While I was watching the All-Star game, I was thinking about how many potential Hall of Famers were on both rosters. Now I did not want to get crazy with making outrageous predictions about players who have only been in the league for 2 years so I decided to look at players with at least 5 years of MLB experience. I chose 5 years because Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are two players that I believe could become Hall of Famers and have been in the league for 5 years. So let’s take a look.
- David Ortiz: .286/.380/.552 WAR: 54 525 Home Runs
The 2016 All-Star game was another part of the David Ortiz farewell tour. The announcers were talking about David Ortiz in the same sentence as Derek Jeter and Mario Rivera as ambassadors of the game. If Ortiz would become a Hall of Famer, he would become the first designated hitter to be elected into the Hall of Fame. With Big Papi’s regular season numbers and his clutch performances in the playoffs, Ortiz really should be a lock for the Hall of Fame. His 3 World Series titles and 500+ home runs is a hell of a career. Ortiz’s name has come up with steroids so it will be interesting to see how the voters vote for Ortiz in 5 years.
- Mike Trout: .306/.400/.560 WAR: 43.6 2014 MVP
Mike Trout is one of those once in a generation type of players and it is a shame that he plays on the West Coast. If Trout was on the East Coast, he would be one of the most talked about athletes in professional sports. Trout already has an MVP but what is remarkable is in his other 3 full MLB seasons, he was runner up for MVP. The average WAR of a Center Field Hall of Famer is 71.1 and Trout is already over half of the way there and he is only 24. As long as Mr. Trout can stay healthy, he will be a lock for the Hall of Fame.
- Bryce Harper: .284/.386/.514 WAR:21.7 2015 MVP
Harper’s career is off to a great start and he is still only 23. He was one of those prospects that had outrageous projections and he is actually living up to be a superstar in the big leagues. His MVP last season will not be his last MVP he wins in his career. Trout is a 5 tool player and already has 116 career Home Runs. The average WAR of a Right Field Hall of Famer is 73.2 and Harper is well on his way towards adding his name to the list. Harper will be one of the faces of baseball for the next decade.
- Buster Posey: .309/.374/.483 WAR: 31.6 2012 MVP
In Posey’s first 8 seasons in the big leagues, he is a 3-time World Series champion. Posey is one of those glue guys that seems to hold everything together for a team. He is a fantastic player but he has the intangibles that can turn a good team into a great team. The average WAR of a Hall of Fame catcher is 52.7 and Posey’s career War right now is 31.6. By the time Posey’s career is over, he could be one of the most decorated catchers in MLB history.
- Jose Altuve: .309/.352/.429 WAR: 18.4 949 Hits
The 5’6” second baseman out of Venezuela has turned into one of the best players in all of baseball. Altuve is in his 6th big league season and he seems to get better every season. He has always been one of best average hitters in baseball but he continues to develop power as he is one shy of his career high in home runs at the All-Star break (14). Altuve is only 26 years-old and is only 51 hits shy of 1,000. He is almost a lock for 200+ hits every year and he could be a guy that could chase 3,000 hits towards the end of his career. The average career WAR of a Hall of Fame second baseman is 69.3 and Altuve is almost a third of the way there.
- Miguel Cabrera: .320/.398/.560 WAR: 67 2012-2013 MVP
Miggy could go down as a top 10 right-handed hitter of all-time. He is one of the rare hitters today that can hit for both average and power. In a few seasons, he will try to join both the 500 home run (426) and the 3,000 hit club (2429). His back-to-back MVP seasons were remarkable as he became the first player to hit for the Triple Crown since 1967. The average WAR of a Hall of Fame first baseman is 65.9 and Cabrera has already surpassed that total. Miggy is a lock for Cooperstown.
