It’s Hall of Fame season once again, a time period that takes over baseball fans unlike any other sport. That’s in a regular offseason, think about how much it’s been talked about during a lockout offseason. Since there isn’t much else to talk about, we’ll continue to bleed the topic dry!
Players like Correa, Bryant etc. who are still free agents weren’t considered for this list and neither were recently retired players like one Buster Posey. So, without further ado, each team’s player who is most likely to end up in Cooperstown someday.
Braves: Ronald Acuña Jr. (60%)
This would be a different conversation if Freddie Freeman weren’t still a free agent. Beyond Freddie, this was a pretty easy decision.
Marlins: Trevor Rogers (5%)
The Marlins have a whack of young talent, and not a ton of veterans. This makes them one of the harder teams to project. Of all their young pitchers, it would seem Rogers has the early foot forward to the Hall of Fame. Being a finalist for ROY doesn’t hurt.
Mets: Max Scherzer (100%)
No-brainer. deGrom is obviously a worthy candidate although voters may see his peak as too short, so he isn’t the lock that Scherzer is. Lindor is also in the conversation behind their two big name pitchers.
Nationals: Juan Soto (60%)
This one was close. Strasburg is the more established player and has a World Series MVP on his mantle. However, due to injury I would put his chances around 50/50. Strasburg is a Hall of Fame talent, but moving forward Soto is the better choice. His skillset already has him well on his way to Cooperstown.
Phillies: Bryce Harper (85%)
85% might even be too low, an MVP award with two different teams is no easy feat. However, I would expect voters to want Harper to stay healthy into his 30s to create a full resumé. Realmuto is another underrated candidate.
Brewers: Christian Yelich (20%)
The Brewers were a little difficult for the established team that they are. They have a few worthy candidates, but all are likely going to have had their peaks going too late/too short to make it. Yelich included in that, Woodruff and Burnes as well. All elite players for periods of time but unlikely to have a full body of work.
Cardinals: Yadier Molina (100%)
At first thought I pondered a tough decision between Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, two players who right now probably have similar odds to make the Hall. Completely slipping my mind was Yadi, who while I personally would NOT say 100% deserves to be a Hall of Famer, will absolutely be first ballot with the boomers voting.
Cubs: Willson Contreras (2.5%)
This question would’ve been real interesting at this time last year when the 2016 core was still together. Now? It was between Contreras and Stroman, neither of which have any realistic hopes of making it to Cooperstown.
Pirates: Ke’Bryan Hayes (5%)
5% might be a little high for a player with 491 PAs by the age of 24, but the talent is there. Whether Hayes will consistently be able to put together 4-5 win seasons is to be determined, yet the possibility of it is very real.
Reds: Joey Votto (100%)
As easy as decision as there was in the NL. Votto is a slam dunk HOFer as one of the best first basemen of the last 20 years. Jonathan India certainly got the ball rolling with his 2021, and following that trajectory probably already puts him at 10% or so.
Diamondbacks: Madison Bumgarner (50%)
Honestly, 50% might even be high. His regular season stats were better than I expected, but is still going to have his best chance at induction because of his postseasons. Feels like a long shot. Zac Gallen and Ketel Marte have a chance but those seem unlikely.
Dodgers: Mookie Betts (95%)
I thought about putting Mookie at 100%, but I think his health is the one minor thing that could hold him back. He has the MVP and multiple rings which should do it. However, a strong showing into his 30s will solidify a likely HOF lock.
Giants: Evan Longoria (55%)
Depending on who you ask, Longoria’s odds might be above or below 55%. I think this a fair assessment though, he’ll need a Beltré-esque twilight part of his career if he wants to make it. For a team that won 100+ games last season it was surprisingly difficult to find a better candidate. The two Brandons have an outside shot too.
Padres: Manny Machado (70%)
When researching I was flabbergasted to see Machado has 45 rWAR and he isn’t even 30. His odds feel pretty high to me, even higher than another worthy candidate in Tatís. Even though he has no business getting in, I bet Hosmer gets some love too.
Rockies: Zac Veen (1%)
At first I felt really bad about this. It’s kind of mean. On second thought though, who has a better chance? Blackmon and Márquez are both decent players but in all likelihood won’t even come close to making it in. Beyond that, the current roster is bleak of talent. So why not the team’s top prospect? His HOF chances are genuinely probably the highest.
Blue Jays: Vlad Guerrero Jr. (25%)
Another percentage that I’m sure could be argued either way. After a slow start, Vlad’s career has skyrocketed. Even as a first baseman/DH his offensive profile projects at a Hall of Fame level. They also don’t have another player who is even worth having a conversation about.
