Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Thoughts on the Hall - Hitter's Edition

The other day, I looked at several starting pitchers and today I am going to focus on several hitters currently playing and two others that may or may not be active since they aren't on a team or are on the inactive list (Bagwell, Sosa, Palmeiro). I went over to Baseball-Reference.com and looked at the active leaders in batting average, hits, and home runs. Since that website has not been updated in terms of this years stats so far, I had to edit the stats on Excel. Let's get down to business.

Ichiro Suzuki - In just 5 and a half seasons, Suzuki has a career .333 average. In his short MLB career, he has over 1,000 hits. He's only 33 so age will probably factor in to when he retires. If he retires with over 3,000 hits, he'll likely be elected and become the first Japanese player to enter the HOF.

Todd Helton - Helton is a likely candidate for the HOF. He has a .333 average in his career. Going into today, he has over 1600 hits. His age does help a little since he's 33. He has power as well when he hits and has accumulated well over 200 career home runs. Playing at Coors helps that with the thin air. I think Todd Helton is in. In six more seasons, he'll be 40 years old and we've seen that some guys still have it at 40. He'll get 3,000 hits in his career. He's been to five all-star games and won three gold gloves.

Albert Pujols - Pujols is one of the best young players out there. He's the first to hit 30 home runs in his first six seasons as a major league ballplayer. Pujols reached his 1,000th hit at a pace equal to Todd Helton. His career average is .331 and he's likely to finish up with probably 800 or so home runs to become the new home run king. Pujols has 234 home runs, including 33 this season. He's been to six all-star games and took home a ROY and MVP award. El Homebre is signed with the Cards for at least another five or six seasons. At only 26 years old, he is listed along all the Cardinal greats, and well on his way to the Hall of Fame assuming injury does not plague his career.

Vladimir Guerrero - Vlady or Spider-Man. In less than 11 full seasons, Vlady has hit 326 home runs. At this pace, he will enter the Hall of Fame as a member of the 500 home run club. Vlady has seen 6 all-star games so far and has taken home the 2004 AL MVP award. He should have well over 2,000, if not 2,500 hits by the time he enters the HOF. I just don't think he'll get to 3,000 hits. He's batting .323 in his career.

Nomar Garciaparra - Nomar has been plagued by injuries in his career but he's batting .320 nonetheless. He needs three more hits to be officially halfway to 3,000 as he's sitting on 1,497 right now. Nomar was the 1997 ROY in the AL and has seen six all-star games. If he keeps it up and doesn't get injured for the next ten or so seasons, Nomar will join baseball immortality. Like Helton, he's also 33.

Derek Jeter - It's no coincidence that his jersey is a single digit. Most of the Yankee greats have a jersey number lower than ten. Jeter is just over 32 years old so I figure he has at least another eight seasons left in him. At that rate of 200 hits or so a season, I see Jeter getting to 3,000 in the next five seasons, if not six. He's not a power hitter but he career batting average is .316. The four World Series rings help a little as well as the six all-star selections. He'll get elected on his first ballot.

Manny Ramirez - Ramirez is practically a lock right now for the HOF. He's got 464 home runs and 2,034 hits (.314 career AVG). His attitude when it comes to all-star selections may not work in his favor but Manny is in the HOF every way that I look at it despite not playing in a bulk of the nine all-star selections if any. When he came up, he was only 21, and is now in his 14th season. Even if he doesn't get 3,000 hits before retirement, the 500 home runs that he will hit will get him enshrined.

Mike Piazza - Piazza has become one of the greatest catchers ever to play the game. At one point, there was talk to move him to another position to extend his career. But with over 2,000 hits and 400 home runs, Piazza will be elected on his first ballot.

Magglio Ordonez - Another young player who has batted a career .305 average so far. He's 33 with almost 1,400 hits. I don't see him getting elected to the HOF if ever. He's not a power hitter even though he's been to a few all-star games.

Alex Rodriguez - A-Rod is also one of the greats to ever play the game. He'll join the 700 home run and 3,000 hit club eventually. He just reached his 2,000th hit two weeks ago. Age helps him as he's only 31 years old. This is his 13th season and despite all those errors, he's still producing. A 2-time MVP and 6-time all-star selection, A-Rod will get in on his first ballot.

Frank Thomas - The Big Hurt has over 2,000 hits. That may not help but he's inching closer to 500 home runs which will. The 2-time MVP will get in on his first ballot.

