Two years ago I took on the task of identifying active Major League Baseball players who appear to be headed for the Hall of Fame. You can read those projections from 2005 along with a brief description of what factors I used to make those projections if you want a refresher. I’ll be using the same parameters this time around so please check out the ’05 link for any clarifications and to see how I viewed things two years ago.
In 2005, I projected 37 active players—25 or older—to make the Hall of Fame. My preliminary findings this time around suggest that number will be considerably higher if you can believe it. I don’t want to get carried away by projecting too many players into the HOF but I do think we are in the midst of a rare situation as baseball fans. There are at least 21 active players 35 or older who appear to be headed for Cooperstown. That means that in the next 3-5 years, MLB will be losing a monumental collection of talent. This is an extraordinary time to be a baseball fan. Twenty years from now, our children will look back to this time and talk about how lucky we were to witness such a vast collection of historically significant players.
I have changed my mind on a few careers over the last two years. The most notable involve Johan Santana and David Ortiz. Santana is a virtual lock at this point which is saying something considering he has only pitched full-time as a starter for four seasons. Ortiz still has a lot of work to do but he is on his way barring a Mo Vaughn/Albert Belle-type career-ending injury. I have not, however, changed my mind on Johnny Damon or Omar Vizquel’s chances.
I’ll be going position by position starting with catcher. I'll probably be doing one position each week. As always, feel free to agree or disagree.
Here are the categories that I will be using to breakdown the candidates and a brief description of each category: The “Lock” and “Likely” categories will be counted as being projected into the Hall of Fame. There won’t be too many “Borderline” candidates but I’ll decide those projections on a case by case basis. I will not count players under 25 regardless of my opinion but I’ll identify players under 25 who seem to be off to excellent starts.
Lock: Barring steroid scandal, will be a Hall of Famer
Likely: Player is on the path based on career progression
Borderline: Pretty close to 50/50
Not Likely: Almost no chance; would take an unexpected resurgence
Under 25: Players that have a good start to a potential HOF career