Power Ranking Top 20 Current MLB Players' Chances at HOF

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2012

Power Ranking Top 20 Current MLB Players' Chances at HOF

0 of 20

    What follows are my odds on each of the MLB's top 20 players making the Hall of Fame when their career comes to a close.

    This is not a list of the 20 players I think have the best chance at earning enshrinement, but the 20 best players in the game today.

    Here is a look at how I rank the top 20 players in baseball right now:

    1. Miguel Cabrera
    2. Justin Verlander
    3. Clayton Kershaw
    4. Ryan Braun
    5. Felix Hernandez
    6. Robinson Cano
    7. Buster Posey
    8. Joey Votto
    9. Josh Hamilton
    10. Stephen Strasburg
    11. Andrew McCutchen
    12. Yadier Molina
    13. David Price
    14. Matt Cain
    15. Mike Trout
    16. Adrian Beltre
    17. Jered Weaver
    18. Albert Pujols 
    19. Giancarlo Stanton
    20. R.A. Dickey

    Let the debate begin on how each of these players will stack up once they finally hang up their spikes.

SP R.A. Dickey

1 of 20

    Career Stats (10 seasons)

    61-56, 3.98 ERA, 105 ERA+, 1.326 WHIP, 739 Ks, 1,059.1 IP.

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    A journeyman who struggled to find success during his first nine years in the league, Dickey reinvented himself as a knuckleball pitcher and thrived upon joining the Mets in 2010.

    He took that success to another level last year with one of the greatest single seasons by a knuckleball pitcher ever, going 20-6 with 2.73 ERA, 230 Ks, 233.2 IP and winning NL Cy Young honors. On the flip side, he'll be 38 years old this coming season and can expect some sort of decline.

    A great story for sure, but no chance at the Hall.

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame

    Zero percent.

LF Josh Hamilton

2 of 20

    Career Stats (six seasons)

    .304/.363/.549, 161 HR, 553 RBI, 471 R.

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    Hamilton's comeback story is among the best in baseball history, and he has been a dominant offensive force for the Rangers despite battling injuries.

    However, at the end of the day, he did not start his big league career until the age of 26 and likely won't play long enough to even approach Hall of Fame-caliber numbers.

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame

    10 percent.

CF Mike Trout

3 of 20

    Career Stats (two seasons)

    .306/.379/.532, 35 HR, 99 RBI, 149 R, 53 SB.

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    With just one season under his belt (and 40 games in 2011), Trout doesn't have much of a track record to lean on at this point.

    However, he's coming off arguably the greatest rookie season in baseball history and will play the bulk of the 2013 season at just 21 years old. Obviously, it's way too early to say he's a future Hall of Famer, and he may well see some regression in his sophomore campaign, but it's really hard not to get excited about what lies ahead for Trout.

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame 

    25 percent (and that'll go up dramatically if he can avoid a sophomore slump).

C Yadier Molina

4 of 20

    Career Stats (nine seasons)

    .279/.336/.394, 1,022 H, 77 HR, 466 RBI, 343 R.

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    An elite defensive catcher early on in his career, Molina has taken his offensive game to the next level with a .310 BA, 18 HR, 70 RBI average line over the past two seasons.

    At 30, it may be too little too late for him to reach the type of career offensive numbers he'll need to be enshrined. However, his five straight Gold Gloves and career 45-percent caught-stealing marks may help offset that lack of offensive production.

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame

    25 percent.

SP Stephen Strasburg

5 of 20

    Career Stats (three seasons)

    21-10, 2.94 ERA, 135 ERA+, 1.090 WHIP, 313 Ks, 251.1 IP.

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    Strasburg looked every bit the part of a once-in-a-generation arm when he made his debut in 2010, going 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 68 innings of work over 12 starts.

    However, he wound up needing Tommy John surgery and missed the majority of the 2011 season. The team was careful with him last season, shutting him down after 159.1 innings, but he was phenomenal over 28 starts and should be turned loose this coming season.

    If he can avoid further injury, he could emerge as the game's best pitcher by next season and string together a line of dominant seasons.

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame

    30 percent.

1B Joey Votto

6 of 20

    Career Stats (six seasons)

    .316/.415/.553, 133 HR, 457 RBI, 428 R.

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    With the departure of Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols to the American League last offseason, Votto is now the best first baseman in the National League, and if he can avoid injury, he should be in the running for MVP for the next several seasons.

