By: Matthew Haines
Cooperstown, where baseball seeps through the air and permeates its building. It truly is, The Home of Baseball. While visiting the small town in upstate New York, many take delight in visiting the one, the only, the Baseball Hall of Fame. In this hall, we find the most notorious of players of the past; where only few can cement their name in glory.
Many of us watching the game today, are fairly certain about which players will make the Hall of Fame, which will never sniff the ballot, and which may fall just inches away from the hall of greatness. Right? Well, maybe not so much. If you did not know, being inducted into the Hof is REALLY REALLY HARD. For this reason, I decided to take a look at today’s players and attempt to answer the question: Who really is a future HOFer?
To answer this, I took a look at the recently developed JAWS formula. For those unfamiliar with JAWS, it is essentially an average of a player’s total career WAR and their best 7 cumulative seasons of WAR. For example, a player with a career WAR of 10 and best 7 seasons summing 10 8 WAR, would have a 9 JAWS. This seems pretty simple, right? Well, not so much. The biggest problem here is, well, not all current great players (Mike Trout) have played 7 seasons. In fact, out of the top 50 most qualified players that are currently active, only 34 have surpassed 7 full seasons of play. This made me create my own statistic, Matthew’s JAWS (mJAWS).
The statistic changes quite a bit from JAWS, while also maintaining the goal of evaluating both a player’s longevity, as well as the peak of their production in a fair way. The first thing I had done was instead of take merely the seasons the player was active on an MLB roster, I took the amount of games played and divided it by 162, allowing for each “season” to be a full 162 games for each player. Secondly, I took the player’s career WAR and divided it by 162 to give each player a certain WAR per 162. I broke it into WAR per 162 to essentially reward current players more for constant success throughout a longer period of time , as well as allow recent players to be aided in their quick success. Lastly, I found weights for each of the variables and divided by the number of 162 game seasons the player had played to retrieve the final statistic, mJAWS.
Here are the current top HOFers’ results:
Unsurprisingly, Barry Bonds leads all HOFers in mJAWS, followed closely by Babe Ruth, with little competition after. Keep in mind, this is the best of the best of the best of the best. Now say that 5 times fast. The average mJAWS amongst HOF position player is 38.9, with an average WAR of 63.7, with the golden mark being somewhere around 90-100. Likewise, the average 162 game “seasons” for these players was around 12.8. Currently, there are only 3 qualified active position players to surpass this mark, Nick Markakis, Miguel Cabrera, and Albert Pujols. More importantly, these trends tend to stay steady throughout the most recent years. Since 2000, all inductees have averaged 66.3 WAR, 14.6 162 game seasons, and 41.9 mJAWS. Now let’s look at the top active MLB players and let’s see how they stack up against the greatest to play the game.
Here we can see that we most likely have two “no doubters”, Albert Pujols and Mike Trout. Both of them have average mJAWS that would fit them slightly above the average HOFer. This metric will only improve for the still young Mike Trout who, when all said and done, may be one of the greatest players of all time. Just behind these two superstars is another strong candidate for entry into the Hall, Miguel Cabrera. The slugger would currently sit above most HOF position players and with a few more years under his belt, will only strengthen his case. After Cabrera, there are few cases to be made for the Hall of Fame at least at their current state. However, let’s look at the players that have been able to accumulate the most mJAWS in the shortest amount of time.
Here we have the most prolific young athletes in the MLB. The average mJAWS/162 for the top HOF position players is currently around 4.1. Here we can see that there are multiple young players with similar, if not better numbers. However, the name of the game when it comes to the HOF is longevity. However, keep an eye on the current stars, for if production continues or even drops for juggernauts like Matt Chapman, they can be making quite the case for the HOF 10 years down the road.
As for now, that’s the breakdown of the current active MLB in an attempt to find who is “the next HOFer”. Next week, stay tuned for the Pitchers edition to this project. Don’t agree with me? Feel free to make your own predictions in our comments section!