers, but who has done nothing that makes you think he should be considered for the Hall. He’s got 2,057 hits, 1,258 runs, and 326 stolen bases, but those are really the only numbers that jump out at you. He’s 34 years old, and his numbers are definitely declining, so he’ll likely end up short of what’s needed.

Too Early to Tell

  • Carl Crawford

Carl Crawford is one of the best young outfielders in the majors right now. He just turned 26 years old, but he’s already got nearly 1,000 hits. Most impressive though are his speed numbers. He’s got over 250 stolen bases and has led the American League in steals 3 of the last 4 years, and is leading this season as well. He’s also already got 74 career triples, and has led the American League in that category the last 3 years. If he can play 10 more years at a fairly high level, there’s a good chance he could finish with 600+ stolen bases, 150-200 triples, and close to 3,000 hits. He’s an exciting young player, so let’s hope he can keep it up.

Close but no Cigar

  • Jermaine Dye

Dye is the first American League outfielder that comes to mind as having a really nice career, but has no chance of making it to the Hall of Fame. His 260 homers and 800+ RBI and runs are good, but at 33 years old, there’s virtually no way he could boost those numbers enough to get into the conversation.

Three other guys almost made the “close but no cigar” category – Darin Erstad, Torii Hunter, and Hideki Matsui – but I thought their numbers were even less impressive than Dye’s. Also, Grady Sizemore and Vernon Wells are a couple of other young outfielders that might work their way into the conversation, but Crawford is clearly the best of that group right now.

Is this the funniest video ever? OJ Simpson gets pranked!

OJ Simpson recently agreed to an online interview with Market News First (MN1.com) that would involve him fielding live calls. As you might expect, there were a few jokers that took advantage of the opportunity. The first two calls are really genius. My favorite is the second one. Enjoy the hilarity!

Future Hall of Fame Catchers

Future Hall of Fame Baseball Player Series:

  1. First Basemen
  2. Second Basemen
  3. Shortstops
  4. Third Basemen
  5. Outfielders – American League
  6. Outfielders – National League
  7. Catchers
  8. Starting Pitchers
  9. Closers

There aren’t a lot of catchers in the Hall of Fame right now (only 13), and there are only two active catchers who are considered locks to eventually get there – Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez. Other than those two, there are three young catchers – Joe Mauer, Victor Martinez, and Brian McCann – that have had good starts to their careers, but are not far enough along to be considered at this point.

No Doubters

  • Mike Piazza

When compared to the 13 catchers that are currently in the hall of fame, Piazza’s numbers are extremely impressive. Here are some of his stats with where he ranks among all Hall of Fame catchers in parentheses:

  • Hits – 2,088 (4th)
  • Home Runs – 422 (1st)
  • RBI – 1,311 (4th)
  • Runs – 1,033 (6th)
  • Batting Average – .309 (3rd)
  • Slugging Percentage – .548 (1st)

Piazza is a 12 time All-Star, and was also National League Rookie of the Year in 1993. He was never a great defensive catcher, but his offensive statistics clearly put him among the top catchers of all time.

  • Ivan Rodriguez

Rodriguez’s offensive numbers also compare very favorably to those catchers currently in the Hall of Fame. Here are some of his key stats with his rank among Hall of Fame catchers in parentheses:

  • Hits – 2,454 (1st)
  • Home Runs – 286 (5th)
  • RBI – 1,168 (7th)
  • Runs – 1,195 (2nd)
  • Batting Average – .303 (4th)
  • Slugging Percentage – .481 (5th)
  • Doubles – 494 (1st)

His offensive numbers are definitely good enough to get him into the Hall, and on top of that, he’s one of the best defensive catchers ever, having been awarded 12 Gold Glove awards. He’s also been an All-Star 14 times, and was voted American League MVP in 1999.

