Active Players: Future Hall of Famers?

By Chas

I read from a pretty reputable source recently that, historically, there are about 35 players active at any given time who go on to become Hall of Famers. So, I thought it would be a fun discussion to try and predict who the current 35 or so would be.

For the purposes of this exercise, active is defined as any player who played in 2010, so while we know that a couple of the guys I listed below have already decided to retire, they still fall into the pool of candidates.

Here are 30 that I came up with for an initial list. By no means am I trying to say these are the “no-brainers.” In fact, at least a few of them are based on the prediction that they’ll continue to produce in a way that will result in a Hall of Fame career. Obviously, in order to come up with such a list, there have to be some very young guys on it.

I also thought it would be useful to list the players by position. You’ll probably notice that there are generally 2-4 for each position, except starting pitcher, so this initial list has some balance, as I think it should.

C Ivan Rodriguez
C Joe Mauer
1B Albert Pujols
1B Ryan Howard
1B Miguel Cabrera
1B Joey Votto
1B Prince Fielder
1B Adrian Gonzalez
2B Chase Utley
2B Robinson Cano
SS Derek Jeter
SS Hanley Ramirez
SS Troy Tulowitzki
SS Omar Vizquel
3B Alex Rodriguez
3B Chipper Jones
3B David Wright
3B Evan Longoria
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Manny Ramirez
LF Carl Crawford
LF Ryan Braun
CF Ken Griffey Jr.
CF Jim Edmonds
RF Ichiro Suzuki
RF Vladimir Guerrero
RF Jason Heyward
DH Jim Thome
DH David Ortiz
SP Roy Halladay
SP Johan Santana
SP CC Sabathia
SP Tim Lincecum
SP Felix Hernandez
SP Adam Wainwright
SP Justin Verlander
RP Mariano Rivera
RP Trevor Hoffman
RP Billy Wagner

A couple other things worth noting:

1. For the most part, these are predictions about who will make the Hall of Fame, rather than players I think are or will be deserving.

2. The possible exception to the above note is the PED issue, which is the only factor that might prevent a few of these guys from getting in. However, I really do think those above with that particular cloud hanging over their heads will eventually be inducted.

Who’s going to be the first to share your opinion? Who am I missing? Who am I crazy for including on this list? I know there are quite a few other guys who belong in the discussion, but whom I left off, either based on the fact that I think they’ll tail off, or because I’m simply less certain about them than others.

71 Responses to "Active Players: Future Hall of Famers?"

  1. Mark Houser   January 24, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Scott Rolen is definitely a Hall of Famer in my opinion, how no one has mentioned him is beyond me, 71.6 WAR, 303 home runs, .498 slugging. All while playing gold glove defense.

    The 2004 Cardinals had an amazing streak of hitters.

    Rolen- .314avg 34hr 124 RBI
    Pujols- .331avg 46hr 123RBI
    Edmonds-.301avg 42hr 111RBI

  2. Chas   January 24, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Thought about Rolen. Just don’t think he’s going to make it, and this is about who we think will make it, not our opinion of who deserves it.

  3. Mark Houser   January 24, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Good point, Prince Fielder though? No way at this pace.

  4. Wally   January 24, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Scott Rolen? “Definitely a HoFer”? With all due respect, Mr Houser … strongly disagree. Very good player … a gamer …but not a HoFer.

  5. Mark Houser   January 24, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Can i ask why you think that?

  6. Chas   January 24, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Prince Fielder is 26 and has 192 career HR and 3 100 RBI seasons.

  7. Mark Houser   January 24, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Thats all he does, he’s a power hitter, he doesn’t play good defense at all. Reminds me of how Jason Giambi used to be in his prime, and were not calling him hall worthy.

    Rolen also has 8 gold gloves. I think you’re underrating defense here,

  8. Wally   January 25, 2011 at 7:04 am

    Well … for starters … Ron Santo is not in the Hall. And if Santo is not in as a 3B, I really can’t start thinking about Rolen.

  9. Chas   January 25, 2011 at 9:09 am

    I hear what you’re saying, Mark, but I have to say that I’m not underrating anything. I’m only trying to predict how the HOF voters will see certain candidates. Also, I needed to have a fairly even distribution across age ranges, and it’s obviously easier to predict the older guys than the younger ones. You’re probably right about Prince Fielder, but right now he projects as someone with a pretty good chance if he continues to hit the way he’s done.

    I may do a separate post at some point about all the “one-dimensional” players who are already in the Hall.

