Five players who could lock in their Hall of Fame resume in 2020

(Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
(Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images) /
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Hall of Fame
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Clayton Kershaw

As he enters his age-32 season, Kershaw has already put together quite the resume.

He’s led the National League in ERA five times, ERA+ four times, WHIP four times, wins three times, and strikeouts three times. His run of dominance from 2011 to 2017 is almost unparalleled in history: During that period, he was an All-Star every year, finished in the top three in Cy Young Award voting six times (finishing fifth the other time), and placed in MVP voting six times.

With a career ERA of 2.44, Kershaw is blowing all his contemporaries out of the water. Jacob deGrom is second at 2.62, and no one else has a career ERA below 3.00. There are few pitchers who can claim that they dominated an era the way that the Dodgers southpaw has.

Kershaw, in the eyes of many, is already likely in the Hall of Fame. If he retired today, he’d have tons of support. Yet some may feel that the longevity isn’t quite there yet. Twelve years is a long time to pitch in the majors, but is it Hall of Fame worthy? Despite the run of dominance, some might find it hard to put a pitcher with just 169 career wins in, even with the win stat meaning less over time.

Kershaw will only be able to help his Hall of Fame case in 2020. He hasn’t pitched at his all-time great level for the past two years, and injuries have been an issue. Yet if Kershaw pitches even close to the way he has lately for another two to three seasons, that should be enough in the eyes of just about everyone. Then we can start talking about his place among the all-time greats.