    He's led the NL in OBP each of the past three seasons, and his .968 career OPS is the 15th-best mark in baseball history right now. However, being a first baseman, he'll need to put up significant offensive numbers to be enshrined, and at 29, he has his work cut out for him.

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame

    30 percent.

SP Matt Cain

7 of 20

    Career Stats (eight seasons)

    85-78, 3.27 ERA, 124 ERA+, 1.173 WHIP, 1,278 Ks, 1,536.2 IP.

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    Cain joined the Giants rotation full-time at the age of 21, and he went 28-42 with a 3.85 ERA over his first three seasons in the league.

    In the four years since, he's gone 55-35 with a 2.93 ERA and has emerged as the ace of a great Giants staff and one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. His 2012 season was highlighted by a perfect game, a All-Star game start and a career-high 16 wins.

    He'll be just 28 next season and is just hitting his stride as a front-line starter.

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame

    40 percent.

CF Andrew McCutchen

8 of 20

    Career Stats (four seasons)

    .290/.374/.484, 82 HR, 295 RBI, 362 R, 98 SB.

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    McCutchen has gotten better each season since coming into the league, and despite an down second half that saw him hit .289 BA, 13 HR and 36 RBI, he finished the 2012 season with a .327 BA, 31 HR, 96 RBI line.

    If he can string together two good halves, he's a legitimate MVP candidate, and he's a true five-tool talent who is capable of huge numbers down the road as he's still just 26 years old. 

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame

    40 percent.

SP David Price

9 of 20

    Career Stats (five seasons)

    61-31, 3.16 ERA, 124 ERA+, 1.173 WHIP, 725 Ks, 786.1 IP.

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    The No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft, Price moved quickly and served as the Rays closer for their 2008 World Series run before joining their rotation the following season.

    After a rocky first season as a starter, he's gone 51-24 over the past three seasons, and he won the AL Cy Young this past season with a 20-5, 2.56 ERA, 205 Ks line. He'll be 27 next season, so he'll need to continue to string together top-flight seasons to have a chance, but it's not out of the question that he puts together a Hall of Fame-caliber resume.

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame

    45 percent.

RF Giancarlo Stanton

10 of 20

    Career Stats (three years)

    .270/.350/.553, 93 HR, 232 RBI, 199 R.

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    At this point, Stanton's Hall of Fame case is made more on potential than production, but it's certainly fun to extrapolate the 93 home runs he's hit by the age of 22 to where he could be at when he's 40.

    He's got as much raw power as anyone in the game, and he's improved his average from .259 two years ago to .290 last season. He has legitimate 50 home-run power, and as long as he doesn't get hurt, he has as good a chance as anyone at reaching 500-plus home runs.

    That said, there's still a long way to go and a lot to take into account, so it's best not to enshrine him just yet.

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame

    55 percent.

3B Adrian Beltre

11 of 20

    Career Stats (15 seasons)

    .280/.331/.476, 2,227 H, 346 HR, 1,215 RBI, 1,089 R.

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    A big leaguer at the age of 19, Beltre landed a big contract with the Mariners following a monster 2004 season in which he hit .334 with 48 HR and 121 RBI. He was unable to duplicate those numbers in the years to come, though, as he averaged a line of .266 BA, 21 HR, 79 RBI in his five seasons in Seattle.

    In the past three seasons, though, he's picked up his production, as he's been named to the All-Star team each season and averaged a .314 BA with 32 HR and 103 RBI. A four-time Gold Glove winner as well, Beltre's entire body of work will likely rank him as one of the most productive third basemen of all time when he retires, and that may earn him a spot in the Hall.

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame

    55 percent.

SP Jered Weaver

12 of 20

    Career Stats (seven seasons)

    102-52, 3.24 ERA, 128 ERA+, 1.144 WHIP, 1,119 Ks, 1,320.1 IP

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    With top-five finishes in Cy Young voting in each of the past three seasons, it's safe to say that Weaver has joined the ranks of the game's elite. 

    He's won 38 games with a 2.59 ERA over the past two seasons alone, and with a great team surrounding him, a contract that runs though 2016 and what is already an impressive career record, he has a better chance than some people might think.

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame

    60 percent.

2B Robinson Cano

13 of 20

    Career Stats (eight seasons)

    .308/.351/.503, 1,459 H, 177 HR, 715 RBI, 718 R.

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    With the decline of some of the Yankees' aging superstars, Cano has emerged as the team's offensive leader, and over the past three seasons, he has an average line of .311 BA, 30 HR, 107 RBI with a .909 OPS.