Chipper Jones - I like Chipper a lot but I don't like his chances of getting elected to the HOF. He has almost 2,000 hits but his career has been injury plagued. He's still young and remember, he went straight out of high school. I'd say if he keeps hitting like he used to over the next five seasons, he may get elected. His power numbers are up there but not as high as they need to be to ensure a lock.

Ivan Rodriguez - His power numbers aren't as high at Piazza's but his hitting numbers are (.304 avg). He's played 16 seasons so far. If Piazza gets in, so does Pudge.

Lance Berkman - He's 30 years old so time is on his side. He's not that great of a power hitter averaging 32 home runs a season. That average needs to be higher and close to 40. Hitting-wise, he's batting .303 in less than eight full seasons. If he starts raising the power numbers or can get to 3,000 hits, he'll get in but I don't see it happening on the first ballot.

Bobby Abreu - His power numbers have been down since the 2005 all-star home run derby but I love his chances despite now playing for the Yankees. He has over 1,500 career hits in just less than 11 seasons. He may not reach 500 home runs but he will reach 3,000 career hits and elected on his first ballot.

Mark Loretta - He's 35 years old and has a career .301 batting average through almost 12 seasons. I don't think he'll get elected. If he does, it won't be his first ballot and it might not been until the Veteran's Committee does their voting. Yes, he's almost at 1,500 hits but it will take 9 more seasons to get 3,000 at his pace.

Moises Alou - Early on in his career, I would have said yes to voting him in but his numbers are on the decline and he's in his 15th season right now. He has yet to reach 2,000 hits and has barely hit over 300 home runs.

Jason Kendall - For a catcher, he's hitting great with .300 through less than 11 seasons. He's got over 1600 hits. Catchers need at minimum 2,000 career hits to be considered for the HOF due to the wear and tear that they suffer behind the plate. It's on the bubble for Jason Kendall.

Julio Franco - He's one of the oldest players in the game right now and doesn't play daily like he used to. He's hit over 2500 hits, and is 450 short of 3,000. He's likely to get elected by the Veteran's Cmte.

Kenny Lofton - Lofton is one of the speediest guys out there and has over 2,000 hits. However, he is in his 16th season right now and he's not getting any younger. He's what I consider on the bubble.

Barry Bonds - Bonds is teh most controversial of all active players in the steroids era. He hasn't admitted what people have: He used steroids. I'll say it right now, if you elect Bonds, you have to elect McGwire--and I am a McGwire fan. The media has this entire love fest with Barry Bonds that I don't understand. ESPN have him his own show which was pulled due to low ratings. Bonds will never hit 750 home runs in his career--and if he does, pigs will fly. He's on the decline and is close to 2,800 career hits. I wouldn't vote for him if I were a member of the BBWAA. How many of his home runs were while he was on steroids? He may have seven MVPS and eight gold gloves but he's not getting elected until McGwire gets in. I'm not saying this because I hate Barry Bonds but it's the fact. ESPN may not accept it but Barry Bonds is a cheater. If Bonds gets elected and McGwire does not, there is some major in-justice by the Hall of Fame voters.

Bernie Williams - In his 16th season, he's batting a career .297 with just over 2,303 hits. He's on the bubble but will likely retire before reaching 3,000 hits.

Brian Giles - He's 35 but given that he's played 12 seasons so far, I just don't think he'll get elected even though he's almost halfway to 3,000 hits.

Garrett Anderson - He's 34, batting .297 for his career, and just passed the 2,000 hit plateau this season. I say that he's on the bubble unless he can touch 3,000 hits.

Rafael Palmeiro - It's questionable because, so far, he's the biggest name that's actually been punished for steroid use. He's got over 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. Even though those are locks for election to the hall, he was suspended for steroid use which led to his retirement/free agency at the end of the 2005 season. It's gonna be up to the writers as to whether he gets in but knowing what I know, I wouldn't vote for him today.

Craig Biggio - He's the only active player close to 3,000 hits. To me, he's definitely going to be elected on the first ballot. He's been to several all-star games and won a few gold glove awards. I love his chances of getting elected to the HOF.

Steve Finley - He's hit over 2,500 in his career but he's over 40 years old. In terms of the game, time may not be on his side. Five gold gloves might help in his defense but it's unlikely he gets in on the first ballot, if at all.

Omar Vizquel - The same case with Finley except he just passed the 2,400 mark this season. However, he has 10 gold glove awards which help tremendously. I say if he gets 2,500 hits in his career, he's definitely in. Regardless, he should be elected on the first ballot.