Close but no Cigar

  • Jason Kendall

Kendall is a guy who has a lot of hits (1,809), and a pretty good batting average (.297), but his almost complete lack of power numbers should prevent him from ever really being considered for the Hall of Fame. 70 career home runs and 599 RBI’s are really way too low for him to be put up there with the other great catchers in baseball history.

Future Hall of Fame Third Basemen

Future Hall of Fame Baseball Player Series:

  1. First Basemen
  2. Second Basemen
  3. Shortstops
  4. Third Basemen
  5. Outfielders – American League
  6. Outfielders – National League
  7. Catchers
  8. Starting Pitchers
  9. Closers

In my opinion, there is only one no-brainer future hall of fame third baseman right now, that being Alex Rodriguez. There are a few others with a shot at making it to the Hall of Fame, but no one else that would be considered a done deal. On to the candidates.

No Doubters

  • Alex Rodriguez

Not only is A-Rod the best third baseman going right now, he’s possibly the best baseball player of his generation. He’s only 31 years old, but he could retire today and be a first ballot hall of famer with the numbers he’s put up. By the end of this season he’ll be over 500 home runs, and possibly be over 1,500 RBI’s and runs scored. He’s also got a career batting average of .306 and 2,163 hits. He’s also won two MVP awards and is working on a third this seasons. Not much more needs to be said about Rodriguez. He’s in.

Really good chance

  • Chipper Jones

Chipper is very close to assuring his place in Cooperstown, but I don’t think its a done deal just yet. He’s got really good numbers for a third baseman and with another couple of good years, he’ll be all but guaranteed a spot in the Hall. He’s 35 years old and has been injured some in recent years, but when he’s in the lineup, he can definitely still hit. Here are his career numbers thus far:

  • 2,016 Hits
  • 370 Home Runs
  • 1,229 Runs
  • 1,234 RBI
  • .305 Batting average
  • .543 Slugging %

Iffy at Best

  • Troy Glaus

I wasn’t really sure where to place Glaus. I think it will be tough for him to continue to play at a high enough level long enough to put up the numbers he needs in order to make the Hall of Fame. He’s really a one dimensional baseball player. He’s got good power, but not much else. His career batting average is just a tad over .250, and that’s not good. I think his only hope of getting to the Hall is to end up with 500 career homers, and he’s just over half way there with 268 right now. He’s also got 750 RBI so he’s half way to the 1,500 RBI benchmark. It’ll be tough, but he’s got a shot at making it.

  • Scott Rolen

Rolen’s numbers are pretty comparable to Glaus’ right now. Rolen has more home runs and RBI’s right now, and a better batting average, but I don’t like Rolen’s chances of making the Hall as much as Glaus’. The main reasons being age (he’s a couple of years older than Glaus) and power decline. He missed most of the 2005 season and only had 22 homers last season. Right now Rolen’s at 257 home runs, 985 RBI’s, 930 runs scored, and a career .284 batting average. He’ll need another 5 years of 30+ homers and close to 100 RBI’s to have a shot at the Hall, and I don’t see that being very likely.

Too early to tell

  • Miguel Cabrera

Cabrera is one of the best young players going right now. He’s only 24 years old, but is already a four-time all-star. At this point in his career he’s got 121 home runs, 461 RBI’s, 407 runs scored, and a .313 batting average. I know he’s young, but barring major injury, there’s no reason to think this guy won’t put up Hall of Fame numbers.

  • Aramis Ramirez

Aramis Ramirez’s career thus far looks a lot like Troy Glaus’, only with a better batting average. He just turned 29 years old, and has been consistently putting up around 30 homers, 100 RBI’s, and batted .290 plus. Another three or four good years, and we’ll be talking about him being on his way to the Hall of Fame. Its just a little too early to say that right now.

Close but no Cigar

Let me make mention of a couple of nice third basemen – Adrian Beltre and Eric Chavez. These are both guys in the their late 20’s that had great starts to their careers, but have started to trend downwards (post steroids possibly?). They’ve both amassed decent power numbers, but that’s really the only noteworthy part of their offensive game. Maybe one of them will surprise us and pick it up, but right now they are probably just on their way to nice, but non-Hall of Fame careers.

