The Future of the Hall of wWAR

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When I wrote my individual posts about the Hall of wWAR inductees, I included a section called "Who's Next?". This section mentioned the active and retired-but-not-yet-eligible players who already cleared the Hall of wWAR baselines I used for induction. So, while they weren't yet eligible for the Hall, I knew for certain that they would be added to the Hall of wWAR when eligible. (Gosh, objectivity makes this simple.)

The first two columns of the graphic above present the players included in the "Who's Next" sections. The vertical "69 wWAR" line represents the basic baseline I used for induction. You'll notice in the second column, three players don't reach that threshold. There is a lower baseline for catchers and relief pitchers (and subsequently a higher baseline for first basemen, left fielders, and right fielders).

What I want to focus on today is that third column—the guys who are active and haven't quite met the threshold, but have a chance. How far away is each of them from qualifying for the Hall of wWAR? 

Lance Berkman: With 46.1 WAR, 17.6 WAE, and 1.4 WAM, Berkman totals 65.1 wWAR. (For the rest of this post, I'm going to use the shorthand of "46.1/17.6/1.4=65.1 wWAR".) As a corner OF/1B (my system has him as a left fielder), Berkman is subject to the higher wWAR baseline of 78.0. So, he needs 12.9 wWAR to get into the Hall of wWAR. If he never surpasses 3.0 WAR again, that means he'd need to accumulate 12.9 WAR (no added boost from WAE and WAM). Last year, at age 34, he was worth just 1.4 WAR. Of course, that was a down year. But in 2009 he was worth just 3.1 WAR, so it's conceivable that Berkman's days above "excellence" could be over. If that is the case, he looks like a long shot, since he would need more than four 3 WAR seasons to get in. If he regains some of his former glory and posts 5 WAR this year and 4 WAR next, he'd need to post an additional 1 WAR to make it (at age 36). Clearly, the key to Berkman making it is passing the 3.0 WAR threshold for some of that peak-adjusted extra credit.

Tim Hudson: Hudson, a pitcher I once considered an absolute lock for Cooperstown, sits at 46.3/15.3/1.3=62.9 wWAR. As a starting pitcher, he needs 69 wWAR for induction. Coming off a 5.3 WAR season at age 34, Hudson's chances seem good. A 4-win season at age 35 and a 2-win season at age 36 would put him in. Basically, just a combination of 6.1 WAR over the next few years will get him in. Not bad considering the rough start to his 30s and the fact that he had Tommy John surgery. Personally, I hope he blows past the baseline.

Johnny Damon: Now in his age 37 season, Damon seems to be slowing down. At 48.3/12.3/0.6=61.2 wWAR, he's relatively close. But I just don't think he has enough in the tank to produce another 8 WAR. He produced 8.9 WAR in 2008 and 2009 (combined), but last year he dipped to 1.7 WAR.

Mike Cameron: Like Damon, it is likely too late for Mike Cameron. Still, it's impressive how close he's gotten. Now in his age 38 season, he sits at 47.4/13.4/0.4=61.2 wWAR (tied with Damon). Also like Damon, Cameron isn't subject to the higher baseline a corner outfielder would need to reach. But again, 8 WAR seems a stretch at this point.

Chase Utley: This is only Utley's age 32 season, so things are looking pretty good for him. Last year, he dipped to 4.2 WAR. Before that, he posted years of 7.7, 6.6, 6.6, 5.7, and 6.2 WAR. This season's injury is a bummer, but he has plenty of time to build on his total of 38.7/19.0/3.1=60.8 wWAR. In fact, he needs just 8.2 wWAR to secure his spot in the Hall of wWAR. That could be broken down in many ways: a single 5.6 WAR season… 1.4 WAR this season and then just 5 WAR next year… nothing this year and then just two more years at 3.6 WAR… or heck, 4 seasons at a hair above 2 WAR. No matter how you dice it, Utley's gonna get in.

J.D. Drew: Now in his age 35 season, time is running out for Drew. He currently sits at 46.8/12/1.5=60.3 wWAR and is subject to the higher baseline for corner outfielders. He needs 17.7 wWAR. His WAR totals for his last four seasons are 2.7, 2.7, 5.6, and 2.5. I think 2-2.5 WAR is his current true talent level. It would take him over seven seasons at that rate. Seeing that Drew has not even committed to playing next season, I'm guessing he finishes on the outside.

Adrian Beltre: At 42.5/13.5/4.2=60.2 wWAR and in just his age 32 season, Beltre looks like he's actually going to make it. Of course, the big question is which Beltre we'll see in the coming years. He was worth 6.1 WAR last year, but just 1.1 the year before. At 6.1 WAR, he'd make it this year (he's 8.2 wWAR short and a 6.1 WAR season is worth 9.3 wWAR). At 1.1 WAR, it would take him seven and a half seasons. How about 3.6 WAR seasons? It would take just two of them (which would take him through age 33). How about 2.1 WAR seasons? It would take four of those (which would take him through age 35). Golly, I think he's going to make it.

Roy Oswalt: Like Hudson, I used to believe Oswalt would coast to the Hall. I still believe he's Hall-worthy, all though there's certainly some debate about it. He current is in his age 33 season and sits at 44.6/14.6/0.2=59.4 wWAR. So, he's in the home stretch, needing just 9.6 wWAR. He was worth 5.1 WAR last year, so two more years at that level would blow him by the baseline. Really, in his age 33 and 34 seasons he just needs to average 3.9 WAR to make it. Alternately, he could hang around for four more years at 2.4 WAR per season and get in. Either way, I think he gets it.

CC Sabathia: In just his age 30 season, Sabathia is already at 42.7/14.0/1.9=58.6 wWAR. He needs just 10.4 wWAR, which seems extremely reasonable. He's coming of a 5.0 WAR season, and just a pair of 4.1 seasons would put him at the baseline. Plus, he'd only be 32 years old. Sabathia is pretty much a lock at this point.

Mark Buehrle: It's hard to believe Buehrle is just 32 years old this season. He's been a dark horse Hall of Famer for a long time and he just keeps getting closer. His 3.5 WAR last year was his lowest total since 2006, but the truth is Buehrle doesn't have far to go. He sits at 42.9/14.1/0.0=57.0 wWAR, needing just 12 to reach the minimum. That's three 3.5 WAR seasons (which would put him at the end of his age 34 season). I don't know about you, his chances look pretty good to me.

Jamie Moyer: Moyer is 48 and currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery (that sounds crazy to even say). He wants to play again, and I will never doubt Jamie Moyer. The problem is that he was under replacement level in 2010 and posted just 0.5 WAR in 2009. He is currently at 47.2/9.2/0.0=56.4 wWAR, meaning he needs 12.6 wWAR. That's just not going to happen at this point.

Miguel Tejada: Now 37, it seems unlikely Tejada will reach the Hall of wWAR given his current total of 42.0/12.8/1.0=55.8 wWAR. He was worth 1.3 WAR last season and it'd take over ten seasons at that rate.

Mark Teixeira: In his age 31 season, Teixeira stands at 36.7/15.7/1.3=53.7 wWAR. He was worth 4.4 WAR last season (and 5.9 in 2009). How many 4.0 WAR seasons does he need? Since he needs to reach the 1B baseline of 78, he is 24.3 wWAR shy. That comes out to five 4-win seasons. That takes him through age 35. That seems quite doable, since he has averaged over 5.2 WAR per season since he became a full time player. But let's say he goes off and produces 7.5 WAR this year. 7.5 WAR comes out to 13.5 wWAR, which means he'd need just 10.8 more.

Magglio Ordoñez: Ordoñez is in his age 37 season now, making it unlikely he'll reach the Hall of wWAR baseline. His current total of 36.9/10.3/2.9=50.1 wWAR sits 27.9 wWAR short. Remember that 8.9 WAR season he had in 2007? Basically, he needs a couple more.

So, who will make it? I've got Lance Berkman, Tim Hudson, Chase Utley, Adrian Beltre, Roy Oswalt, CC Sabathia, Mark Buehrle, and Mark Teixeira making it. I don't think I've identified the only active players who will be Hall of Famers. I just covered players with 35 or more WAR heading into 2011. I think guys like Evan Longoria and Ryan Zimmerman are on the right track. But it's just waaaaaay too early.

For more on the Hall of wWAR, check out the visualization.

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