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What Current Players Should Make The Hall of Fame?

Albert Pujols

He was already a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, but by slugging his 499th and 500th home runs last night, Albert Pujols is pretty much guaranteed induction on the first ballot. Which current players who have already logged at least half of their careers should join Prince Albert in Cooperstown?

Locks as of today:
Derek Jeter: 3300-plus hits. Five championships. 13 all-star appearances. No doubt first balloter, even if the Yankees should have found another position for him about five years ago.

Ichiro Suzuki: We think his offensive skills are a tad overrated. Especially since his lifetime on-base percentage is lower than Adam Dunn’s.  Still, he’s closing in on 2800 hits for his MLB career despite spending his first nine seasons in Japan and debuting in the US at age 27. Add his stellar defense and role as an Asian pioneer and he’s probably in on the first ballot.

Keep doing what they are doing:
Miguel Cabrera: For some reason, Detroit decided to pay the rotund 31-year-old for nine more seasons. If Cabrera’s worth the money for half of that ridiculous contract — and we’re betting he will be — he’s in.

Robinson Cano: Similar deal to Cabrera; if he’s worth it for the first half of his absurd ten-year deal he’s Hall-bound. We’re not necessarily betting on this one happening.

Could go either way:
Joe Mauer: A couple years ago Mauer would be firmly in the “keep doing what they’re doing camp.” However, now that the Twins have moved him off of the catcher position he’s going to need to start hitting for some power to go along with his .322 career batting average. Or reach 3000 hits, but that’s going to be difficult for a player who’s still short of 1500 at age 31.

David Ortiz: The 38-year-old’s resume is getting close to being complete, so his induction is going to have a lot to do with how voters feel about a full-time DH. His big-market fame and five-top five MVP finishes bolster his case. We’d give him the thumbs down.

David Ortiz

Prince Fielder: We stuck him here because he’s closing in on 300 home runs and is still just 29. The problem is his body type and his already declining numbers. Fielder is contracted to spend the next six years in the wind tunnel that is Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. That gives him a fighting chance of reversing the trend and putting up some serious career power stats.

Alex Rodriguez: This has entirely to do with how voters treat the steroid era. It’s not out of the question that cheats like A-Rod, Bonds and Clemens will eventually get in.

Sabermetric superstars:
Chase Utley: As a top-five all-time second baseman by most advanced per-game statistics, we suspect Utley will eventually be enshrined because Hall voters will eventually embrace sabermetrics. If a finally-healthy Utley can continue to play like he has so far in 2014 for the next few years he could receive the Robbie Alomar treatment and get in sooner rather than later.

Adrian Beltre: While it’s his defensive prowess that drives his gaudy WAR total of 71  — 90th all-time and climbing fast — he might also be able to get in on his traditional counting stats. The 35-year-old third baseman is a lock for 400 homers and should surpass 2500 hits this year. Make way for who will be one of the more obscure Hall of Famers.

Carlos Beltran: Beltran will come up short on traditional counting stats.  However, his 68.3 career WAR is already Hall-worthy, and the 36-year-old still has a few years to push that total past Hall of Fame contemporaries like Barry Larkin (70.2) and Frank Thomas (73.7.)

What about the pitchers?
Oddly, there are no current pitchers who jump out as having a clear Hall path. Felix Hernandez, a ten-year vet at 28, has a nice early resume but still a very long way to go. If Hall voters stray further and further away from the old 300 win benchmark maybe Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia are in play. However, neither are spring chickens and they both still have a lot of work to do.
Cliff Lee

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