Future Hall of Fame Shortstops

Future Hall of Fame Baseball Player Series:

  1. First Basemen
  2. Second Basemen
  3. Shortstops
  4. Third Basemen
  5. Outfielders – American League
  6. Outfielders – National League
  7. Catchers
  8. Starting Pitchers
  9. Closers

Shortstop is not the strongest position out there, but it’s certainly not as weak as second base is right now. I don’t think there are any “no doubt” hall of fame shortstops right now, although Derek Jeter is very close. I just couldn’t quite pull the trigger and say he’s in right now. On to the candidates.

Really good chance

  • Derek Jeter

Without question, Jeter is one of the best shortstops of his time, and maybe the best, now that Alex Rodgiuez has moved over to third base. If he were to retire today, there’s a good chance he would get voted in, but I wouldn’t say its a guarantee by any means. Jeter is 32 years old right now, and has no history of injury to speak of, so he could probably play another five years at a pretty high level. Let’s examine some of his statistical high points:

  • 2,223 hits – another five seasons averaging around 155 hits and he’ll reach the 3,000 mark.
  • 1,312 runs scored – he’s scored over 100 runs in all but one season, so he’ll probably end his career among the all-time leaders in this category.
  • .317 career batting average – That’s 5th among active players with at least 3,000 plate appearances, and his batting average has actually been getting better in recent years.

As far as awards and honors go, he won the Rookie of the Year award in 1996, was the 2000 World Series MVP, and has won 3 Gold Gloves. He’s also a seven time all-star. If he’s not already a Hall of Famer, he will be with another year or two of solid play.

  • Miguel Tejada

I don’t think Tejada is in the same class as Jeter, but he is certainly putting together a potential hall of fame career. He’s been one of the most durable players for the past decade, playing in 162 games in each of the last 6 seasons. He’s 31 years old, so he might also have another five years or so of decent production left in him. His career stats include:

  • 1,654 hits
  • 246 home runs
  • 982 RBI
  • 901 runs scored

I’ve got a feeling that his power numbers will continue to decrease (steroids?), but 2006 was a very solid year for him – 214 hits, 24 homers, 100 RBI, .330 batting average. If he does anything close to this for the next 4-5 years, he should end up with 2,500 hits, 350+ home runs and 1,400+ RBI. Very good numbers for a shortstop. Oh yeah, and he won the MVP in 2002.

50/50 Chance

  • Omar Vizquel

Vizquel is a very interesting case. He certainly is not known for his offensive prowess, but he is known for his defense. He has won 11 Gold Gloves, and could win another this year. He’s still the everyday shortstop for the Giants. His career is strikingly similar to Ozzie Smith’s. Let’s compare their numbers:

  Vizquel Smith
Hits 2,516 2,460
Runs 1,305 1,257
Doubles 406 402
Triples 69 69
Home Runs 73 28
RBI 832 793
Stolen Bases 369 580
Walks 910 1,072
Batting Average .275 .262
On Base % .341 .337
Gold Gloves 11 13

Vizquel is actually a little better in most offensive categories, and has nearly as many Gold Gloves. Ozzie just had that “it” factor going for him. I’m not sure Vizquel has that. In the end, I’m just not sure what to do with Omar, so that’s why I put him in the 50/50 chance category.

Iffy at best

  • Edgar Renteria

When you think of Hall of Fame type players, Edgar Renteria doesn’t usually come to mind, but he has quietly put together a very good career over the last 11 years. Right now he’s got 1,844 hits, 734 RBI, 975 runs, 266 stolen bases, and a .290 batting average. He started his career very young (age 20), which certainly helped him accumulate these numbers, but you can’t hold that against him. He’s only 31 right now, so he’s actually got an outside chance at 3,000 hits. How long he plays will be key, but I doubt he’ll reach 3,000 hits. His lack of power (only 113 career home runs), will also hurt his case for the hall.

