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Active Phillies and Future Hall of Famers

Posted By Bill Baer On December 20, 2011 @ 8:00 am In MLB,Philadelphia Phillies,Sabermetrics | 25 Comments

Over at The Book blog, Tango looks at the PA threshold for Hall of Famers:

Of players born since 1924, here are the least number of plate appearances for Hall of Famers:

7831 Kirby Puckett
8237 Duke Snider
8364 Yogi Berra (C)
8379 Bill Mazeroski
8669 Johnny Bench (C)
8695 Orlando Cepeda
9019 Gary Carter (C)

As you can see, it’s extremely tough to make the Hall of Fame with under 9000 plate appearances.

That’s a bit depressing for me because, as one of the biggest fans of Chase Utley out there, it is highly unlikely that the second baseman will reach the 9,000 PA plateau. He currently sits just shy of 4,800. Assuming 600 PA per season, Utley would need to play seven more full seasons at, more or less,  his current level of play. The problem is that Utley is currently 33 years old, so he would be 40 and his ability to stay on the field consistently is already in question, as he has accrued under 1,000 PA in the last two seasons combined.

Jimmy Rollins is currently the closest to the mark, with over 7,500 PA to his name. But the Hall of Fame case for Rollins is much tougher. Although he has one MVP award and a rare 20/20/20/20 season under his belt, his career OPS is below-average. Only two shortstops are near Rollins’ career rWAR (34.4): Rabbit Maranville (38.2) and George Davis (37.6). If you exclude players who played at least partially in the Dead Ball Era, then Phil Rizzuto is the closest (41.8). And unlike Ozzie Smith (64.6), Rollins’ defense wasn’t incredible to the point where you could overlook other deficiencies.

Ryan Howard is the only other active player who could conceivably approach 9,000 PA as a Phillie. With over 4,400, Howard is piling on the counting stats that voters love, but the future is not looking bright for the big man. Already missing part of the 2012 season, injuries will only become more and more of a possibility, and the lasting effects of his Achilles injury could drain his already-declining power. Howard would need to play 7-8 seasons at 600 PA apiece to reach the 9,000 PA mark, taking him through at least his age-39 season. Howard also has accrued 23.1 rWAR, vastly below Hall of Fame first basemen outside of the Dead Ball Era. The closest to Howard is Orlando Cepeda at 46.8. Needless to say, Howard would need to completely defy the aging curve to come close.

The 2007-12 Phillies will go down as the greatest teams the franchise has ever assembled, but it could have an interesting footnote in that none of the position players reach the Hall of Fame.


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