There are many players in the MLB that are future Hall of Famers, I think we can all agree on that. Actually, since 1900, there is an average 31 future Hall of Famers playing each year. So am going to take a look at active players in the MLB today that will (or won’t) have a chance at Hall of Fame induction when they are eligible. If they retired in 2016 I am still going to include them. This list is going to be based on career statistics, comparison to other Hall of Fame players, and personal opinion, so without further delay let’s get started.
No Doubt Guaranteed Hall of Famers
These following players already are surefire Hall of Famers and will have no problem getting in. These players should all get in on the first ballot.
Ichiro Suzuki became the first Japanese position player to come to America in 2001 (there were already pitchers from Japan in the MLB). In his rookie season, he not only won the Rookie of the Year, but with his 242 hits, .350 BA, and 56 stolen bases, he also won the MVP Award (the only player to win the ROY and MVP in the same year besides Fred Lynn). As of now, he has 3030 hits in his career which is especially amazing since he came to the US when he was 27. If you include his hits in Japan then he has a career 4308 which is the most hits of any baseball player in history. He has also led baseball in hits in different seven years while breaking George Sisler’s single-season hits record of 257 hits in 2004 with 262 (a record that will stand for a very long time). In addition to that, the 42-year-old shows no signs of retiring so we will have to wait a while until we see a plaque in Cooperstown with Ichiro’s name and face on it.
Pujols has hit 591 career home runs (9th All Time) with 2 MVP Awards and 2 World Series Rings with the Cardinals. Pujols quickly established himself as one of the greatest players in MLB history. Pujols led the NL in WAR for six straight years from 2005 to 2010. Along with that, he has 2825 hits, 1817 RBI, .309 BA, and 101.1 WAR.
Miguel Cabrera is easily the best hitter in baseball right now and has been for years and his beautiful swing will definitely earn him a place in the hall! Miguel Cabrera has won two MVP Awards, 7 Silver Slugger Awards, and a Triple Crown in 2013. Cabrera has a career 2519 hits, 10 All-Star appearances, a .961 OPS, and a .321 BA. Also, Cabrera has a career .399 OBP, 155 OPS +, and a 69.6 WAR. I think I have made my point.
There is only 16 Hall of Famers that played the hot corner and that will definitely change when Beltre’s name appears on the ballot. Beltre is an excellent defensive player, winning 5 Gold Glove Awards and 2 Platinum Glove Awards. Along with being an excellent defensive third baseman, he is also an excellent hitter being one of only 12 players in baseball history to have 2900+ hits (2942), 400+ home runs (445), and 1500+ RBI (1571). His amazing career and his larger than life personality will certainly land a place in the Hall.
David Ortiz AKA Big Papi is easily the most recognizable player on the Red Sox from 2003 to his retirement in 2016. There are two things working against him first he is a DH, and second, he tested positive for steroids before there was punishment (there is no way that he will be kept out because of that). He hit 541 career home runs, with a .286 BA, and 1768 RBI. Also, he compiled a 55.4 WAR in his outstanding and HOF worthy career.
On the Right Track
These following players are superstars now and if they keep the same pace then we will definitely see their faces in bronze in Cooperstown.
I am going to be very clear with you right now…MIKE TROUT IS THE BEST PLAYER IN BASEBALL RIGHT NOW!
Mike Trout is a five-tool player who excels at hitting for average, hitting for power, baserunning skills and speed, throwing ability, and fielding abilities. In his five years in the MLB, he has never finished below 2nd place in the MVP voting and could have arguably won every year.While winning a Rookie of the Year Award, 5 Silver Slugger Awards, and was a part of 5 All-Star Games in which he won two MVP Awards. If we were to rank WAR through age-24 season, the list would go like this according to one article:
1. Ty Cobb, 46.7
2. Mike Trout, 45.8
3. Mickey Mantle, 40.9
4. Alex Rodriguez, 38
5. Ken Griffey Jr., 37
6. Mel Ott, 36.8
7. Rogers Hornsby, 36.1
8. Jimmie Foxx, 36
Pretty impressive right? Well, there is more, he is also the youngest player in MLB history to hit 100 home runs and steal 100 bases. He is also on track to break Barry Bonds home run record* in about 17 years. If you would like to hear more about the excellence of Mike Trout then check out my writing partner Daryll’s article.
Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball right now and there is really no debate. Kershaw in his nine years in the MLB he has been compared to Sandy Koufax countless times due to his 6 All-Star Game appearances, Gold Glove, MVP Award, Triple Crown, and his three Cy Young Awards. There are only seven other guys have won at least three Cy Young Awards, and they’re all either Hall of Famers or Roger Clemens. Kershaw, with his amazing talent, and the stunning ERA of 2.37 in nine years, will be a no-doubt Hall of Fame-elect and you can bet on that!
There are only 17 catchers in the History of baseball that have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but if Poesy keeps doing what he is doing then he will be the 18th. In the eight years he has been in the majors he has been a part of 4 All-Star games, won a Rookie of the Year award, won an MVP in 2012 and won a Gold Glove in 2016. Also, he has won 3 Silver Slugger Awards, caught 3 No-hitters (1 perfect game), and has 3 World Series rings to brag about. The average WAR for MLB catchers is 52 and Posey is at 33.5, so he is going to go well ahead of that since he is still young.
With 100 career wins and a 2.99 ERA after eight years in the majors, Bumgarner is already an extremely strong candidate. He has pitched at least 200 innings in the last six straight years and a .599 Win-Loss percentage to show for it. Also, Bumgarner is one of the most successful Postseason pitchers in history.
In eight years, McCutchen has compiled 1304, 175 home runs, 2175 career total bases, 637 RBI, and a 37.5 WAR. McCutchen had a massive down year in 2016 where his WAR was actually in the negatives. Despite that McCutchen was very consistent from 2009-2015 and if he continues to be consistent then he will have a good shot at the Hall.
Cano has had a great career so far in the last 12 years he has compiled over 2000 hits, 278 home runs, a .853 OPS, and a 62.4 WAR almost twice as much as Bill Mazeroski who has 36.2, more than Red Schoendienst with 42.3, the great Jackie Robinson who had 61.5, and for extra credit Bobby Doerr who had a WAR of 51.2.
Despite being ahead of many All-Time Great second baseman in WAR, he also took a lot of heat in 2015 from Andy Van Slyke for getting him and many others in the Mariners organization fired. This is what he said in the radio interview.
“Robinson Cano was the single worst third-place, everyday player I’ve ever seen — I’ve ever seen for the first half of a baseball season. He couldn’t drive home Miss Daisy if he tried. He couldn’t get a hit when it mattered. He played the worst defense I’ve ever seen at second base. I mean, I’m talking about the worst defensive second baseman ever — I’ve ever seen in 20 years in the big leagues. He couldn’t catch the ball. No, I take that back. Any ball that was hit to him was an out. Any ball that he had a chance to turn a double play, he’s still maybe the best in the game today. He’s got a great arm. But I’m telling you … Robinson Cano cost the GM his job. The hitting coach got fired because of Cano. And the manager and the coaches got fired because of Cano. That’s how much impact he has on the organization. He was the worst player and it cost people their jobs in the process.”
2016 was certainly a bounce-back year for him where he batted .298, with a .882 OPS, and 39 home runs. If Cano can continue having years like 2016 he will have no problem getting to Cooperstown.
Chris Sale was the undisputed ace of the White Sox for 5 years and him now being traded to the Red Sox is going to help his career a lot. Chris Sale is the White Sox all-time leader for strikeouts in a season and has had a very impressive career so far. Sale’s WHIP has never gone higher than 1.15, and he has an ERA of exactly 3.00. He has a record of 74-50 but the reason for all those losses is the lack of run support (that will all change in Boston). He has also compiled 1244 strikeouts in his career leading the league in 2015. If him moving to Boston goes as well as I think it is then he will be a very strong contender in future Hall of Fame elections (after he retires of course).
It’s Possible But Not Likely
These are players that could get in but nothing is carved in stone.
The only way that Yadier Molina will get into the Hall of Fame is if he goes Ozzie Smith Style (gets in because of outstanding defense alone). His offensive stats are nowhere close to HOF worthy. So if Molina gets in, it will be because of his outstanding ability to throw out baserunners and handle pitchers, since he is a superb defensive player at a tough position.
Mark Teixeira is an all-time great defensive first baseman with 104 DRS at first base, 404 HRs, and a 2009 World Series Champion with the Yankees. Teixeira also had a very impressive WAR in his career (51.8). His main problem is that he has tons of great hitters to compete against at the power position of first base but he does have over 400 home runs so we will see.
Giancarlo Stanton is easily the most powerful player in baseball right now, the only thing holding him back is his health since he is incredibly injury prone.