Too early to tell

  • Jose Reyes

Reyes is really young (24 this month), but his career is off and running, literally. He has led the NL in stolen bases the last two season, and is killing the competition again this year. He’s got 186 career stolen bases so far, and barring injury, there’s a chance he could end up with 600+ by the time he’s done. The stolen base is a bit of a lost art, so its fun to see a guy that has a chance to dominate in the category again.

  • Jimmy Rollins

Rollins looks like a little bit younger, and slightly better version of Edgar Renteria. He’s 28 years old, but has some good numbers so far: 1,162 hits, 217 stolen bases, and 69 triples. Longevity will obviously be key here, and the ability to keep up the stolen bases and triples. He’s got a chance to end up as one of the best triples hitters of his day, for what that’s worth.

  • Michael Young

Michael Young has been one of the best pure and consistent hitters over the last 4 seasons. For the last 4 years, he’s finished in the top 3 in hits in the American League. He was the batting champ and hits leader in 2005. His career hit total is 1,164 and he’s 30 years old, so it will probably be tough for him to get very close to 3,000 hits. He’s off to a slow start this season, but if he can regain his form of the last four years, he’s got an outside shot at putting up HOF worthy numbers.

There are some other good, young shortstops out there like J.J. Hardy and Hanley Ramirez, but they don’t have enough skins on the wall to be in the conversation just yet. I think that Jeter, Tejada, Vizquel, and Reyes will end up getting in. I think the others will end up with very good careers, but it takes a great career to end up in the Hall of Fame.

Future Hall of Fame Second Basemen

Future Hall of Fame Baseball Player Series:

  1. First Basemen
  2. Second Basemen
  3. Shortstops
  4. Third Basemen
  5. Outfielders – American League
  6. Outfielders – National League
  7. Catchers
  8. Starting Pitchers
  9. Closers

The are plenty of potential Hall of Fame first basemen currently in the big leagues, but at second base…. not so much. There are really only two active second basemen that have done enough in their careers to be a part of this conversation: Craig Biggio and Jeff Kent. Let’s take a look at their cases.

No Doubters

  • Craig Biggio

Craig Biggio will go down as one of the best second basemen of all time. He has quietly put together some very impressive stats.

  • 2,970 Hits – 28th all-time. In about a month, he will become the 27th player to reach 3,000 hits and if he gets another 100 hits this season, he’ll finish the season ranked 20th on the career hits list.
  • 650 Doubles – 7th all-time. If he can collect 16 more doubles in his career, he’ll pass George Brett for 5th on the all-time list.
  • 412 Stolen Bases – 61st all-time. Not super high on the leader list, but another very nice aspect to his well-rounded game.
  • 1,802 Runs – 16th all-time.

He’s also got some other interesting “bullet-point” stats. If he gets hit by a pitch 4 more times, he will become the all-time leader in that category. He’s also the only player to be an all star both as a catcher and second baseman.

When you compare him to other HOF second basemen, there is no question he belongs. Take a look at his stats verses Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg:

  Biggio Sandberg
Hits 2,970 2,386
Runs 1,802 1,318
Doubles 650 403
Triples 55 76
Home Runs 284 282
RBI 1141 1061
Stolen Bases 412 344
Walks 1147 761
Batting Average .282 .285
On Base % .366 .344
Slugging % .435 .452

Biggio beats him in every category except for triples, batting average and slugging percentage. If the voters put Sandberg in, there really is no way they can deny Biggio entry into the Hall.

