Everyone loves a good Baseball Hall of Fame debate. Who should get in, what standards (both on & off the field) should be held, etc.
This year we’re inducting a class that includes controversial selection in Harold Baines, whom some (myself included) say should lower the barrier to entry in the Hall. Same with past selections like Jack Morris, Trevor Hoffman, etc. Nothing against those guys as players, but their inclusion should be a starting point for the case of a lot of players.
Here are my bets for the most likely future HOF on each AL franchise. Check back next week for NL.
Statistics via Baseball Reference. All current stats as of 5/10/19
New York Yankees – CC Sabathia (HOF Chances: Lock)
CC easily flies into the Hall in my opinion, especially passing the Jack Morris barrier. He just became the third lefty to join the 3,000 K club, won a Cy Young, turned in an incredible half-season for the Brewers in 2008, and is regarded as an excellent clubhouse guy. Should get a plaque very soon.
Boston Red Sox – Dustin Pedroia (HOF Chances: Somewhat Likely)
As it stands, Pedroia looks like he’s going to end his 14-year career with 51.7 WAR, which doesn’t make him a lock by any means. However, he won a ROY, MVP, and was generally beloved while playing for one of baseball’s most popular franchises. He’s a guy who might take all 10 years, but could sneak in.
Baltimore Orioles – Grayson Rodriguez (HOF Chances: ?)
Rodriguez is 19 years old and having an excellent first professional season for Low-A Delmarva. That about sums up the Orioles.
Toronto Blue Jays - Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (HOF Chances: Too Early To Tell)
Vlad Jr. might be the most hyped prospect debut since Bryce Harper with potential to be an offensive force for years. But, he’s played less than fifteen big league games, so don’t put him on a plaque just yet.
Tampa Bay Rays – Wander Franco (HOF Chances: ?)
Not a knock on the 1st place Tampa Bay Rays, but there’s not a lot on the roster that screams future HOF. This could change at the end of the year if both Glasnow and Meadows’ breakouts last a full year and seem legit, but right now I’ll point to the guy who might end this year as baseball’s top prospect.
Cleveland Indians – Francisco Lindor (HOF Chances: Strong, but Early)
The 25-year old Lindor has almost already out-WAR’d his age (24.1). He’s an offensive weapon with both power & speed, all while playing plus defense at SS. If he continues at this rate for even another 5-7 years & potentially adds an MVP (or at least a couple more top-5 finishes) he’ll slide into the Hall easily when his time comes.
Minnesota Twins – Byron Buxton (Long Way To Go)
Stop looking at me like I’m crazy. Not many guys turn in a 5+ WAR season at age-23 (with most of the production coming in one half of the season). Buxton still has a long haul, but has shown that he can reach HOF value. He’s gotta stay healthy and hit well enough to let his star defense carry him to the Hall. Hell, it’s not inconceivable that he ends up better than Harold Baines.
Kansas City Royals - #2 Pick in the 2019 MLB Draft (HOF Chances: ?)
Bobby Witt Jr.? Andrew Vaughn? Someone else? Good luck on the start of a potential HOF career to the pick, who becomes the Royals most likely HOF member.
Detroit Tigers – Miguel Cabrera (HOF Chances: Lock)
They should just induct him tomorrow. One of the best hitters of all-time.
Chicago White Sox – Tim Anderson (HOF Chances: Too Early To Tell)
Get back to me at the end of this year, but right now the 25-year-old’s early breakout makes him look like he could be a superstar for the next decade. He’s already been inducted into the bat-flip HOF, but if he continues being a power/speed threat as a SS, he could make his way to the big hall one day.
Los Angeles Angels - Mike Trout/Albert Pujols (HOF Chances: Lock)
Both of these guys could retire today and be inducted. One should’ve retired two years ago (Pujols) and one might still spend the next ten years being the best player in baseball.
Houston Astros – Justin Verlander (HOF Chances: Lock)
One of the greatest RHP of his generation, both a Cy Young winner & an MVP. Easy pick.
Oakland Athletics – Matt Chapman (HOF Chances: Too Early To Tell)
Over the last season and a half, Matt Chapman has been a star, both with the bat & especially with the glove. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he’s already 26 with a lot of WAR & career accolades that he needs to build up before age eventually takes its toll.
Texas Rangers – Joey Gallo (HOF Chances: Strong, but Early)
Before you yell at me for this one, let me tell you two things. Joey Gallo has elite on-base skills (a .414 OBP in 2019) and out of this world power. No player with 500 home runs (without suspected PED use) has been left out of the HOF. Gallo ending his career with 500+ and a quality OBP isn’t unlikely, and could get him in.
Seattle Mariners – Felix Hernandez (HOF Chances: Likely Getting In)
King Felix may not be first ballot, as voters might look at the fact that his career as an above-average starter essentially ended when he was 29. However, if we’re in the business of rewarding people with HOF selections for longevity, we should be rewarding elite peaks as well. Hernandez packed nearly 50-WAR into his first ten big league seasons, won a Cy Young, and was a workhorse ace for the M’s. I’d rather see a guy who was at the pinnacle of his profession for a short while than a guy who was pretty good for a long while. Think of him a bit like Koufax.
By Kyle Bandujo