Future Hall of Famers - American League Edition
This morning I started wondering how many future Hall of Famers we may be watching in 2007. So I decided to take a peak at the rosters and here's what I came up with (note: I'm only talking about guys who are at least 3/4 of the way down the path - no Ryan Howards or other young guns need apply right now):
Baltimore: Miguel Tejada - potentially but I think he will be hurt by being implicated as a steroids guy by both Jose Canseco and Raphael Palmeiro. I'm going to say no to Tejada having a good shot at the HoF.
Boston: Manny Ramirez - first ballot. David Ortiz - needs a few more MVP type seasons. Curt Schilling? I think if Schilling gets to a combined 30 wins the next two seasons then he's a lock.
New York: Alex Rodriguez - first ballot. Derek Jeter - first ballot. Mariano Rivera - first ballot. Mike Mussina - questionable. The fact that he's never won 20-games in a season or a Cy Young award will probably keep him out.
Toronto: Frank Thomas - he's only 13 HR from 500 and when he reaches that mark he'll join Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Jimmy Foxx, Ted Williams, and Mel Ott as the only players with both 500 HR and a batting average over .300 (Thomas could go 0 for his first 100 AB in 2007 and still be over .300 for his career). Roy Halladay - he's a great pitcher but he'll be 30 this year and he's not even at 100 wins yet (plus he's too injury prone).
Chicago: Jim Thome - he'll probably finish in the top 25 in HR and the top 75 in RBI but I don't think that will be enough. Thome never even finished higher than 4th place in MVP voting. Nice guy but so was Andre Dawson.
Detroit: Ivan Rodriguez - maybe not first ballot because of steroid rumors but he gets in because people will argue that steroids did not help his defense (12 Gold Gloves). Gary Sheffield - could be another guy with 500 HR who does not get elected. I would put money on Sheffield NOT getting enough HoF votes to make it to Cooperstown.
Minnesota: Johan Santana - only 28 this season but so far he's been Pedroesque. He's got a .716 career winning percentage and two Cy Young Awards already.
Los Angeles: Vlade Guererro - he's agreat player but I don't hink his back will let him amass the numbrs needed for election. He's going to be 31 this season but he only has 338 career HR and only 1,052 career RBI. His career .325 batting average may make up for some of that shortfall but he needs probably 5 more seasons with 30 HR and 100 RBI.
Oakland: Mike Piazza - first ballot.
Seattle: Ichiro Suzuki makes and interesting case. He'll be 33 this season and has only been in the league for 6 seasons but when he plays - you can't keep your eyes off him. He may well be the best conditioned player in MLB too - so I think Ichiro amasses enough numbers to get voted in. For my money - he gets my vote today.
So in total - in the American League I think we are looking at 7 locks for the Hall of Fame (Manny, A-Rod, Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Frank Thomas, Mike Piazza and I-Rod) and probably three more players who will get in (Schilling, Santana and Ichiro).