As we head into the 2020 MLB season, here are five players who already have strong Hall of Fame cases who could become locks with a good season.
As spring training opens, there are plenty of big-picture storylines to get us to Opening Day, from the continued Astros mess to possible playoff changes. The 2020 season will be important to many players for many reasons. For several of them, it will be a key year in trying to make the Hall of Fame.
As of right now, I believe that there are four players who have already done enough to gain admittance if they were to retire today:
- Albert Pujols: Despite the 40-year-old being a shell of who he once was, there’s no denying that he’s the most accomplished player who is still active. He dominated the 2000s decade in a way that few players ever have dominated any decade. In fact, from 2001 to 2011, Pujols placed in the top five of National League MVP voting all but once (2007, when he finished ninth). His 100.3 career WAR blows all active players out of the water.
- Justin Verlander: The right-hander has been arguably the game’s best pitcher since he broke through in 2006 and is still on top of his game as he enters his age-37 season. He has two Cy Young awards and has led the league in innings pitched four times, starts five times, and strikeouts five times. He figures to keep adding to his resume in 2020.
- Miguel Cabrera: Like Pujols, he’s not the player he once was. Still, with nine top-ten finishes in MVP voting, 11 All-Star selections, four batting titles, 12 seasons with at least 20 home runs, and 500 home runs and 3,000 hits in his sights, there’s little reason to believe that the man who won a Triple Crown won’t get in easily.
- Mike Trout: Should we put him in even though he’s only played eight full seasons? Well, he’s already second among active players in career WAR. At just 28 years old, he’s already won three MVP awards and finished second four additional times. He’s led the American League in OPS four times and OPS+ six times. Trout has dominated the game in a way few ever have; even if he slows down some as his career goes on, he’ll be one of the all-time greats.
However, in addition to these players, there are several who have a strong case but might still have some work to do. Here, we look at five players who could do a lot towards gaining admission with a strong 2020 season.