There are over 200 MLB players that have been elected into the MLB Hall of Fame located in Cooperstown, New York. Every year, new inductees get voted into the Hall of Fame to have their legacies solidified. Last year, we saw two new hall of fame inductees in Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza. This leads me to some questions. Which current players have already solidified themselves as for-sure hall of famers? Which current MLB players have a shot to make it into Cooperstown? Also, which young studs have the potential to see their names in Cooperstown as well?
Let’s start with the players who are sure to make the hall of fame if they retired today.
1- David Ortiz
David Ortiz has already solidified himself as the greatest designated hitter of all time. With 9 all star appearances, 6 silver slugger awards, 7 Edgar Martínez awards, over 500 home runs, and over 1600 RBI’s, it’s really hard to make a case for why he shouldn’t be elected into the MLB Hall of Fame. His other accomplishments are worthy as well. He is a 3 time World Series champion and a 1 time World Series MVP. Is there really anything else he needs to do?
2- Ichiro Suzuki
Ichiro has quite the story to go along with his illustrious hall of fame career. Coming over to the MLB from Japan at age 27, Ichiro has already done enough to have his name in Cooperstown. He is already on the verge of becoming a member of the 3,000 hits club in the MLB. Remember, he was 27 years old coming into the big leagues. He has a total of 4,000 hits combined between the Japanese league and the MLB. In his first 10 years in the big leagues, he had an insane .331 batting average and an average of 224 hits per season. When you combine his accomplishments with the japanese league, he would have 17 all star appearances and 17 gold gloves. However, we are talking about the MLB here. He is a 10 time all star, a 10 time gold glove award winner, 3 time silver slugger, 2 time batting champion, an MVP in his FIRST season in the MLB and a rookie of the year award. There is no question that he is a future hall of famer.
3- Albert Pujols
Albert Pujols is one of the best all-around hitters the game has ever seen. He has had the ability to hit for contact and power mixed in with great patience. He has a career batting average of .310, 567 home runs, and over 1,700 RBI’s. He has led the St. Louis Cardinals to 2 World Series championships as well. Pujols has 10 all stars appearance and is a 3 time MVP award winner. Although he was known for his incredible hitting ability, Pujols showed some great defense and baserunning ability at times as well. He has also won 2 gold glove awards. We will definitely be seeing his name and picture on a hall of fame plaque in the future.
4- Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera was signed by the Florida Marlins as an amateur free agent in 1999. At only 33 years old, Miguel Cabrera has already done enough to become a hall of famer. He is well known for his incredible offensive ability. He is a career .320 hitter with over 400 home runs and over 1,400 RBI’s. In 2012, Cabrera accomplished a very rare feat. He won the triple crown, which means in the year, he led the MLB in batting average, home runs, and RBI’s. It was the first time a player accomplished the triple crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Miguel Cabrera is a 10 time all star, 2 time MVP, 6 silver slugger awards, and world series champion. Expect Cabrera to become a hall of famer in the future.
Now I’m going to list the players that I believe have a chance to make the hall of fame if they retired today. These players aren’t a for sure thing like the players I mentioned above, but don’t be surprised if they get their name in Cooperstown as well.
1- Adrián Beltré
I was debating for whether Beltré was a guaranteed hall of famer. However, I had to put him on this list. Beltré has always been an underrated player to me. I believe that he has done enough to solidify himself as a hall of famer, but I wouldn’t guarantee it. Beltré might not have the best batting average, but his 400+ home runs, 1,5000 RBI’s, and nearing the 3,000 hits club, should do him just fine. Beltre has also proved that he is indeed an elite defender, as he has a career 26.0 defensive WAR. Adrián Beltré has always had a good WAR throughout his career. He ranks among the all time greats in that category. With 4 all star appearances, 4 gold glove awards, and a 4 silver slugger awards, Beltre should definitely be considered for Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Just make sure to not touch his head.
2- Yadier Molina
Yadier Molina was a tough one for me. Statistically, his offensive stats are far from hall of fame worthy. However, the one trait Molina has that can put him in the hall of fame is his incredible defense. Molina is an 8 time gold glove winner, making it 8 straight years (2008-2015). He is also a 7 time all star and a 2 time World Series champion. Molina has a 20.4 career defensive WAR, putting him 5th all time at his position from a defensive standpoint. Molina has almost 800 career defensive assists and only 60 errors! If his offense was better, he would have been in the list above.
3- Carlos Beltrán
Recently, Carlos Beltrán hit his 400th career home run. This is just another great accomplishment from the 8 time all star. Let’s look at his other accomplishments. He has 3 gold gloves, 2 silver sluggers, and was the 1999 rookie of the year award winner. Many can argue to why Beltrán is a for-sure hall of famer. He is one of the better all around players of all time. Beltrán is also in the 300-300 club. He is only the third center fielder ever to join that club, as he joins Willie Mays and Steve Finley. I believe Beltrán is a hall of famer, but I’m just not sure if he will get enough votes.
4- Robinson Canó
Robinson Canó is 33 years old, but has already accomplished so much in his career. He has over 250 career home runs, over 1,000 RBI’s, and a career batting average of .307. I believe that if he continues his success over the rest of his career, he will get in. Canó has been red hot to start the 2016 season, so it will be interesting to see if he can continue this success. He already has 6 all star appearances and a world series ring. Don’t underestimate his defensive ability as well. He has won 2 gold gloves due to his consistency at 2nd base and his limited amount of errors.
5- Alex Rodriguez (won’t get in unless they make changes to the rules)
Here is the issue with Alex Rodriguez. If he never took steroids, Rodriguez would be EASILY a hall of famer, no doubt about it. He has over 3,000 hits, almost 700 home runs, and over 2,000 RBI’s. The rules to make the MLB hall of fame are definitely debatable, because Alex Rodriguez probably will not make it. Guys like Barry Bonds, Pete Rose, and Sammy Sosa can not make the hall of fame due to breaking the rules despite their incredible careers. If they ever change these rules, expect Alex Rodriguez to be in Cooperstown.
Here is the list of young players who I believe will become hall of famers if they continue their success and injuries don’t take a toll on their careers.
1- Clayton Kershaw (Can arguably be put in the list above)
2- Chris Sale
3- Mike Trout
4- Bryce Harper
5- Buster Posey
6- Félix Hernández
7- Andrew Mccutchen
9- Paul Goldschmidt