Evan Longoria is a great player but so far his career stats just don’t jump out at me as Hall of Fame numbers. Hopefully, that will change! Longoria is a three-time All-Star, a two-time Gold Glove Award winner, and a one-time silver slugger winner. With 1311 hits, a .271 batting average, 241 home runs, 806 RBI, and a 46.4 WAR. He could get in since the third baseman in the Hall of Fame are underrated and there are only 16, but it is most likely he won’t make the cut.
Beltran’s numbers stack up pretty well against Hall of Fame Center Fielders Andre Dawson and Duke Snider, being an above average hitter and an above average defensive player winning a Rookie of the Year Award, winning three Gold Glove Award, being included in 9 All-Star games, and a WAR of 70.4 (better than Cabrera and Beltre).
Sabathia is the active leader in WAR for pitchers and until 2012 it seemed that he was guaranteed a spot in the Hall but now we are not so sure. Besides his breakout 2007-08 run, he has not been as dominating as he once was. Now, with Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, and Pedro Martinez — plus the best closer the game has ever seen, Mariano Rivera, fresh on voters minds, C.C. will now have the easiest time getting to Cooperstown.
You could say that Gonzalez is kind of “poor man’s Teixeira” with 308 home runs he has about 100 less. He has a respectable .290 BA and just under 2000 hits. He has not and most likely will not get to 500 home runs but he could still compile 3000 hits since he is only 13 years into his career. If he can accomplish that then he is guaranteed a Hall of Fame plaque.
Utley was the anchor of the Phillies for six years and during that time span, Utley batted .298 with a .911 OPS, averaging 27 homers and 95 RBIs. Utley won four Silver Sluggers and three top 10 MVP finishes. Utley also compiled a combined 63.8 WAR that puts him ahead of Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson (61.5) and Joe Gordon (57.1). Is he a Hall of Fame player? I say no but feel free to argue or agree with me in the comments.
The A-Rod Zone
This segment is only for Alex Rodriguez and I am going to tell you why.
Alex Rodriguez has undoubtedly the best career on this list but as we all know he had a little help that got him where he is. With 694 home runs, 3115 hits, and a batting average of .295, he has been one of the most outstanding careers in baseball history. He should be a no-doubt Hall of Famer, right? He is not! Can you guess why? If you said PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) then you are correct. A-Rod was suspended for the entire 2014 season because he tested positive for steroids. So, it is safe to say that Rodriguez will be exiled along with Bonds, Clemens, McGuire, and countless others.
Too Early to Call
These players are rising stars and if they turn out the way we think they will, they are Hall of Fame bound. None of these players have been playing in the MLB for more than two full seasons.
Corey Seager was a rookie in 2016 and has already established himself as one of the best in the game, winning a Rookie of the Year, a Silver Slugger, getting voted into the All-Star Game, and finishing third in the NL MVP Voting. Seager hit 26 home runs with a .308 BA, along with a .877 OPS, a .512 slugging percentage, and a 6.1 WAR…not bad for a rookie. You can find out more about how great Seager was in the article I wrote when Seager won the Rookie of the Year.
2015 was an insane year for rookies and of all the outstanding new talent in the AL Carlos Correa won the ROY. In 2 years of play, he has hit 42 home runs, a .829 OPS, and a 10.1 WAR. It is obviously way too early to predict how well he will do in the next 15-18 years but if he stays consistent with his bat and his glove then he just might be seen in Cooperstown someday.
It is official Bryant’s career is off to a Hall of Fame start. In his first season, in 2015, with tons of new rookie talent especially in the NL, he rained supreme winning the Rookie of the Year Award for the NL and establishing himself as an outstanding player. In 2016 he won the NL MVP and was one first-place vote shy of it being unanimous. In his career, he has hit 65 home runs, 66 doubles, 330 hits, and a WAR of 7.7. Bryant is definitely going to be a superstar for years to come and if he keeps this up he will be a Hall of Fame player some day.
Mookie Betts had a breakout year in 2016 and that could be a sign of things to come. He participated in the 2016 All-Star Game, received a Gold Glove Award, won a Silver Slugger, and finished second in the MVP voting for Mike Trout. He led Baseball in total bases in 2016 and compiled an impressive 9.6 WAR. Mookie Betts is certainly doing well and hopefully, he can continue to produce as well as he did in 2016 for years to come.
Yes, I know I did not analyze the Hall of Fame odds of 31 players, I analyzed 25, but it is an average which means there will be years with more future Hall of Fame players than 31, and years with less. The categories that I put the players in are based on opinion and you can feel free to comment on who I missed and who I put in the wrong category. I really enjoyed making this list and I hope you enjoyed reading it. How many of these players will actually be elected to the Hall? Only time will tell.