Really good chance

  • Jeff Kent

As far as second basemen go, Kent is a bit of a one trick pony, but its not a bad trick. He’s the best power hitting second baseman ever. He’s got 351 career home runs, and 1,403 RBI’s. To go along with those power numbers, he’s also got 1,224 runs and 2,233 hits. He’s 38 years old, so he has maybe another couple of years of decent play left in him, which could put his RBI total over the important 1,500 mark. He also has won an MVP award, which not many second basemen can say. That always looks good on a resume. The only thing going against him is that he wasn’t know as a great defensive player, but that shouldn’t be enough to offset his offensive numbers.

Its pretty slim pickins at second base, but I think with Biggio, you’ve got a first-ballot inductee, and Kent should get in, although I’m not sure if he’ll make it his first year of eligibility.

Future Hall of Fame First Basemen

Future Hall of Fame Baseball Player Series:

  1. First Basemen
  2. Second Basemen
  3. Shortstops
  4. Third Basemen
  5. Outfielders – American League
  6. Outfielders – National League
  7. Catchers
  8. Starting Pitchers
  9. Closers

When it comes to statistics and Hall of Fame speculation, baseball is king. It seems that baseball, more than any other sport, generates the most talk and buzz when it comes time to announce who made it into the Hall of Fame, and who missed it and by what margin. This is the first of several blog posts that will look at current major leaguers and examine their chances at some day reaching the Hall. For a look at my introduction to this series of blogs, click here.

Let’s get started. I’m starting with first basemen, for no other reason than their position contains the word first. Here’s my take on who should get in, won’t get in and why.

No Doubters

  • Frank Thomas

During the prime of his career, he was probably the 1st or 2nd best first baseman in baseball, with Jeff Bagwell being the other great one over that span. He won 2 MVP awards (1993 & 1994), and finished in the top 5 of the MVP voting 4 other times. Thomas ranks in the top 25 of a number of categories:

  • On-base % of .423 – 16th all-time (Bonds and Helton are the only active players ahead of him)
  • Slugging Percentage of .563: 18th all-time
  • 492 career homers place him 23rd all-time. He should become the 21st player to reach 500 career homers later this season.
  • 1,597 RBI’s – 28th all-time
  • 1,570 Walks – 12th all-time

Really good chance

  • Albert Pujols

This beast of a man has a chance to go down as one of the best to ever play the game. He’s only 27 years old, but he’s already got 6 full seasons under his belt and has some impressive numbers:

  • Hits – 1,159
  • RBI – 758
  • Runs – 748
  • Home Runs – 256

If we assume he can stay healthy for ten more years and performs at 90% of where he has been, his career numbers would look like this:

  • Hits – 2,897

  • RBI – 1,895

  • Runs – 1,870

  • Home Runs – 625

Maybe most impressively, in each of his six seasons in the big leagues, he managed to finish in the top 5 of the MVP voting. He won the MVP in 2005 and the Rookie of the Year award in 2001.

  • Jim Thome

Thome is one of those guys who seems to have fairly quietly put together a very impressive career. If he retired today, I don’t think he’d get in. He’s got some good numbers:

  • 477 Home Runs

  • 1,312 RBI

  • 1,271 Runs

  • .566 Slugging %

These are very good, but when it comes to other Hall of Fame first basemen, he isn’t quite as good. He’s 36 years old, so he can probably play for at least a couple more years, maybe even four or five more if his body can hold up. With two more good years, he would probably have around 550 home runs, and around 1,500 RBI’s and runs scored. If he does that, it would be tough to deny him HOF status.

50/50 Chance

  • Todd Helton

Todd Helton is fairly unique when it comes to potential Hall of Fame first basemen. He’s the rare top-tier first baseman that has a very high batting average, but not a lot of power. Right now he’s got just over 1,000 runs and RBI’s, 290 home runs, and a career batting average of .334. He’s 33 years old right now, so five more years is not unreasonable. His numbers have declined a little bit the last couple of years, but if he can keep his batting average up, he should be able to get over 1,400 RBI’s and runs and maybe 350-400 home runs. The batting average will be his best bullet point. The one thing that could go against him in the mind of HOF voters is that he’s played his whole career in Colorado, which is a hitters park. It’ll be interesting to see what effect, if any, this will have on him.

