While watching baseball, I often think about which of today’s players will end up enshrined in the Hall of Fame. There are a number of players that seem like no brainers (ex. Mike Trout) while others are borderline candidates (ex. Carlos Beltran). There are some that were easily first ballot but have harmed their chances (ex. Alex Rodriguez) while some were headed in the right direction until injuries steered them off course (ex. Adam Wainwright).
As a thought experiment, I decided to examine the current 40 man rosters of each team in the National League Central and highlight the players on each team with the best chance of making it all the way to Cooperstown, New York. I have avoided players who have accumulated one full year or less of service time with their pro club due to the lack of stable data from such a small sample. Today’s post focuses on the Milwaukee Brewers.
Ryan Braun: Age 32. Resume: Rookie of the Year, 1 MVP, 1 2nd place MVP finish, 6 All Star selections, and 5 Silver Sluggers. Highlights include two 30/30 seasons, 2 20/20 seasons (he may add another of these in 2016), and has lead the league during various seasons in runs, hits, homers, and OPS. Braun would surely be well on his way to Cooperstown but for his Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) bust and ugly denial. As the voters have shown, once a player is caught in the PED net, there is no shot at getting voted into the Hall. If he keeps compiling stats and is not linked to PEDs for the rest of his career, there is a strong possibility that a Veteran’s Committee would vote him into the Hall in the distant future once the PED scandals are a distant memory. Also, should the voters decide to change their thought process and start to vote PED users in, Braun would have a strong resume to also be included in the annual sports writers’ vote. Hall of Fame chance: 3%. Veteran’s Committee vote: 25%.
Jonathan Villar: Age 25. Resume: 46 steals and a .300 batting average in 2016. 2016 is Villar’s first shot at every day at bats after coming over in a trade to the Brewers from the Houston Astros. Villar was initially seen as a placeholder on the major league roster until Miluwalkee’s prospects were ready for prime time. However, Villar has impressed fans, coaches, and management with the gains he had made this season and appears to have a full time role locked up for the remainder of 2016. He has cut down his strikeouts, increased his walks, and has developed a little bit of pop. His speed is legit but he is still learning how to refine his stolen base technique. Although he has stolen 46 bags he currently leads the league in being caught stealing with 16. Villar wouldn’t have made the Hall of Fame list for any other team in the N.L. Central but the Brewers are currently so bad that Villar was the only player besides Braun to warrant any consideration. Hall of Fame chance: 1%.
To see the other teams already profiled, click on these links: