Who's Hall of Fame worthy on the Yankees?
I love the Yankees, I love the Hall of Fame, and I love the talk of who's worthy of the Hall of Fame. So, I'm going to combine all three into this blog. Let's go position-by-position and see who's gonna make it.
First, we have long time Yankee catcher, the mighty mouse, Jorge Posada. Jorge's a pretty decorated catcher with five silver slugger awards and two top ten MVP finishes-third in 2003 and sixth in 2007. Offensively, Jorge's been one of the top catchers of the 21st century. He may not put up a great average, .277 for his career, but his OBP, .381, is definitely respectable. His slugging isn't bad either at .479. For a catcher, those are good offensive numbers. He's a terrible fielder, however, and though his total numbers are pretty good, I don't think they're Hall of Fame numbers. He's 35 years old so I wouldn't look for him to put up more counting stats, like homers and RBIs. Though he'll most likely wind up with 1,000+ RBIs (he's got 861 right now), 300 HRs probably won't happen (he's at 218 right now) since he won't physically be able to stick around for enough years to collect the next 82. His average 162 game season is .277/.381/.479 with 25 homers and 97 RBIs, 151 hits, and 261 total bases. Those are good numbers and would make for a nice career. Hall of fame nice, though, I'm not quite sure. Jorge's one of those guys that will be borderline, but not quite good enough. I foresee the Hall of Very Good in Jorge's future, not the Hall of Fame.
Now we come to first base. By default, I'll call it Jason Giambi. Right now, Jason stands at .298/.411/.536 with 364 career homers. He's 36 years old so the magic number of 500 is probably not realistic for him, unless he reverts back to his MVP-like form, which is unlikely. Again, Giambi is a borderline guy who probably won't make it, even based on numbers. Then of course, there's the steroids thing, which will be the biggest factor in voting for or against Giambi. It's a no for Mr. Giambi.
Robinson Cano is only three years into his career. It's impossible to tell if he will be a hall of famer. However, I will say that 2008 will be very important for him. This year will be absolutely key in his development. He avoided the proverbial sophomore slump and even his junior year was very solid. If he continues on this pace, Robinson Cano has the chance to be one of the best second baseman of his generation. If things go right over the next few years, pencil Robbie in for Cooperstown. If this year gets him off on a bad foot for his middle 20's, then he'll miss.
Alex Rodriguez would make the Hall of Fame if he retired today. This isn't even wroth elaborating on. The only way he wouldn't get in was if we found out he was juicing, which I think is unlikely.
Derek Jeter is pretty much the same case as A-Rod. The only way he'll miss is if either we find out he was juicing (even more unlikely) or if the next 5-7 years of his career are absolutely terrible. So long as Derek keeps putting up a .300 average every year with around 200 hits, he'll be golden. He even has an outside shot at breaking Pete Rose's hits record.
In my opinion, no one in the outfield has a solid shot. Bobby Abreu has the best shot, but his power decline over the last few years will hurt him. Bobby is a great on base percentage guy and a pretty good hitter, but he's just not flashy enough to earn a spot in Cooperstown. Unless his power comes back, he's another one of the "Hall of Very Good" guys. As much as I love Melky, he and Hideki Matsui aren't really worth touching on for this subject.
Now there's the pitching staff. Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer ever. Period. He'll be in on the first ballot.
Andy Pettitte, despite sharing my birthday, will not make the Hall of Fame, IMO. He's 35 and needs 99 wins to get the magic number of 300 and that will not happen. His ERA is alright, but nothing special. His average season consists of 157 strikeouts and 67 walks with 17 wins-which could be a byproduct of the good teams he's played for. Again, these are good numbers but not Hall of Fame numbers. Sorry, Andy but I don't think you'll make it either.
Chien Ming Wang isn't gonna get enshrined, either. He's a good pitcher but nothing too special. He struggled in the second half last season, but hopefully it's not a sign of things to come. He might end up with a respectable win total, but like Pettitte, it will be because he played for good teams. Unless his ERA and WHIP start to drop in the next few years and he keeps it up, I don't think he'll end up in Cooperstown. I'll hope for the best, though.
Mike Mussina has the best shot at the Hall of Fame of the Yankees' starters. He'll probably get there, but when he does, there will be great debate about it. Since 2002, he's had an ERA under 4 only twice and has overall been pretty average lately. The next year or two will have to be big rebound years for Mike if he's going to be a first ballot Hall of Famer. Will he get in? Yes, he probably will but I don't think it'll be first ballot unless the next year or two (remember he's 38 so this is a big if...) are great.
Then there's the big three-Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy. Obviously, they barely have a full season between the three of them so it's waaaaaay too early to judge their Hall of Fame standards. I will, however, say this: one of the three will make it to Cooperstown.