The 2019 HOF class has been decided. The results, from both the BBWAA and the Veterans Committee, have had me thinking about what could be in store for the Brewers. Is there a HOF player on the team? And if so, who is it? While it is great to sit back and dream about the possibilities and potential of Christian Yelich, Josh Hader or even Corbin Burnes, it is far too early in their careers to do anything besides fantasize about their candidacy. This leaves me left with one player who might have any reasonable shot (reasonable might be an overstatement) of being inducted, Ryan Braun.
I might as well address the elephant in the room from the onset. Will anyone with any close association with PED’s ever get in? Based on this year’s voting, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens’ induction is appearing increasingly slim. These were arguably two of the best players to ever play the game and neither has ever come out and directly admitted their use of such drugs. Ryan Braun, on the other hand, has not only been tied to PED use, has lied about his use, through his lies called another man’s integrity into question, was then forced to admit his use and lies, and ultimately accepted a 65-game suspension. If we can, let’s put this issue aside and look at his numbers.
Braun will be entering his 13th major league season, during which he will turn 35. If he were to retire today, he would hold his own in many offensive categories compared to other position players. Out of the 232 former MLB players in the HOF, the below shows how Braun stacks up in the following categories:
- Hits – 113thwith 1,802
- HR’s – 46thwith 322
- Doubles – 103rdwith 370
- OBP – 113thwith .361
- Slugging % – 25thwith .535
- OPS – 38thwith .896
- rWAR – 127thwith 46.4
Interestingly, there are only two categories where Braun seems to clearly fall short; Wins Above Replacement and Hits. In all other categories, there are many famous names that rank below Braun (I took into consideration players that lost years due to their involvement in the military during WWI and WWII and did not include them in the following sentences). Braun has hit more home runs than George Brett, Edgar Martinez, and Craig Biggio. Braun has more doubles that Duke Snider, Eddie Matthews, and Mickey Mantle. Braun’s OPS has him ranked higher than Wade Boggs, Kirby Puckett, Eddie Matthews, and Harmon Killebrew.
Yes, I am cherry picking statistics here due to the fact that Braun’s career is not over. What if we took an educated guess at how many more seasons Braun plays in and what statistics he puts up that time? Due to Braun’s history with injuries I am going to assume he will play through his age 38 season. This gives him four more seasons to add to his numbers. To be as conservative as possible I am going to average all of Braun’s existing numbers per season and multiply by 75% to take into account the fact that he is entering the twilight of his career.
His numbers now look much more like a member of the HOF.
- Hits – 100thwith 2,252
- Doubles – 57thwith 462
- HR’s – 32ndwith 403
These updated numbers place him in an elite category of power hitters. He has hit more home runs than elite hitters like Al Kaline, Yogi Berra, Robin Yount, and over 100 other players. Braun has knocked more doubles than elite players like Jim Thome, Kirby Puckett, Jimmie Foxx, and Enos Slaughter.
While these numbers would not make him a first ballot inductee, they are good enough for him to garner serious consideration by the BBWAA before his 10 years of eligibility would be up. That is, of course, if he did not have the PED issue. Until Braun becomes eligible for induction, it will be very interesting to see what happens with Bonds, Clemens, A-Rod, and the other elite players who have been associated with PED use. If these elite players are ultimately voted, in Braun stands a very good chance of being the Brewers next HOF inductee.
Featured Image: ESPN.com