Tomorrow, the baseball universe will know if Alan Trammell will be the only member of the 1984 World Series Detroit Tigers team enshrined in the Hall of Fame. If the voters get it right, they will add the outstanding shortstop and fan favorite Tiger in his last year of candidacy. Hopefully, the voters will not overlook Tram; but if they do, all is not lost. There are some current players who have a good chance of being voted in.
The nickname “The Best Hitter on the Planet” is only given to one person. With a title like that, it is likely that the owner will someday see the inside of the Hall of Fame. It is a certain bet that Miguel Cabrera will be a part of Cooperstown. And, he will most likely be admitted on his very first go-round.
In every single one of his thirteen years in the major leagues, he has received votes for the MVP award. He has won it twice. But, more importantly, he is one of only two living people with the AL Triple Crown. The other is the great Carl Yastrzemski. Cabrera has six Silver Slugger awards and an oWAR of 72.1 after 13 seasons. He has a World Series ring from his rookie year in Miami and a handful of batting titles. It is hard to argue that Cabrera will not be in the Hall.
Another current player who is on his way is Justin Verlander. While his last season and a half have not been up-to-par, his history on the mound proves that he has what it takes to be a Hall-of-Famer. He has earned a number of top awards, including the Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, and MVP award. He is in the elite company of very few pitchers who have earned both the Cy Young and the MVP in the same season. Fellow Tigers Willie Hernandez and Denny McLain. McLain’s arch rival, Bob Gibson won the awards the same year as McLain. Other pitchers include Clayton Kershaw, Dennis Eckersley, Roger Clemens, Rollie Fingers, Don Newcombe, and Sandy Koufax.
Verlander also has a pitching Triple Crown. He and Kershaw both earned it in 2011. Again, this award places Verlander in elite company with several other pitchers who are already enshrined. If JV can continue pitching like he was at the end of 2015, his Hall of Fame chances will continue to improve.
Too many of the other current Tigers do have enough experience to be good bets for the Hall of Fame. However, there are a few players who have the potential to develop into Hall of Famers. If 2015 was not a fluke for J.D. Martinez, he could power-hit his way into the Hall if he can repeat and improve upon his 2015 stats. Jose Iglesias could perform shortstop acrobatics into the Hall someday, too – especially if he can stay hot at the plate and free of injuries. Though just a rookie, James McCann plays with the attitude of a future Hall of Famer and continuous error-free seasons could be just the start.
Unfortunately, veteran favorites like Ian Kinsler and Victor Martinez simply do not have the annual awards and stats to make their way in. Kinsler does have a respectable WAR of 46.7 in his 10 seasons, but not enough All-Star performances and the Gold Glove has remained elusive. He has too much competition with Jose Altuve.
Victor Martinez does have solid numbers in his 13 seasons, but like Kinsler, he does not have enough awards. There are other designated hitters with better numbers, like David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez. Even Martinez’s replacement in 2012, Prince Fielder has outstanding numbers as a DH.