Gary Sheffield - He's missed a lot of games this season but he's got over 450 home runs in his career. All it takes for Shef is to hit 47 more home runs to enter the 500 home run club. He's almost 40 so age won't exactly help him and this is his 19th season right now. He'll be elected on his first ballot.

Ken Griffey, Jr. - I think it's safe to say with his batting over 550 home runs, he'll definitely be enshrined on the first ballot. However, he'd have more home runs and hits if his career wasn't plagued by so many injuries.

Luis Gonzalez - He's 38 years old which isn't exactly helpful. However, he has over 2300 hits and has 326 home runs. To me, he's on the bubble.

Jeff Bagwell - Bags has been one of my all-time favorites that I would elect to the Hall of Fame. He's not yet 40 but he has only played in 15 seasons. For some reason or another, the Astros have not played him at all this year. I would vote him in even if he doesn't touch 500 home runs (He's 51 home runs away). I would like to see him get 500 career home runs because this is not the way that he should go out. If he's not in on the first ballot, he'll get in on the second one.

Sammy Sosa - He's a lock with over 500 home runs. I would vote him in on that alone on the first ballot.

Juan Gonzalez - He falls well short of 500 home runs or 3,000 hits. he only saw action once last season and has yet to play in the MLB this season.

Benito Santiago - For a catcher with 1,830 hits, he's on the bubble. He has three gold gloves and went to 5 all-star games in a career spanning 20 seasons.

Jim Thome - I like the chances for Thome. He has 463 career home runs in just 16 seasons. He'll get elected on his first ballot.

Carlos Delgado - He's 33 years old and was converted from a catcher to a first-baseman/DH. In his 14 seasons, he's hit almost 400 home runs. I have reason to believe that he'll hit his 500th in the next three seasons and guarantee a lock for his election on the first ballot when he retires.

Jim Edmonds - Edmonds is one of my favorites and that was before he joined my beloved Cardinals. I think he will enter the Hall of Fame on before his fifth ballot on the basis of his defensive skills alone even though he's inching closer to 400 home runs. Yes, he's been on the decline and he's in his 14th season but I feel that he deserves election to the HOF. He has eight gold gloves and if that's not enough, I don't know what is.

Jason Giambi - It's questionable since he's admitted to using steroids so I don't know if he'll ever get elected. His power numbers could get him in but it's up to the writers. Defensively, he has several gold gloves, too.

Andrew Jones - He's under 30 which means time is on his side. With 326 home runs so far, I think he'll get elected to the HOF as a member of the 500 home run club. His defense is great with eight gold gloves to his belt. Both of those play a big factor in his eventual election on what should be the first ballot. His batting average could hurt but I don't think it will too much.

Shawn Green - Green is a power hitter who hits for average. He's 33 so he may have at least seven more quality seasons. What he has going for him is his home run production. It's been in decline since the 99-02 seasons but if he puts out 30-40 a season, he'll get elected to the HOF with 500 home runs.

Reggie Sanders - Reggie is on the bubble mainly because he's in teh 300/300 club for home runs/stolen bases. He's in his 16th season and will be 39 at the start of 2007's season.

David Ortiz - Just look and what he's doing now! Ortiz only has 214 career home runs in ten seasons but I have reason to believe that he'll reach 500 in his career. He'll get elected on the first ballot.

Scott Rolen - Rolen is almost halfway to 3,000 hits. His defense, with six gold gloves, helps but the past two seasons have been injury plagued. He's only 31 so age will play a big factor. He's played 11 seasons so far and I think he may get in as a member of both the 3,000 hit and 500 home run club. It's definitely possible. He's been to 5 consecutive all-star games and was the 1997 NL ROY.

David Eckstein - It's a possibility given that in less than six full seasons that he has just less than 1,000 career hits.

Joe Mauer - Mauer is a possibility as well if he gets converted to another position and keeps hitting the way he is.

Alfonso Soriano - In 6 full seasons (8 if you include the end of the season call-ups), Soriano has over 1,000 hits and close to 200 career home runs. He turned 30 this year so he needs to keep up his power numbers.

Miguel Tejada - Currently, Tejada is on pace to break Cal Ripken, Jr.'s record sometime in 2016. Time is on his side as he just turned 30 this year. He's in his tenth season right now and if he keeps his numbers up, he'll get inducted on the first ballot with over 3,000 hits and close to 500 home runs. Right now, he's over halfway to 3,000. Additionally, Tejada was the 2002 AL MVP and has been to a few all-star games.

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