Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Active Hall of Fame Third basemen

Third Base

Projecting which elite third basemen will eventually end up in Cooperstown is a tough task to say the least. Besides catcher, there are less third baseman in the Hall of Fame than any other position. Only four third basemen that have started their careers after 1965 have made the Hall of Fame (Schmidt, Brett, Boggs, and Molitor). However, from 1982-1986, all four of these players (as well as Tony Perez) were playing at the same time . I believe that there are four active players that deserve heavy consideration for the Hall of Fame. History has shown that there have been few very good third basemen. The best third basemen that aren't in the Hall of Fame are Ron Santo, Darrell Evans, Stan Hack, Ken Boyer and Craig Nettles. I believe that the three active players in question are considerably better than any of those third basemen and better than half of the third basemen that are actually in the Hall of Fame.

It's important to remember a few things about third basemen. 1). It should be remembered that third basemen don't put up the same kind of power numbers as outfielders and first basemen. 2). There isn't an abundance of good third basemen in the majors right now, nor has there been over the last thirty years. 3) Aside from catching, it's the hardest defensive position on the field. An excellent fielding third basemen gets a significant amount of credit especially when it's combined with above average offensive ability. Those three factors are the primary reasons why I think the elite two-way third basemen in the game today will make the HOF.


In:(4)


Locks:(1)

Alex Rodriguez I only have one thing to say about Arod. There’s a very good possibility that Arod could end up being the all-time leader in many categories He has a very good shot at being the all-time leader in home runs, rbi’s, and runs. Clearly, he has to play quite a few more seasons but he’s on track.


Just need more time:(3)

Chipper Jones Chipper Jones will make the Hall of Fame. He’s been the most consistent third basemen over the last ten years. He won the National League MVP award in 1999. His string of eight straight 100 rbi seasons ended last year only because he missed 25 games due to injury. Still, he finished with 96. His career batting average is .302. His OPS is .935 which is far and away the best of active third basemen. Arod plays third base now but the majority of his career has been at ss. His OBP is .400. At 33, he’s four seasons a way from having a resume that reads 400 home runs, 1,500 runs, 1,500 rbi and 2,400 hits.

Scott Rolen If Rolen’s going to get in, it’ll be because of his defense. He has six Gold Glove awards and has been the best defense third basemen since he came into the league. Don’t get me wrong about Rolen’s offense. He’s an excellent hitter. His OPS is .890 which is considerably better than Chavez and Glaus. His streak of four straight 100 rbi seasons will end this year only because of an injury. As of now, Rolen is on the cusp. However, he’s only 32 years old. He benefits from breaking into the majors at 21. I think he’ll play long enough to get his career numbers to a respectable place. With his defense being so superior to his contemporaries, I think 1,200 runs, 1,200 rbi and 350 home runs will get him in.

Eric Chavez Chavez is 27 years old and has won four golden glove awards. He’s one of the premier defensive players in MLB today. In addition, Chavez is the clean-up hitter for the A’s. His offensive numbers are quite impressive. He already has three 100 rbi seasons and would’ve had a fourth last season but he missed close to 40 games with an injury. His offensive numbers are par for the course for Hall of Fame third basemen. He’s one of the best offense/defense combinations in baseball. If it came down to choosing between Chavez and Rolen, I would probably give Chavez the better chance. However, I think both will make it.


Not in:

Troy Glaus Three years ago, Glaus was building a powerful resume. He led the American League in home runs in 2000 with 47. He had three straight 100 rbi seasons before the age of 26. That was all before Glaus started picking up injuries by the dozen. His career batting average is .252. His overall numbers won’t be good enough after missing most of two seasons in his prime. His OPS is slightly higher than Chavez’ but Chavez has him beat on defense and offensive consistency.

2 comments:

Lombaowski said...

I wish some of Chavez's magic would have rubbed off on his buddy Eric Munson. Chavez is incredible part Scott Rolen, part Troy Glaus, more Brett than Schmidt and consistent. Too bad the A's couldn't have kept Tejeda and Giambi because that would have been a fun team to watch win 130 games.

Rolen is in because he is the best fielding 3B-man since Brooks Robinson and he has a good bat. I would compare Rolen to Ozzie Smith without the fanfare, and with a better comparative corner/middle infielder bat. Follow me? If Rolen stays healthy he'll win ten gold gloves and really could hit one more home run and still get in. Plus, another time I cross this bridge; the guy will play in the playoffs allot and that can only raise his stock. Rolen is a lock.

What no Scott Spezio?

Tony said...

ARod. Nothing else needed to be said.

Chipper has something neither Rolen or Chavez has, and that's a career average over 300. Defense isn't at the level of some of the others, but more than acceptable, in the end, he should make it.

Rolen and Chavez are very similar. Chavez is a few years younger, and if you project out his stats, you basically are looking at Rolen's numbers. They both broke into the league at around the same age, and boast great fielding numbers. Chavez seems to have a slightly better ability to avoid injuries, and injuries are probably all that would keep either out of the Hall. Rolen actually seems a bit ahead of Chavez in every category, and may end up with better numbers thanks to a better supporting cast. If you project both of them out to the age of 33 (Chippers age) you might as well be looking at Jones's numbers.

Beltre looked like he may have turned the corner last year, but went back to whatever shell he was in before last years monster 334-48-121 and 200 hit season. He is only 26 but needs to regain last years form to have any chance, but having his first full year at the age of 20 could allow him to have enough years in the bigs to find himself near the top of many categories.

Over the last 3 years, the fielding percentage of Chavez, Rolen, and Beltre is: Chavez 967, Rolen 972, Beltre 968. I don't think he's considered up there with those guys, and they both may or have kept Beltre from winning gold gloves, but he has solid defense.

It's probably to early to right the book on guys like David Wright, and maybe even for Blalock, but it's hard to not look at Hank here...He's only 24, and by the end of the year he could have 100 career home runs, with 300 rbi's and 300 runs in 3 full seasons, and an average over around 280 (Rolen career avg is 284, Chavez's 276). The others are in their prime and it shows in obp and ops, though Hank's a few years away (general prime age is 27-30) and should continue improving. Add in his defense, which is close to the other three with a 964 over the last 3 years, including a stellar 982 this year, and he's on his way. 3 years a HOF career do not make, so he has his work cut out.

ARod, Chavez, Rolen, Chipper, Blalock, all playing at the same time, and could surpass that mid 80s group, especially in power.

Wheres the love for Vinny Castilla? He's the best Mexican player ever with a 278 avg, 309 hr, over 1000 rbis! I do kid here. 238 of his 309 hr (77%) came while being a Rockie, while only 63% of his games were as a Rockie. I don't know the exact breakdown of Coors on his numbers, but Castilla (as well as DANTE BICHETTE) are clear examples of the power of Coors.

At least he's headed to Coopersvillio!

 

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