Monday, July 25, 2005

Active Hall of Fame Second Basemen

Second Base

There’s quite a dilemma with projecting active second basemen. The dilemma being Jeff Kent. In the previous two position projections (of and c), it seemed like there was a pretty clear line as to who will likely make the HOF and who won’t. I would venture to guess that you could ask 100 baseball fans about Kent getting into the Hall and you’d get 50 to say yes and 50 to say no. I don’t think Kent is a lock by any means, however, I think he’ll have a pretty good case when it’s all said and done.

In: (3)

Locks: (1)

Craig Biggio Bill James has Craig Biggio ranked as the 35th best player in baseball history. I think that’s probably a little high but when James says something, it’s usually more true than not. Biggio has been an outstanding second basemen. He’ll easily reach 3,000 hits. He has over 400 stolen bases. He’ll finish with over 600 doubles. He should finish with close to 1,800 runs. Biggio, along with Raffy, is one of the most unheralded player of the 90’s. The only question here is which ballot he makes it on.

Just need more time: (2)

Jeff Kent The problem with Jeff Kent is that he’s not considered one of the dominant players of his era. He gets about as much publicity for his defense as Bobby Bonilla did. His career OBP is far from overwhelming at .354. Those are the negatives. What Kent has going for him is the fact that he’s the all-time home run leader for second basemen. His OPS is a very respectable .860. He’s probably the best power hitting second basemen in baseball history and he won the 2000 NL MVP award. In addition, there's actually a compelling argument that Kent is not only a decent second basemen, but better than Biggio and Roberto Alomar. Even though Kent’s 38 years old, I think he needs two more productive seasons to cement his status as a HOF. Hall of Fame voters are superficial. It's about numbers and perception. If you fall 10 hits short of 3,000 you might as well have fallen 200 hits short. A .300 batting average means a lot more than .295. As Fred McGriff will find out, 500 home runs are night and day compared to 493. Your numbers need to be good in the right places to get in. Normally, the last two years don’t decide whether or player gets in. Most major leaguers are done by the age of 38. This is a unique situation where the player actually has to keep producing meaningful numbers past 38 to get in. He’s showing no signs of slowing down which leads me to believe he’ll do just enough to get into the Hall.

Alfonso Soriano Unfortunately for Soriano, he didn’t get started as an everyday player until he was 25. That’s usually a deal breaker for the Hall of Fame. Luckily for Soriano, he plays second base. Soriano will finish his career as the best power hitting second basemen in MLB history (supplanting Kent). His defense is atrocious. He’s led all second basemen in errors four seasons running. His OBP is terrible at .322. He’s a yearly lock to finish with more than 120 K’s and less than 40 walks. If Soriano played first base or outfield, I would say he’d have virtually no chance at the Hall. His numbers leave a lot to be desired but his power and speed combination will be enough to get him in.

Not in:

I don't think there are any other second basemen that deserve HOF consideration in MLB today.


Anonymous said...

Good points on Soriano. I'm glad you didn't mention Bret Boone because I heard some Mariner fan ask on ESPN radio whether Boone would be a "first ballot HOFer." That was funny beyond what funny is suppose to be. I took a drink of beer so I'd have something to squirt out my nose. Biggio has really been the 2nd bagger of his time.

Tony said...

Biggio will make the HOF. His ability to produce at Catcher, 2b, and suitable in CF (probably would have been great at CF if he spent his prime there).

I have to agree with Kent. A few more years, and he'll make it. He's actually only 37 (3/7/68), and I'm not trying to splice hairs here, but that year Jake was stealing from him could be the difference. 30 hr, and 100 rbis could make or break Kent.

I don't think Soriano has improved since he made it to the big leagues, but that doesn't mean he isn't putting up numbers. With the HOF based on numbers, his career numbers of 150 hr and 150 sb's, in a little over 4.5 seasons are quite astonishing. I mentioned, when talking about Bobby Abreu and the outfielders, that only 4 players have reached the 300/300 hr/sb club. But, with this only being his 5th full season in the league, we'll see if he holds up to make the Hall.

I must apologize to players like Jose Vidro and Ray Durham. Over the last 10 years, they probably have been consistantly in the upper echelon, but fall considerably! short of HOF standards.

The only other name I can even think of would be Marcus Giles. But at 27 years old, Lil Giles has got a long way to go before he becomes HOF worthy, and will likely have to stay healthy, something he's had a problem with, to even smell the copperstown.

Jake said...

I was giving Kent credit for the last 1/3 of this season. He'll be 38 before next season starts so that shouldn't make too big of a difference but you're right. He's only 37. 37 sounds a lot younger in baseball than 38. That's weird.

Tony said...

The thing I guess that gets me about Kent is, I was thinking his numbers were better than they really are. He has put up some very good years, and it just goes to show that some of those big HOF milestones are there for a reason.

I guess the big thing for Kent is, he looks like he can do this for another 2.333 years, and come close to 400 HR and 1500 RBI. But he'll likely be on the short end of both. So does he have it in him to come back as a 40 year old, still being able to play in the field (even as poorly as he does now) without his average suffering that year. His career average is 290, but a bad year at age 40 would likely drop that. 290 looks alot better than 285, but 400 hr looks a lot better than 399. I think he'll get in.

In all these HOF talks, you keep mentioning the importance of getting into the league early. Kent started when he was like 24 and a half, first full season at 25. Too bad he couldn't have started a bit earlier, and he'd be a lock.


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