The 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame class will be announced on January 22nd. Which of the current Chicago Cubs players have a shot at Cooperstown?
With no end in sight to the Chicago Cubs‘ quiet offseason, let’s take a break from constantly refreshing Twitter and analyzing every single one of Bryce Harper‘s social media posts. Instead, let’s take a look into the distant future when today’s Cubs are candidates for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The current Cubs core will already go down in history for finally bringing a World Series championship to Wrigley Field and the north side of Chicago, but do any of them have a shot at making the Hall of Fame?
Right off the bat, let’s get this out of the way. For most of the players on this list, even talking about their Hall of Fame chances is difficult because they’re only a few seasons into their big league careers. Regardless, we can still analyze what they’ve done so far and project for the future, however uncertain it may be.
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Now, how do we determine what the merits are for making the Hall of Fame?
There really is no one single way. No player has ever received 100 percent of the vote when they’ve been elected to the Hall because so many people have so many different views of what the Hall of Fame should be.
You can be in favor of a small Hall or a big Hall. You can be just fine with players linked to PEDs making the Hall of Fame or you might think they shouldn’t even be allowed to step foot in Cooperstown. You might even think that a designated hitter shouldn’t be in the Hall because they didn’t play one half of the game.
There are so many different ideas of who should be represented in the Hall of Fame that we surely won’t come to a conclusion in this article. If players like Babe Ruth and Nolan Ryan weren’t unanimously elected, there’s a good chance you and I won’t agree on everything a Hall of Famer should be.
For the purpose of analysis in this article, I’ll largely be looking at the average of players currently inducted in Cooperstown. I’ll primarily be using Baseball-Reference’s WAR, as well as WAR7, JAWS, and Hall of Fame Monitor scores to compare the current Cubs to the game’s all-time greats.
I won’t give an explanation of WAR as most fans are familiar with it, but WAR7 is just what you’d think – the total WAR accumulated in a player’s seven best seasons. Essentially, it shows how good a player was in his prime. The seasons don’t have to be consecutive.
JAWS stands for Jaffe WAR Score system, developed by Fangraphs’ Jay Jaffe. This statistic is the average of a player’s career WAR and his WAR7.
Hall of Fame Monitor was developed by Bill James. This system attempts to predict how likely it is for a player to make the Hall of Fame, not how worthy he is. It gives points for things like leading the league in an offensive category, being a regular on a World Series-winning team, reaching a certain threshold of wins in a season, winning an MVP award, etc.
With all of those things said, let’s jump into it and see which current Cubs have a legitimate shot at enshrinement in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.