Orioles: Adley Rutschman (1%)
See above @ Colorado Rockies. In all reality, this is the same scenario. The Orioles don’t have anyone on the current roster with even an outside chance at making the Hall of Fame. Not even Cedric Mullins, coming off his best season. He’s 27 with under 5 career fWAR.
Rays: Wander Franco (7.5%)
A few choices here, but the clear one is the star in the making in Wander Franco. After watching him demolish my Red Sox all season long, I can already see him being a headache for the next 15 years. Arozarena probably debuted a little too late and it’s yet to be seen if Tyler Glasnow can stay healthy. Within 2-3 years Franco could easily increase his chances over 50%.
Red Sox: Chris Sale (80%)
Another close one, with multiple younger players having a good chance. Bogaerts will need a strong career into his 30s to merit consideration, and Devers feels like he could put himself in a good position but it’s not quite as likely as Chris Sale at the current moment. Some people may say Sale is a lock, others may say he won’t make it due to health. I feel like his prolonged peak from 2012-2018 mixed with a couple other solid seasons, will get him to Cooperstown.
Yankees: Gerrit Cole (75%)
The Yankees best player was a rookie at age 25, which’ll make it tough for Aaron Judge to make the Hall of Fame someday. Giancarlo Stanton is an underrated star, but between being a DH and struggling to stay healthy, who knows what his case will be when it’s all said and done. Leaving ace Gerrit Cole as the obvious choice.
Guardians: José Ramírez (65%)
Personally, I think José Ramírez is inching closer to being 100% than maybe one would think to admit. He’s been a top 3 third basemen for half a decade now and is a perennial MVP candidate. Bieber or Clase could be younger guys seen as having a chance but right now Ramírez is the clear favourite.
Royals: Salvador Pérez (25%)
Boomers seem to love catchers of this era playing in Missouri. Me? Not as big a fan. Pérez had a great 2021, historic even, and he’ll get some traction from the older voters. In all reality though, no chance he ends up in the Hall without a huge final act in his career.
Tigers: Miguel Cabrera (100%)
Not much to be said here, on a team with no other prominent veterans, Miggy stands alone. They certainly have a few prospects that someday will have a good chance at getting in but right now Cabrera is as big a lock as anyone.
Twins: Josh Donaldson (50%)
Donaldson will be interesting when the time comes. How his body holds up into his late 30s will really determine if he makes the Hall or not. A similar case to Longoria and really the only Major League option for the team. Buxton looks unlikely to put it all together for 162.
White Sox: Craig Kimbrel (70%)
Relievers always make for a slippery slope when it comes to voting. Especially in this era with three Hall of Fame caliber closers in Kimbrel, Chapman and Jansen, it’ll be interesting to see how the voters view these guys. Luis Robert has the tools to bolt his percentages up quickly but is still a couple years away from being in that conversation.
Angels: Mike Trout (100%)
Need I even explain? He could retire today and would be unanimous. He should be at least. Ohtani will be an extremely interesting case if he puts up numbers even relatively similar to his 2021 moving forward.
Astros: Justin Verlander (100%)
The Astros have a few options even if you don’t include free agents and Carlos Correa. Verlander is a lock so it makes this easy but Altuve on paper is going to have a great shot. Michael Brantley’s odds are much lower than those two but he’ll likely stay on the ballot for a few years at the very least.
Athletics: Matt Olson (15%)
Depending what sources you trust on Twitter, Matt Olson might not be on the A’s much longer. As of publication, he’s still there and still the franchise’s best chance at a HOFer, be it slim. Matt Chapman will be interesting due to his defensive prowess but I’d say its less than a 15% chance, for now.
Mariners: Jarred Kelenic (2.5%)
It’s sad a team that made it all the way to the final day of the regular season in 2021 doesn’t have a better chance than Kelenic, but it’s true. Kyle Seager is gone, and also was never going to make the Hall, and Robbie Ray looks to have started his upswing too late in his career. Julio Rodríguez though? Maybe soon.
Rangers: Corey Seager (60%)
I’m not sure if I’m alone in this thinking, but Seager feels like he’s on a decent path to the Hall, no? He needs to stay healthy to consistently put up the 5 win seasons he’ll need for the bulk of his Texas contract. However, he already has the accolades voters look for like All-Star appearances, Silver Sluggers, an MVP finalist, ROY, along with World Series MVP and various postseason records.