  • Carlos Delgado

Here is an example of a guy who has had a very solid career, but has not necessarily been a transcendent type of player. Right now he’s got 410 home runs and 1,305 RBI’s, which for a first baseman, won’t quite get it done. I think he’s actually got a better chance than Helton to get in because of the power numbers and he’s probably got 3 or 4 good years left in him (he’s 34 right now). If he can average 30 homers and close to 100 RBI’s for the next 3 years, he would end his career with over 500 homers and 1,600 RBI’s.

Iffy at best

  • Nomar Garciaparra

Nomar is a classic example of player that looked like he was on his way to greatness, but then the injury bug starting making numerous appearances. The four year span from 1997 to 2000 was one of the best four years a shortstop had ever strung together. Over that span he had a batting average of .337, and averaged 28 homers, 110 runs, and 105 RBI’s, which is incredible for a shortstop. But, because of the injuries, he’s been forced to play at first base for the last couple of years, and his production isn’t quite what it used to be. Right now, he’s got 1,581 hits, 212 home runs, 859 runs scored, and 858 RBI. At 33 years old, it will probably be tough for him to put together enough good seasons to seriously be considered for a place in Cooperstown.

  • Jason Giambi

Giambi’s numbers are quite similar to Delgado’s. Their just a little less impressive. He was an absolute stud in the early 2000’s, but three years of greatness won’t get it done. He’s currently at 355 home runs, 1,162 RBI’s, 1,031 runs and 1,671 hits. He would have to have at least 3 or 4 very good years to get into the conversation. Even with that, the fact that he all but admitted to using steroids will hurt his chances.

Too early to tell

  • Lance Berkman

Current totals: 1,156 hits, 230 home runs, 774 RBI, 708 runs, .303 batting average, .561 slugging %. He would need to average about 30 home runs and 100 RBI’s for about 8 seasons to get his numbers where they need to be. At age 31, durability will be key. Can he stay healthy?

  • Paul Konerko

Konerko’s number are pretty similar to Berkman’s and they are both 31 years old. Konerko’s got 1,317 hits, 249 home runs, 824 RBI’s, 689 runs, a .281 batting average, and a slugging % of .492. His slugging % is about 70 points lower and his batting average about 20 points lower. For that reason, I like Berkman’s chances of making it more than Paul’s.

  • Derrek Lee

I may as well just copy and paste what I said for Berkman and Konerko here for Lee. He is also 31 years old and his numbers are right in line with the aforementioned Berkman and Konerko. He’s at 1,232 hits, 218 home runs, 677 RBI’s, 695 runs, a .280 batting average, and a .502 slugging %. His stats had been trending up, until he missed most of 2006 with the wrist injury, so if he can continue to trend upward and stay off the DL, he’s got a shot.

  • David Oritz

OK, this is ridiculous. Ortiz – 31 years old, 1,082 hits, 240 home runs, 796 RBI’s, 649 runs, .284 batting average, and a .552 slugging %. Like Lee, Ortiz is also trending upward, so he’s got that going for him. And more than any of the other guys, he’s got an aura about him, and that certainly can’t hurt him.

Close but no Cigar

  • Julio Franco

I think Julio Franco is the only baseball player that played alongside Joe DiMaggio and Alex Rodriguez, so I say put him in the Hall just for that accomplishment. Well, he has played 23 seasons in the majors, and since he’s been around so long, he’s got some decent numbers. 2,570 hits is nothing to sneeze at, but his body of work is just not quite good enough to consider him for enshrinement. Of course, he might play another 10 or 20 years and rack up another 1,000 hits….probably not though.

In the end, I think Thomas, Pujols, Thome, Delgado, and Ortiz will make the final cut. I’ve got a feeling the others will get lost in the current group of great hitters and will come up a little short. Next up, second basemen….