Which Current New York Yankees Players Are On The Road To Cooperstown?January 24, 2020
Over the past two years, the New York Yankees have seen Mariano Rivera and Mike Mussina enter the Hall of Fame via ballots cast by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, with Derek Jeter on deck.
With Jeter, there will be 61 former pinstriped players, managers or executives in the Hall of Fame. So far, 23 have been inducted as Yankees.
Here’s a look at some potential Cooperstown candidates on the Yankees’ current roster and how they project:Aroldis Chapman
Hall trajectory: Supporters of Billy Wagner’s Hall of Fame candidacy should note the similarities in Chapman’s stats:
ERA: Chapman 2.23; Wagner 2.31
WHIP: Chapman 1.023; Wagner 0.998
Strikeouts per nine innings: Chapman 14.8; Wagner 11.9
Going forward: Wagner had 422 saves and Chapman (273), a six-time All-Star, could exceed that total in less than five seasons if healthy; the flame-throwing lefty turns 32 next month. Another world championship or two would also help Chapman’s cause.
Outlook: At this pace, he’ll merit a serious look.Reader — our columnists travel the country to break pro sports news and provide insightful analysis. Support our team by subscribing today —see our special offers. Gerrit Cole
Hall trajectory: It’s early yet, at age 29, but Cole’s standout last two All-Star seasons – and his huge free-agent payday – have stamped him as one of the game’s current elite starters.
Cole already has three top-five Cy Young award finishes, and he’s posted a 2.60 ERA in 10 postseason starts with a 0.868 WHIP.
Going forward: A Cy Young award or two, 250-or-so wins and a couple of Yankees World Series rings would be a pretty good Hall dossier.
Outlook: Three or four more All-Star seasons moves him into the conversation.
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Hall trajectory: He’s had one Hall of Fame season, his monster rookie year. Injuries have significantly interrupted his last two seasons and he’s now into his prime; Judge turns 28 in April.
But the potential is there for several more outstanding seasons as the leader of contending Yankees teams well into his 30s.
Going forward: Good health is obviously essential to his cause, as well as toward fulfilling the team’s ultimate goals. A string of 40-homer seasons, regular consideration in the MVP race and October glory are all in play.
Outlook: Too early to tell, but has the ingredients. Gary Sanchez
Hall trajectory: He just turned 27 last month and already has 105 home runs – 85 as a catcher – despite averaging just 397 at-bats per season since his rookie onslaught (53 games in 2016).
There is potential for historic power numbers as a catcher, and for Sanchez to be in plenty of MVP conversations if he can stay healthy and improve his contact rate.
His chances are much better if he remains at his position, but defense will also factor in.
Going forward: Right now, Sanchez (.846) has a similar OPS to Jorge Posada (.848), but Sanchez already has two 30-homer seasons to Posada’s one.
Posada, who has four World Series rings, fell off the Hall of Fame ballot after one year.
Outlook: Needs several more complete seasons as a dominating offensive force.Giancarlo Stanton
Hall trajectory: Based on Bill James’ methodology at Baseball-Reference.Com, Stanton compares favorably to Hall of Famers Harmon Killebrew, Reggie Jackson, Ralph Kiner and Jim Thome through his age 29 season.
Of course, Stanton’s struggles to remain healthy (he’s had just three seasons of at least 150 games) and his limited postseason experience haven’t helped his Hall of Fame cause to date.
Going forward: There’s undoubtedly more pressure for Stanton to perform in the Bronx fishbowl, with the expectation of being a prominent part of a championship lineup.
Good health is paramount to achieving the power numbers, MVP finishes and October success that leads to Cooperstown.
Outlook: If he can stay on the field into his mid-30s, you might like his chances.Gleyber Torres
Hall trajectory: Naturally, it’s way too early for this conversation.
However, Torres is off to a flying start as an offensive presence with the maturity and instincts to be a prominent leader of several championship teams.
Having just turned 23, Torres – already a two-time All-Star – has embraced his important role on a Yankees team with designs on multiple World Series appearances.
Going forward: Moving back full-time to his natural shortstop position after beginning his Yankees career at second base, Torres’ defense will be under more scrutiny.
He’s already exceeded expectations as a power hitter.
Cutting down on strikeouts and increasing his batting and on-base percentages would help propel him onto plenty of MVP ballots.
Outlook: The sky is the limit.
Pete Caldera is the Yankees beat writer for NorthJersey.Com. For unlimited access to all Yankees analysis, news, trades and more, please subscribe today and download our app