St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) talks with relief pitcher Mariano Rivera (42) on the mound in the ninth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the New York Yankees 7-6. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
Monday night, the New York Yankees were on ESPN.
Yes, I know - shocking, that.
Anyway, I missed part of the game because of Rick Sutcliffe -- I'll happily suffer for my art, but I do have my limits -- so I missed this part, but fortunately someone else didn't ...
Interestingly, you can make an argument for any number from zero to six, with four simply the most reasonable number.
Zero: Canó, Sabathia, and Jones fall short, statistically. The voters refused to elect Alex Rodriguez because of his acknowledged drug use. Somehow, both Jeter and Rivera also wind up getting outed as users of banned Performance Enhancing Drugs.
One: Ditto, except it's just Jeter or Rivera who's exposed.
Two: Ditto, except Jeter and Rivera are elected in good order, their names clean.
Three: Jeter and Rivera elected, and they're joined by Alex Rodriguez, whose overwhelming numbers convince the voters to overlook his, ahem, youthful indiscretions.
Four: Those same three plus Sabathia, who clears 200 victories with ease and eventually retires with a career winning percentage well north of .600.
My guess is that those four are Andy's four Hall of Famers.
Which leaves Robinson Canó and Andruw Jones.
We'll start with Jones, because he's nearly finished building his résumé.
Wait. Belay that order. Reverse it. Let's start with Canó, because he's actually easier.
Canó's on his way to some big numbers. Probably. Statistically speaking, and based purely on the raw numbers with zero adjustments for context, the four most similar players to Canó through his current age were Carlos Baerga, Tony Lazzeri, Bobby Doerr, and Edgardo Alfonzo. Lazzeri and Doerr both waited many years for their Hall of Fame elections, while Baerga and Alfonzo won't get even a faint whiff of Cooperstown's idyllic greenswards.
I think Canó's got a better-than-50/50 shot, because of his power spike these last three seasons. But not a lot better than 50/50. Sometimes bad things happen to great players, and I have this sneaking suspicion that he just isn't going to age particularly well.
Now, about Andruw Jones ... I think we've trod this ground already, so I won't belabor the question too terribly much ... Jones, if you believe Wins Above Replacement (according to FanGraphs) has been the eighth-greatest center fielder in major-league history. Which of course places him ahead of a number of Hall of Fame center fielders. Then again, he's also essentially tied with non-Hall of Famer Reggie Smith. You can certainly construct a convincing (to me, anyway) argument for Jones, but the actual voters probably won't buy it. Because it's based largely on Jones' brilliant fielding in center field, and that's already starting to seem like a long, long time ago.
He's still playing, though. And while he's not going to win any more Gold Gloves, he will pile up some counting stats. Which he absolutely needs to have even a decent shot at the Hall. He's going to have to clear 2,000 hits and 450 home runs, I would guess, just to get ... Actually, I think he needs a lot more than that. While it's impossible to predict how sabermetrically friendly the next generation(s) of voters will be, I think an outfielder with fewer than 500 home runs and 2,500 hits will have a real tough time, especially considering how crowded the ballot's going to be in the coming decades.
But if we assume that Alex Rodriguez is someday elected -- and I still can't envision a Hall of Fame, in the long term, that doesn't include the biggest stars of the Steroid Era -- that's three sure shots, plus Sabathia unless he breaks down fairly soon. I think Canó's 50/50. Which sort of makes four-and-a-half Hall of Famers.
Ah, but our list of candidates doesn't end with these six, does it? Mark Teixeira's got eight 100-RBI seasons, with a great shot at more. He just turned 32, and his contract with the Yankees runs through 2016. I certainly wouldn't bet on him getting into the Hall, but he certainly has a measurable shot. A better shot, I suspect, than Jones. At least if the history of the voting is a worthy guide.
Four's not a bad answer, and perhaps not the wrong answer. And you can't put three-fourths of a player into the Hall of Fame. But I think the right answer, if we could truly measure the chances of everyone currently on the Yankees' roster, would be roughly 4.75 future Hall of Famers.
Which will change the moment that Andy Pettitte rejoins the club.
Who's most likely to be in the Hall of Fame someday?
Andruw Jones (174 votes)
Mark Teixeira (131 votes)
Robinson Canó (355 votes)
660 total votes