Friday, August 19, 2011

Take 5- The Long Awaited Return

It's been a while, but Take 5 makes a return to the blog. The signing of future Hall-of-Famer Javier Henriquez to a 3 year extention with Fargo turns our attention to the current crop of players available for HOF voting. The pitching candidates are not all that strong, so we'll concentrate on the other side of the ball and ask the question:

Who are the top 5 eligible candidates for the Hall-of-Fame in the Position Players category?

1. David Rushford

Resume: The recently retired Rushford probably rushes to the top of this list. His 460 HRs and 1126 RBI rank first among eligible hitters. He has 7 40 HR/100 RBI seasons to his name. The voters did him very little justice in putting him in only one All-Star game.

Outlook: Far from a slam-dunk, but he's got a shot. Supporters will point to those seven dominant years and note that Gregg Black got in for five or six dominant years. Detractors can point to his severe dropoff late in his career and lack of hardware.

2. Ryan Snyder

Resume: Snyder very quietly put together a borderline HOF career. He's got an MVP award (which Rushford can't claim), went to 5 All-Star games, and won a World Series ring. Although he finihed 140 homers behind Rushford, their all-time slugging percentages are almost identical. He finished 6 stolen bases short of going 300/300 for his career.

Outlook: In some respects he may have a better case than Rushford, but he's been retired since Season 11 and hasn't gone in yet, which does not bode well at all for his chances. With only two inductees, it's not like he's stuck in a logjam behind sure-fire HOFers.

3. King Winn

Resume: Another member of the 1000 RBI club, Winn holds the single season RBI record with 182. That total helped him earn his MVP award as a DH, a difficult feat to accomplish. He drove in 100 runs 6 times and hit over 60 homers twice.

Outlook: I'd say not good. He had two or three hall-of-fame years, but his time of dominance was short and he fell off worse than Rushford. Being essentially a DH (he caught from time to time but had a hard time doing it full-time) also makes it harder. I most certainly wouldn't put him in ahead of Rushford or Snyder, and there will be sure-fire HOFers retiring soon, making it harder for him.

4. Andre Eckenstahler

Resume: He's the only currently eligible player with over 5000 at-bats to retire with a .300 average. Andre batted over .300 seven times and hit the 30/100 plateaus three times. He's got 4 All-Stars and 4 Silver Slugger awards on his mantle.

Outlook: Very doubtful. He had only one dominant season (season 1, where he hit .340--47-133 and would have cruised to an MVP award if not for the beer league softball season of Gregg Black) and his power numbers aren't eye-popping.

5. Bernie Soriano

Resume: The Cuban defector came in three homers short of the 400 mark and drove in 1114 runs in his career- Rushford is the only eligible candidate with more. He drove in 100 runs four times and had seasons of 99 and 98 RBI and hit 50 homers twice.

Outlook: No chance and rightfully so. I could have easily put about 5 or 6 other guys in this slot, none of which would be viable candidates for the Hall. As for Soriano, he had a handful of big-time seasons and was wildly inconsistent. No way he should ever be voted in.

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