Hall of Fame Hopefuls- Second Basemen

Second basemen tend to be the smaller, less powerful players on a team.  Most are good base runners, and most hit for a high average.  Like at first base, there are twenty second basemen inducted in the Hall of Fame, ranging from Rogers Hornsby to Johnny Evers.  Second basemen check in with a median score of 24104, ranking between Ryne Sandberg and Joe Gordon.  Let’s see where a few outside players rank:

Should be definites:

1. Lou Whitaker

Score: 23973

Most similar to: Joe Gordon

Next Eligible: 2018 (Veterans Committee)

Suggested Team: Tigers

Synopsis: Lou Whitaker formed one half of a dynamic double play tandem in Detroit, along with Alan Trammell.  While Trammell went through 15 years of little-to-no support from the BBWAA, Whitaker was a one-and-done candidate.  However, Whitaker was one of the best defensive second basemen ever and carried a wRC+ well above league average for his career, which should have made him an easy selection for Cooperstown.

2. Jeff Kent

Score: 23620

Most similar to: Gordon

Next Eligible: 2017 (active on ballot)

Suggested team: Giants

Synopsis: Barry Bonds’ sidekick for six seasons in San Francisco, Jeff Kent redefined power from the second baseman position.  Kent slashed .290/.356/.500 in his career, had a wRC+ of 123 and whalloped nearly 400 homers while being a slightly below average defender at the keystone position.  His last couple of seasons were a sharp and abrupt decline, which hurt him overall, but as the player who ranks 1st in homers and 3rd in RBI by a second baseman, his spot in Cooperstown should have been a slam dunk.

On the Bubble-Probably Yes

3. Robinson Cano

Score: 20800

Most similar to: Bid McPhee

Next Eligible: still active in MLB

Suggested Team: Yankees

Synopsis: Robinson Cano, despite moving out of Yankee Stadium and into a pitcher’s park in Safeco, has continued to put up strong numbers offensively and defensively at second base.  It’s likely that if he declines gracefully through the remaining seven years of his contract that he winds up higher on the list and is a likely candidate for induction.

Close, But Not Quite:

4. Chase Utley

Score: 18143

Most similar to: Nellie Fox

Next Eligible: still active in MLB

Synopsis: Chase Utley began his career as a future Hall of Famer while with the Phillies.  He teamed with Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard to form a great young nucleus of talent that led to several postseasons and the 2008 World Series championship.  But injuries and age have begun to hamper Utley, and it isn’t likely at this point that he rebounds enough to make it into Cooperstown.

5. Bobby Grich

Score: 17895

Most similar to: Fox

Next Eligible: 2018 (Veterans Committee)

Synopsis: Bobby Grich is a SABR-metric darling.  Grich had a wRC+ of 129 and was an excellent defender.  However, with only 2008 games played, he just wasn’t on the field enough to put up numbers to rank him with other second basemen.

6. Willie Randolph

Score: 17505

Most similar to: Fox

Next Eligible: 2018 (Veterans Committee)

Synopsis: An excellent defender at the keystone position, Randolph was a fine player, but only had a wRC+ of 110 and didn’t put up the numbers offensively to compare to other Hall of Famers at his position.

 

Stay tuned for the next update.

On deck 12/30/16: The Hot Corner

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