Thursday Thoughts: 4 Mets with Hall of Fame cases
The New York Mets have a few former players who are either on the Hall of Fame ballot or will be in the next couple of years. Some will likely get in, others might not, but let’s examine the cases for each.
Mets Hall of Fame Candidate #1: Billy Wagner
I did a deep dive on Wagner last week, so I won’t rehash that too much here. I’ll just say that it’s ridiculous that a top-five reliever in MLB history will take at least SEVEN ballots to get inducted into The Hall.
Mets Hall of Fame Candidate #2: David Wright
The Captain will undoubtedly make the Mets HOF, but he’s a long shot for the MLB Hall. He was on pace to get there, but his inability to stay healthy is ultimately what will keep him out.
Wright’s case is largely based on his peak performance, since he didn’t play long enough to rack up the counting stats voters seek. From his call-up in 2004 through his 2013 season, Wright averaged an OPS+ 0f 137 and 4.7 WAR over nine years. He finished in the top ten of MVP voting four times and won two Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers. There’s at least a conversation to be had here, since Wright was among the best at his position for so long. Former teammate Jacob deGrom’s HOF case will also be based on peak performance.
Some of his numbers compare favorably to recent-inductee Scott Rolen. All of Wright’s rate stats are better (.296/.376/.491/.867 to Rolen's .281/.364/.490/.855), his OPS + is higher (133 to 122), and he had more stolen bases (196 to 118). However, Wright lacks in nearly every other counting stat, including WAR, which Rolen racked up 70.1 of to Wright’s 49.2 (typically 60 WAR is the benchmark to get into The Hall).
Mets Hall of Fame Candidate #3: Carlos Beltran
Beltran had both peak and longevity, so he fits both statistical criteria. He finished his career with a .279/.350/.486/.837 slashline with 435 homers, 1,587 RBI’s, an OPS+ of 119, and 70.1 WAR. His peak was from 2001-2008 when he racked up 47 WAR and hit 234 of his homers with a 125 OPS+. After dealing with injuries in 2009 and 2010, he caught a second wind from 2011-2016.
If we’re just talking about Carlos Beltran the player, this is a pretty easy HOF case and he gets in. But it won’t be that simple, because Beltran was a catalyst in the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal in 2017. That cost him the Mets managerial position a couple of years ago, and if he somehow doesn’t get elected to the HOF, it could be a major reason why. If he gets in, it will likely be in a Mets cap.
Mets Hall of Fame Candidate #4: Keith Hernandez
Keith is regarded as the best defensive first baseman in baseball history, he literally changed the way defense was played at first. His 11 consecutive Gold Gloves is still the record for first basemen and tied for 5th all-time overall.
Hernandez could swing the bat too, he slashed .296/.384/.436/.821 with a 128 OPS+ and 60.3 WAR. He won an MVP award and appeared on the ballot in eight consecutive seasons.
It’s beyond me how Keith Hernandez isn’t already in The Hall, but I think he’ll eventually get his due through the Era Committees.
Other Mets Hall of Fame Candidates
A few other former Mets will join the ballot this year including Jose Reyes, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, and Bartolo Colon. I definitely don’t see Reyes or Bautista getting in, and Gonzalez seems unlikely too. Colon has a chance. He pitched for 21 years, won a Cy Young, and hit arguably the most memorable home run in MLB history. He’d likely go in as an Angel or Indian, unless he chooses to go in logo-less.
I was disappointed to see Jeff Kent fall off the ballot, as many consider him among the best offensive second baseman in baseball history. He has a chance to get in from the Era Committees along with Hernandez, though he’d likely go in as a San Francisco Giant.