Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Which Ones are the Great Ones?

I've been thinking over the past couple of days while I've been in the car listening to baseball games or watching them on TV, who are the great players, right now, who will be Hall of Famers in 15-20 years? Some names are obvious and come to mind quickly like Albert Pujols, Ken Griffey Jr., or Johan Santana, but there are some other players who are in the twilight of their career or who are just blossoming who are worth watching and who may someday be among the greatest of all time. I don't necessarily want to talk about the "no-doubters" here, I want to shed light on some of the overlooked or those who may surprise you with their stats. As my guide, I'll use Baseball-Reference's Hall of Fame Calculator and player comparison tool. Today's feature is: Todd Helton.

According to Baseball Reference, Helton is one of the those players who are borderline Hall of Fame material and he makes a perfect candidate for what I'm trying to do here. 5 years ago, Helton was fantasy baseball gold. He hit for average, he hit for power and he was dependable. Over the past few years, he has gotten hurt some and he has started to show his age (he'll be 36 this year). Some people have started to forget just how offensively awesome Helton was though:

1672 Career Games (so far)
Lifetime .328 hitter
He'll pass 2,000 hits this year
1,121 career RBI
310 career HRs
.427 Career OBP
1,146 career Runs
.996 Career Fielding %
3-time Gold Glove Winner
4-time Silver Slugger
Batted .372 in 2000

Now, he's not going to blow you away in any of those categories, but if you look as his body of work as a whole, you get the picture of a consistent player who has, somewhat quietly, put together a way-above-average career. Just looking at the numbers, Baseball-Reference compares Helton to the likes of Johnny Mize, Chuck Klein, Hank Greenberg, and Joe DiMaggio, all Hall-of-famers themselves. I think ultimately, Helton's recent decline back into baseball obscurity may hurt his chances at the Hall of Fame, but he is nevertheless a player who is still playing right now who has the credentials to make it. Just look at the form...


  1. Very nice write up. I think Helton needs to play for several more years to make it into the HoF. 2500 hits would really increase his chances.

  2. I don't think he's got it in him. He was hurt 1/2 of last year and is off to a very slow start this year. A move to the AL where he could play DH would be beneficial and might extend his career by a year or two but he's definitely on the tail-end of his career.