- Robinson Cano: .308/.356/.497 WAR: 59.7 2129 Hits
At the end of Cano’s career, he could go down as one of the greatest second baseman of all-time. Heading into the break, Cano has 2129 hits and could hit the 3,000 hit mark within the next 5 seasons. Cano did not put up typical Cano-like numbers in his first two seasons in Seattle but has really put together a good first half in the 2016 season. Despite leaving Yankee Stadium where he could have broken records as a second baseman, Cano is only 117 home runs behind Jeff Kent from being the best power-hitting second baseman of all-time. Right now, his WAR would suggest that Cano is already in the Hall of Fame discussion but he has plenty of time to improve his resume.
- Carlos Beltran: .281/.354/.492 WAR: 69.5 411 Home Runs
Beltran’s Hall of Fame case is an interesting one because I could see both cases being made for Beltran. Some fans would make the case that if he doesn’t get 3,000 hits or 500 home runs, he will come up just short. But Beltran was a top 5 outfielder in baseball from 2001-2008. I am not a huge fan of the advanced metrics of baseball but I think Beltran is a case where they really make sense. His WAR puts him in the discussion because his WAR is better than some members in Cooperstown. His JAWS is 56.9, which puts him right around the average of Hall of Fame center fielders. Beltran could continue to play a year or two to improve his Hall of Fame numbers but in my opinion, he deserves a spot in Cooperstown.
- Clayton Kershaw: 125-58, 2.39 ERA WAR: 51.9 2014 MVP
There is no question that Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball and I believe he is the best pitcher we have seen since Pedro Martinez. It seems like every year he gets better and he is still only 28 years-old. His 3 CY awards puts him with some of the all-time greats like Koufax, Maddux, Seaver, and Palmer. Anytime you are mentioned with that company, you are doing something right. The only thing that is missing from Kershaw’s resume is the postseason success. He is 2-6 with a 4.59 ERA in the postseason but I think it is just a matter of time before regular season Kershaw shows up in the playoffs. If Kershaw never pitched again in the big leagues, he would be a Hall of Famer in my book.
- Cole Hamels: 130-93, 3.31 ERA WAR: 47.6 2009 WS MVP
Hamels has had a fantastic career and has been an ace for the majority of his career. He has been a reliable pitcher as he throws 200+ innings almost every season. The case for Hamels to be a future Hall of Famer is the longevity of his success and his WS MVP in 2008. But his highest finish in the CY award was 5th. I believe a Hall of Fame pitcher should have a few years where he dominates and has at least 1 CY award. Hamels is still a really good pitcher and has time to improve his resume.
- Jon Lester 136-83, 3.52 ERA WAR: 37.6 2-time World Series Champion
Lester is in a very similar situation as Hamels. Like Hamels, Lester has been a reliable pitcher who has thrown 200+ innings all but once since he has become a regular starter in the big leagues. His numbers are solid but they are not dominating numbers like a guy like Kershaw. What Lester does have is consistent numbers over a 9 year period and he has postseason success. He played huge role in his second World Series title as he threw 15 innings in the World Series and was 2-0 and only gave up 1 run. Lester will need to put together 4-5 solid seasons to be in the discussion as a Hall of Famer.
- Madison Bumgarner 95-62, 2.93 ERA WAR: 24.3 3-time World Series Champion
Bumgarner is right up there with Clayton Kershaw as the top left-hander in baseball. Bumgarner seems to be getting better each season and heading into the break has a 1.94 ERA in 19 starts. What makes Bumgarner so special is his dominance in the postseason. The Giants win the World Series every two years and he gets a lot of opportunities to shine when the lights shine the brightest. His career numbers in the playoffs are 7-3 with a 2.14 ERA but he went 2-0 with 21 innings pitched and 1 earned run in the 2014 World Series. My only concern with Bumgarner is what will his stuff be like in 5 year? His arm slot is very strange and his velocity is already starting to decline. But right now, Bumgarner’s career is off to a great start.
One of the reasons I love the midsummer classic so much is due to the fact that I get the opportunity to watch the game’s best players on the same field. The 2016 All-Star was a treat to watch with many special players.