Stat of the Week: Active players on Hall of Fame path

With this year’s Hall of Fame class announced, here’s a look at which active players have cleared the bar of Bill James’ Hall of Fame Value Standard.

As a reminder, a player’s Hall of Fame Value (HOF-V) is his Win Shares plus four times his Baseball-Reference Wins Above Replacement (WAR). The standard for Hall of Fame worthiness is a score of 500.

Not surprisingly, Angels DH and first baseman Albert Pujols leads the way. With 477 Win Shares and 99.9 WAR, he’s at 876.6 on the HOF-V scale. That ranks 27th all-time, sandwiched between legends Mike Schmidt (894.2) and Carl Yastrzemski (873.6).

Miguel Cabrera is also well above the HOF-V line at 670.6. A ruptured biceps limited Cabrera to 38 games last season, but his .316/.395/.551 career slash line and 465 home runs solidify his status among the game’s greats.

Robinson Cano’s Hall of Fame candidacy was addressed in an earlier Stat of the Week . A PED-related suspension complicates his status, but his numbers (.304/.355/.493 with 311 home runs) easily clear the HOF-V threshold. He’s at 613.8, not far from Hall-of-Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg (618).

Ichiro Suzuki says he wants to play in 2019, and for the purposes of this exercise, let’s presume he sees considerable time. By HOF-V, he’s Hall of Fame worthy at 561.2, just behind Hall of Famers Mike Piazza (562.4) and Vladimir Guerrero (561.6).

Reds first baseman Joey Votto has a .311/.427/.530 slashline, in a 12-year career and has led the National League in on-base percentage seven times including each of the last three seasons. His Win Shares and WAR combination produces an HOF-V of 533.2, a little over the line for worthiness.

Lastly, Mike Trout is only 27 years old and has played eight MLB seasons. But he’s already surpassed the HOF-V bar. He’s at 523.2, a remarkable total for a player of his age and experience. Trout has added at least 70 points to his HOF-V total in six of the last seven seasons. If he does so in the next two seasons, he’ll rank among the top 100 players in this stat (and having played 10 seasons, he will officially be Cooperstown eligible).

If he averages 70 HOF-V over the next 10 seasons, he’ll be at 1,223.2, not far behind Willie Mays (1,267.6) for fifth all-time.

Yadier Molina (499.9) is as close as you can come to reaching the bar. He should clear the threshold almost immediately, presuming no injuries or major performance issues.

You might have noticed that there are no active pitchers on this list. The pitcher who is closest to a 500 HOF-V is Yankees starter CC Sabathia(489.8). Sabathia has averaged 21.6 HOF-V the last three seasons, so he’s got a good chance to surpass the 500 mark in 2019. Likewise,Justin Verlander (467.6) should clear 500 so long as he pitches at the level he did in each of the last three seasons, in which he averaged an HOF-V of 45.5.

Perhaps surprisingly Zack Greinke (465.8) is in a similar spot. Another season matching his 2018 campaign (17 Win Shares, 4.8 WAR, 36.2 HOF-V) would push him over the line.

For those wondering about Clayton Kershaw (444.4) and Max Scherzer (387), public perception may differ from this form of statistical analysis. Both still have a little way to go. Kershaw has been hurt by injuries the last three seasons that have limited his innings. Scherzer didn’t reach a level of consistent excellence until his sixth MLB season, so he still has some ground to make up.

Three players retired in 2018 who surpassed 500 on the HOF-V scale.Adrian Beltre (755.8), Joe Mauer (631.7), and Chase Utley (552.6) and will all have their names come for discussion in five years. By the measure of this stat, they are Hall Of Fame worthy.

If you want to check where your favorite player stands in the Hall of Fame Value Standard, go to Bill James Online. If you would like to read more about the Hall of Fame Value Standard, purchase the 2019 Bill James Handbook or visit the SIS Blog.

Active Leaders in HOF-V
NameHOF-V
Albert Pujols876.6
Miguel Cabrera670.6
Robinson Cano613.8
Ichiro Suzuki561.2
Joey Votto533.2
Mike Trout523.2
Yadier Molina499.9
CC Sabathia489.8
Ian Kinsler475.2
Justin Verlander467.6
Zack Greinke465.8

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