    Wally, that type of argument is getting old. Putting your foot down and saying, “this guy doesn’t get in until this other guy” does is no argument. If you think Santo is worthy (and I do too) you have to accept, for now, that he’s not in, but still advocate for guys who are as good as he is. That may not be Rolen, but this “drawing the line in the sand” thing is silly.

  10. Wally   January 25, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Chas —
    I honestly don’t think it’s silly … if the vantage point is “Do you think Rolen will get serious consideration from the voters?” Then Santo is certainly in the discussion. If, on the other hand, the question is “Do I (or any certain individual) think Scott Rolen SHOULD be in the Hall?” then maybe you have a point and Santo is not really part of the discussion … we’d evaluate Rolen compared to his peers/his era based on his actual performance.

    When healthy, Rolen has been a nice run producer (104 RBI/162 games) throughout his career and his 8 GG’s are very positive arguments for him at 3B. However, he’s only a 4 time All Star and his post-season hitting has been subpar (.216 BA with only 11 RBI in 35 games). And he’s played in an era with prodigious power and run-producing stats overall in MLB. Summary … very good player, but not HoF worthy, IMO.

  11. Chas   January 25, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Wally, I would contend that, whichever way we’re looking at it, making the case for or against one player based on only one other player alone doesn’t make much sense.

  12. Mark Houser   January 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Do you guys think Rafael Palmiero, Manny Ramirez, and Derek Jeter are Hall of Famers?

    Theres a chart for you all, Rolen has a higher WAR than any of the names i mentioned, when he was at their age.

    He’s a top 3 defensive 3rd basemen of all time, and with 3 or 4 years left he’ll have a wor around 80, give or take. Again about the same as Santo.

    Since Rolen came into the league 4 players have put up a higher war, those names include, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, and Chipper Jones.

    All of those players are hall of famers to me, Scott Rolen is a no brainer, maybe not 1st ballot, but he’ll definitely get in.

  13. Chas   January 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Mark, I meant to say this before, but I appreciate you bringing the advanced metrics into the discussion. I look at WAR too when evaluating players, but I’ve had mixed success with trying to discuss the SABRmetrics stuff here. I’ve introduced ERA+ and OPS+, but that’s about it.

    Casey’s talked to me about doing a post here and there about advanced statistics, and I think WAR is a good one, because it’s easily describable without trying to explain how it’s calculated (which I’d have to look up).

    That’s a great chart you produced there as well. Rolen’s WAR numbers make him look Hall-worthy, but I like to look beyond just total WAR. For instance, take a look at this comparison of recent HOF-eligible players:

    This guy adds a couple more stats to look at:

    Wins Above Excellence: total of all single season WAR above 3.0
    Wins Above MVP: total of all single season WAR above 6.0

    The problem I think Rolen might have is he peaked so early, and really hasn’t been that good in his 30s. This is going to work against him when it comes to the Hall of Fame voting. He’s not as extreme as Andruw Jones, who is in the top five all-time in defensive WAR (I think), but it’s an apt comparison.

    We’ll see on Rolen. I don’t think he’s a no-brainer, but you’ve convinced me to take a closer a look at him, and that’s always a good thing.

    Where did you come from, anyway? 😉 Stick around, and we’ll definitely talk about WAR and other advanced statistics more.

  14. Mark Houser   January 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    The baseball God’s sent me down from above to inform you about Scott Rolen.

  15. Chas   January 25, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I should have known.

  16. Casey   January 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Baseball gods? Matthew, Mark, Luke and Ted?

  17. Anthony   August 26, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Yeah, I like these types of excersices and completely agree with Rolen being worthy, but not getting in. Andruw Jones is like a worse offensive but better overall version of Dale Murphy. If I had to choose active players with a chance I’d pick these: Joe Mauer, Ivan Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, Brian McCann at catcher; Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols, Todd Helton, Jason Giambi, and Mark Teixeira at 1B; Robinson Cano, Chase Utley, and Dustin Pedroia at 2B; Derek Jeter, Miguel Tejada, Jimmy Rollins, and Hanley Ramirez at SS; Alex Rodriguez, Chipper Jones, Scott Rolen, Adrian Beltre, David Wright, and Evan Longoria at 3B; Nobody in LF; Carlos Beltran and Andruw Jones in CF; Vladimir Guerrero and Ichiro Suzuki in RF; Nobody at DH; Roy Halladay, Johan Santana, Tim Lincecum, Felix Hernandez, and Mariano Rivera at P. To explain some of my choices, I’ll first do catchers. Ivan Rodriguez is a mortal lock, and doesn’t require explanation. If Joe Mauer died tomorrow I think the ten year rule would be waved. Mauer is a special player, with over 40 WAR in less than eight seasons. He has a clear-cut Hall-worthy peak as of right now. He’d be in in the Koufax/Joss/Youngs mold. Posada has a strong argument based on being a top-15 offensive catcher ever and not being Yuniesky Betancourt defensively. McCann has a nice beginning and I’m extremely confident he’s the real deal and will make it. I’ll continue after posting this one.

