Sunday, July 29, 2007

Annual Hall of Fame Speculation.

With the enshrinement today of Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. in the baseball Hall of Fame comes the urge to forecast into the future and guess which current MLB players will eventually join them. So, allow me to be presumptuous enough to do just that. I've tried to be as complete as possible, breaking down the players into three categories (ignoring the ones who will never, ever have any chance of making it).

For the moment, I'm going to ignore all the steroid speculation. With the state of public opinion on the issue changing every year, it's too hard to get a fix on what the BBWA voters will think of any particular player a few years down the road.

The Automatics
These guys have already done all they need to do to deserve to be in the Hall. Right now, they're just playing out the last few years of their careers:
Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Tom Glavine, Ken Griffey Jr., Trevor Hoffman, Randy Johnson, Jeff Kent, Greg Maddux, Mike Piazza, Mariano Rivera, John Smoltz, Sammy Sosa, Frank Thomas

The Next Wave
Project their current level of production out just a few more years and (barring catastrophic injury or meteor strike or anything like that), they too will be among the Automatics:
Carlos Delgado, Vladimir Guerrero, Roy Halladay, Todd Helton, Derek Jeter, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Pudge Rodriguez, Johann Santana, Gary Sheffield, Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki, Jim Thome

The Wannabes
Sure, they're among the best of their era, but they just don't have enough to push them over the hump and should remain stuck in Steve Garvey-ville (or, Jim Kaat-ville if they're pitchers):
Garret Anderson, Carlos Beltran, Johnny Damon, J.D. Drew, Adam Dunn, Jim Edmonds, Julio Franco, Eric Gagne, Nomar Garciaparra, Troy Glaus, Luis Gonzalez, Torii Hunter, Kenny Lofton, Magglio Ordonez, Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettite, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Omar Vizquel, Billy Wagner, David Wells, Carlos Zambrano, Barry Zito

The Young Guns
Could these youngsters eventually make it? Only time will tell. If they're still producing in 10 years like they are now, look for them in the one of the above three categories:
Erik Bedard, Lance Berkman, Miguel Cabrera, Carl Crawford, Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy, Matt Holliday, Ryan Howard, Scott Kazmir, Russell Martin, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jake Peavy, Brad Penny, J.J. Putz, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, C.C. Sabathia, Ben Sheets, Grady Sizemore, Mark Texiera, Chase Utley, Justin Verlander, Brandon Webb, Dontrelle Willis, David Wright, Chris Young (the pitcher), Ryan Zimmerman

That's a lot of names. And yet, I have the feeling there's someone I'm missing...

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