As more Hall of Fame ballots get released, Major League Baseball and its fans await the next class joining the fraternity of MLB greats.
While it’s relevant, I figured it’d be a bit of fun to look at every team in the league and determine which active player on each team is the most likely to get inducted into the Hall of Fame –– as well as elaborate on why each player was selected.
This series will be composed in six parts, one per division.
Disclaimer: I’m not predicting this based on which hat they’ll put on their plaque. It’s simply based on which team they are on to start the 2020 season.
This series will begin with the American League East.
New York Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton – OF
This one seems like an obvious pick, but honestly, it wasn’t. Stanton was in his seventh season when Aaron Judge debuted, but he’s only three years older than the Yankees’ biggest star.
Based on injuries alone, because the contract is long enough in length to question whether he’ll retire before Judge or not, I decided that Stanton is the most likely to call it a career first. Therefore, he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame first.
In 10 MLB seasons, Stanton has a .381 wOBA, a 142 wRC+, and a 5.1 fWAR/150. On top of that, Stanton will very likely exceed the 550 home run mark, 500 doubles, and 2,000 hits. While there is a chance he could go in as a Marlin, he is on the Yankees 2020 roster –– just to reiterate the point I made earlier.
Tampa Bay Rays: Blake Snell – LHP
It’s so hard to look at the Rays and foresee anybody being a Hall of Famer on their current roster. The unfortunate thing for a team like Tampa Bay is that any superstar they have will likely end up pricing themselves out of that small market.
However, Blake Snell definitely has the best chance of anybody on the roster.
Snell only has 506 innings under his belt at the MLB level, and those innings have teetered between sheer brilliance and borderline pedestrian, but he does have a Cy Young award and an ERA title to his credit on top of a career ERA+ of 129 and a FIP- of 81. He did struggle with health and execution issues in 2019, but the Rays have a budding ace at the top of their rotation with the left-hander.
Boston Red Sox: Chris Sale – LHP
I was very close to going with David Price here, but he only strikes me as a borderline Hall of Famer at this point in his career; whereas Chris Sale is about as close to a sure-thing as you can get without being on the ballot.
Sale has struggled with health issues over the past two seasons but still has a 30.8 percent strikeout rate (second all-time among starters), 45.3 wins above replacement (4.6 rWAR/32 appearances), as well as a pitcher’s slash line of 3.03/2.90/2.91.
He also is the fastest pitcher to reach 2,000 strikeouts, and will likely see that total eclipse the 3,000-mark when all is said and done.
Toronto Blue Jays: Cavan Biggio – 2B
It’s not the most popular pick from this roster, but hear me out. Biggio didn’t have a stellar rookie season by any means, slashing just .234/.364/.429 with a .345 xwOBA and a 114 wRC+. However, his 16.5 percent walk-rate was ranked tied for fourth in the league (min. 400 plate appearances).
If there’s one thing that ages well in baseball, it’s plate discipline. Not that it’s fair to assume Biggio will maintain a 16.5 percent walk rate for his career, but if he can hover around there, he will have a long career.
On top of that, Biggio ranked fourth among second basemen with seven outs above average (OAA).
I know Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette are both better players right now, but I truly believe Biggio can perform at a higher level than them on both sides of the ball.
Baltimore Orioles: Adley Rutschman – C
The Baltimore Orioles don’t really have much going for them as far as major league talent is concerned. While John Means was an All-Star and Trey Mancini was phenomenal as well, neither of them has a remotely compelling case to this point.
So why not cherry-pick a little bit and roll with the organization’s top prospect, who also happens to be MLB.com’s No. 6 overall prospect in all of the minor leagues?
Rutschman is a tough guy to project. He’s a switch-hitting catcher that possesses decent power from both sides, but he’s only had 155 plate appearances in his professional career.
It’s more par for the course with how the Baltimore Orioles are constructed, that a guy who hasn’t even played in High-A ball is being dubbed as their most likely active player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.