  18. Anthony   August 26, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    At first base, there’s one absolute mortal lock: Pujols. I included Adrian Gonzalez, whose increased exposure in Boston will only strengthen his case after he swatted away at Petco Park previously. He’s currently in the midst of his best season yet, by far (.348/.410/.565, 583 PA, 181 H, 23 HR, 102 RBI, 6.1 WAR) and has a career 140 OPS+ over 4200ish PA. He has a nice prime thus far but is still in his peak. Fielder will have huge power totals the voters won’t ignore. Same with Howard. I don’t think either will truly deserve it. Teixeira has a strong peak argument so far. Roughly 40 WAR, over 300 HR, over 1000 RBI. He should be in with a normal decline, no problem. Helton and Giambi are interesting cases, both built on peak argument. Helton has phenomenal career stats: .323 AVG, .422 OBP, .551 SLG, 137 OPS+, 347 HR, 1307 RBI, 2356 H, 8688 PA, and 60.5 WAR. A Hall-worthy resume once one remembers his monstrous peak from 2000 to 2004- 36.7 WAR, a .349/.450/.643/160 line over 3446 PA, and 37.2 HR/year. Giambi has a great, similar peak, but isn’t as flashy defensive and isn’t as open and close as Helton IMO. He still deserves to be in in my opinion. Second base will come soon

  19. Anthony   August 26, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    I only named three second basemen. I don’t think Brian Roberts has any case, and I don’t like Ian Kinsler’s skill set. A wave of excellent second basemen recently retired in Biggio, Kent, and Alomar, which leaves the three active guys: Chase Utley, who has a Hall-worthy peak and just needs to add padding years; Dustin Pedroia, who I see as someone who ages VERY well, and is in the midst of an MVP-worthy, spectacular season, and Robbie Cano, who has excellent power and is a fine traditional player (Good AVG, great power, poor defense, crappy plate discipline). I see Cano improving those two deficiencies and becoming an all-around star. At shortstop there’s Hanley, who needs no explanation as he just needs a normal decline from here, his first five seasons were THAT good, Jeet (who is a mortal lock), Tejada, who I think is very borderline, and Rollins, who has the MVP, the 20-20-20-20 season, and a lifelong Phillie thing going for him.

  20. Anthony   August 26, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Over at third there’s A-Rod, Chipper, Rolen, Beltre, Wright, and Longo. A-Rod is a lock, enough said. Chipper is too. Rolen has over 65 WAR, 300 HR, 1100 (I think) RBI and is one of the greatest defensive third basemen ever. He’s in. Beltre is a great defender and has some awesome offensive seasons (A 10 WAR season as well) and if he can add to his resume in Texas with another 1000 H (Approaching 3000) he’ll get in. He’s around/over 300 bombs too. Wright and Longoria are projection-based but both have the talent to reach absurd levels of excellence and cruise in and I’m semi-projecting they will.

  21. Anthony   August 27, 2011 at 2:53 am

    In the outfield there’s Beltran, Jones, Guerrero, and Ichiro. Ichiro has the 10 straight 200+ hits seasons, 2200+ hits in his first ten seasons, the great AVG, very good OBP, stellar defense, and cannon arm, along with a few awesome seasons and over 50 WAR before factoring in Japanese peak credit. He’s a lock. Vlad Guerrero was an offensive beast and wasn’t terrible defensively, on the basepaths, or with the arm. He was a five-tool player for a while in his peak, and he has roughly 450 HR and over 1400 RBI to join around 60 WAR and an OPS+ north of 140. He’s in. Beltran is a tough case. Did everything well. Good hitter. Good fielder. Valuable position. Excellent baserunner. Solid peak, okay longevity, around 60 WAR. For me, he’s a lock if he performs as expected in 2012 and 2013. Andruw gets in on his defensive prowess (23 dWAR, 10 GG) and power (400+ HR) but I think he’s deserving (60~ WAR)

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