    He'll be 30 this coming season and is playing for his next contract, and if he can retire with something like 2,500 hits and 1,250 RBI, he'd rank among the best offensive second basemen of all time.

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame

    60 percent.

SP Felix Hernandez

14 of 20

    Career Stats (eight seasons)

    98-76, 3.22 ERA, 127 ERA+, 1.212 WHIP, 1,487 Ks, 1,620.1 IP.

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    A regular member of the Mariners rotation by the age of 20, Hernandez has managed to rack up 98 wins despite playing for a less-than-stellar Mariners franchise.

    In this era where stats like ERA+ and WAR hold more bearing than wins, Hernandez will be the perfect case of whether a player with terrific advanced statistics but a comparatively low win total can earn enshrinement.

    Given his durability and the fact that he is still only 26, and with the Mariners headed in the right direction, things look good moving forward.

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame

    70 percent.

C Buster Posey

15 of 20

    Career Stats (four seasons)

    .314/.380/.503, 350 H, 46 HR, 191 RBI, 154 R.

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    Posey made an immediate impact upon joining the Giants lineup in 2010, as he led the team to a World Series title and captured Rookie of the Year honors.

    After a broken leg ended his 2011 season after just 45 games, he bounced back in a big way in 2012 with a .336 BA, 24 HR, 103 RBI line that saw him win NL MVP, the NL batting title and his second World Series ring.

    He's got a long way to go, but he's off to as good a start to a career as any catcher in baseball history.

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame

    70 percent.

SP Clayton Kershaw

16 of 20

    Career Stats (five seasons)

    61-37, 2.79 ERA, 138 ERA+, 1.137 WHIP, 974 Ks, 944 IP

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    At 24, Kershaw is already one of the best pitchers in all of baseball, and the fact that he could get better is a scary proposition. He's won back-to-back ERA titles and took home the pitching Triple Crown in 2011.

    With an improving Dodgers team around him, Kershaw should be able to put up top-flight numbers for the next decade, and he is in a good position to pass the 200-win threshold, which may well be the new 300 wins in today's game.

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame

    70 percent.

LF Ryan Braun

17 of 20

    Career Stats (six seasons)

    .313/.374/.568, 1,089 H, 202 HR, 643 RBI, 614 R, 126 SB.

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    One of the most dynamic all-around offensive players in all of baseball, Braun has posted back-to-back 30/30 seasons, and at 29 years old, he's still in the prime of his career.

    The controversy surrounding his 2011 NL MVP award could be held against him by the voters, but from a numbers standpoint, it's hard to imagine Braun won't end his career with Hall of Fame credentials.

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame

    75 percent.

SP Justin Verlander

18 of 20

    Career Stats (eight seasons)

    124-65, 3.40 ERA, 128 ERA+, 1.173 WHIP, 1,454 Ks, 1,553.2 IP.

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    In his seven full big league seasons, Verlander has won at least 17 games six times as he has led the league in wins twice, ERA once and strikeouts three times already in his career.

    One gauge of whether a player is Hall of Fame caliber is asking whether or not he was the dominant player at his position at any time, and over the past two years, Verlander has been the runaway choice as the best pitcher in baseball following his MVP season of 2011.

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame

    80 percent.

3B Miguel Cabrera

19 of 20

    Career Stats (10 seasons)

    .318/.395/.561, 1,802 H, 321 HR, 1,123 RBI, 961 R.

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    Long one of the best hitters in baseball, Cabrera reached his peak last season in becoming baseball's first Triple Crown winner since 1967.

    He'll be 30 this coming season, and he has proven incredibly durable throughout his career by playing in at least 150 games each season since becoming a starter. He could conceivably play another 10 years and is well on track to make a run at all of the significant milestones the voters look for.

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame

    95 percent.

1B Albert Pujols

20 of 20

    Career Stats (12 seasons)

    .325/.414/.608, 2,246 H, 475 HR, 1,434 RBI, 1,376 R.

     

    Hall of Fame Case

    Pujols has not quite been his usual dominant self the past two seasons, but he remains among the best players in baseball. And even with a terrible start to last season, he finished with a .285 BA, 30 HR and 105 RBI, showing he has plenty left.

    He'll likely surpass the 500 home-run plateau this coming season, and at 32, he has plenty of time left to make a run up the all-time record lists. 

     

    Odds He Makes Hall of Fame

    99.9 percent