With the steroid era finally over, a large portion of yesterday’s most dominant players will most likely never see the Hall of Fame, due to steroid use and allegations. Yet several players today, in a more pitching-dominant era, are putting up careers that may get a close look when judgment time arrives. Therefore, I’ll take a look at current players that should be Hall of Famers, others that will end their career coming up short, and a few younger players that could be Hall of Fame caliber with good health and consistency throughout their careers.
Derek Jeter-New York Yankees
The most obvious inclusion on a list like this. Derek Jeter will go down as one of the greatest hitters of all time, and has a case to even be the best Yankee of all time. The shortstop has dominated from the very beginning of his career, and has been a generational talent for the New York Yankees. The right-handed contact hitter has amassed 3,383 career hits, a .312/.380/.444 triple slash, and a career 72.3 WAR. He also has posted eight 200+ hit seasons, leading the AL in hits twice. Not to mention, he’s been a part of five World Series champion teams, and has also played in seven total World Series. Jeter has done it all in his career. A class act, the modern day icon of the Yankees, and perhaps an icon of baseball. The game of baseball will greatly miss the legend that is Derek Sanderson Jeter.
Ichiro Suzuki-New York Yankees
Imagine if he didn’t start his MLB career at 27. Ichiro will go down as one of the best baseball players of all time, and is the greatest Japanese player to play the game. Ichiro came out of the gate posting 10 straight seasons of 200+ hits, including his historic 2004 season, where he set the single season hits record with 262. Ichiro sits at 2,781 hits at the age of 40 right now, and will continue to pursue the automatic ticket of 3,000 hits. But with over 4,000 hits in professional baseball, Ichiro doesn’t need 3,000 in MLB to make it to Cooperstown. Not to mention, the former Mariners icon won 10 Gold Glove awards, and was noted as one of the game’s best defensive outfielders as well. The left-handed hitting prodigy will soon bid farewell to his MLB career, but he will forever be remembered.
Adrian Beltre-Texas Rangers
He’s been in the big leagues since his teen years, and he never stopped dominating. While Beltre is only a 3-time All-Star selection, his career numbers suggest that he had been a perennial snub. Beltre possesses the rare combination of hitting for both average and power, maintaining a career .283 average while having hit 384 career home runs. Beltre has also posted 1,214 runs and 2,495 hits, and has driven in a staggering 1,342 runs. Just turning 35, the star still has some time left to boost up the quantitative stats, and make himself perhaps the greatest player nobody noticed. It may seem strange to think of it, but with the career he has had, Adrian Beltre appears as one of the game’s most consistent and dominant players of the past generation.
Miguel Cabrera-Detroit Tigers
To think he’s only 31 years old is the craziest part about the insane career of Miguel Cabrera. At a still relatively young age, Cabrera has captured two AL MVP awards, a Triple Crown, eight All-Star selections, and five Silver Slugger awards. Along with these accolades, his quantitative and advanced statistics prove Cabrera has been an untouchable. Miggy has already put up 1,103 runs, 2,078 hits, 377 home runs and 1,316 RBI. Cabrera, shall he stay healthy, has another 10 years or so to make those numbers inflate even more. He’s been worth 56.8 WAR already, and can also boost that up to an even higher level.
Albert Pujols-Los Angeles Angels
The big power hitter of the generation, Pujols has been consistently one of the most dominant players of this generation, being a hitter for both power and average, and blowing away opposing pitchers year after year. The long time St. Louis Cardinal is already up to 508 home runs and 1,540 RBI at the age of 34, giving him plenty of time to improve further. A career .319/.406/.594 triple slash with an unheard of 1.001 career OPS is obvious grounds for enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. Pujols also has 2,418 hits, giving him a chance at breaking 3,000 at some point in his career. Pujols will forever be remembered as one of the most feared hitters of all time, and the right hander that nobody wanted to face for years.
Hall of “Very Good”
The following players will all be in the Hall of Fame conversation, but will mostly be borderline players who will be remembered as being “very good” throughout the majority of their careers. Some of these players have a fair shot at making it in to the Hall after a while, yet most of them will probably not reach Cooperstown.
Jimmy Rollins-Philadelphia Phillies
Cliff Lee-Philadelphia Phillies
Chase Utley-Philadelphia Phillies
David Wright-New York Mets
Adam Wainwright-St. Louis Cardinals
Yadier Molina-St. Louis Cardinals
Matt Holliday-St. Louis Cardinals
Justin Morneau-Colorado Rockies
Tim Hudson-San Francisco Giants
Josh Beckett-Los Angeles Dodgers
Adrian Gonzalez-Los Angeles Dodgers
Carlos Beltran-New York Yankees
CC Sabathia-New York Yankees
Dustin Pedroia-Boston Red Sox
Mark Buehrle-Toronto Blue Jays
Paul Konerko-Chicago White Sox
Adam Dunn-Chicago White Sox
Joe Mauer-Minnesota Twins
Torii Hunter-Detroit Tigers
Justin Verlander-Detroit Tigers
Robinson Cano-Seattle Mariners
Young Players with Potential
The following are players that are too young to make a determination on, but can put up Hall of Fame caliber years with good health and consistent play.
Giancarlo Stanton-Miami Marlins
Andrew McCutchen-Pittsburgh Pirates
Starlin Castro-Chicago Cubs
Clayton Kershaw-Los Angeles Dodgers
David Price-Tampa Bay Rays
Mike Trout-Los Angeles Angels
Felix Hernandez-Seattle Mariners