For failing to garner 5% of votes cast this year, Juan Gonzalez will be dropped from the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot next year, leaving the Kansas City Royals with no former players on the regular ballot.
Do the Royals have any chance of getting a player in the Hall anytime soon? It’s looking like it will be a very long time.
As I documented in a previous article, few former Royals have ever received significant support to be in the Hall. In fact, few have ever even received the requisite 5% to remain eligible.
Two current players with an outside chance at making it might even consider wearing the Royals’ cap, were they to make it to Cooperstown. Carlos Beltran and Johnny Damon have a shot, and each spent a significant portion of his career in KC.
But according to a Baseball-Reference ranking system, a couple of other former Royals might actually have a better shot at making the hall. A graph called the Hall of Fame Monitor shows that the next in line with the best shot at the Hall is actually none other than… Jason Kendall.
Shocked? I was.
Next after Kendall? Roberto Hernandez.
Disgusted? I was.
The system ranks former players and attempts to predict the chances of current and recently retired players of being elected to the Hall. It awards points for a variety of accomplishments and especially rewards longevity and offensive output from catchers and shortstops. The system describes itself as follows:
This is another Jamesian creation. It attempts to assess how likely (not how deserving) an active player is to make the Hall of Fame. It’s rough scale is 100 means a good possibility and 130 is a virtual cinch. It isn’t hard and fast, but it does a pretty good job.
Gonzalez actually came in with a rating of 120, the exact same rating as the newly inducted Barry Larkin. Gonzalez ranks ahead of a number of Hall of Famers, including recently elected outfielder Andre Dawson. But Gonzalez was undoubtedly penalized for his link to performance-enhancing drugs.
With Gonzalez now gonzo, the former Royal with the most reasonable chance now is Kendall with a 108 ranking. But while the system says a 100 ranking would indicate a chance, don’t tell that to former Royals Vida Blue, David Cone and Bob Boone. Each was over 100 and got nary a sniff from the voters.
Beltran comes in surprisingly low (in my mind) at just 92. He is penalized mostly for a low number of career hits and a low career average. When he reaches 400 homers and 2000 career hits (this season?), his ranking will jump considerably.
Damon sits currently at 90 points. If he could somehow reach the 3000 hit mark (273 away) he would become a virtual lock for the Hall. According to the system, that’s about his only shot.
Such systems are not without flaws, and it’s not hard to find some rankings you disagree with. Personally I don’t like seeing Hernandez (93 points) come in ahead of Dan Quisenberry (77) and Jeff Montgomery (74).
But like the system or not, it illustrates the sad truth. Unless the Royals acquire some aged star who’s playing out the twilight of his career (see former Royals Harmon Killebrew, Gaylord Perry and Orlando Cepeda), it could be more than a decade before we think about a Royal joining George Brett in Cooperstown.
Former Royals Chances of Making the Hall of Fame, According to the Baseball Reference Hall of Fame Monitor:
Batters eligible – Top 200 all time (rank #, total points):
#116 (tie) Juan Gonzalez – 120 points
#153 (tie) Bob Boone – 102 points
#176 Vada Pinson – 95 points
#177 (tie) Benito Santiago – 94 points
Batters not yet eligible – Top 100 (rank #, total points):
#27 (tie) Jason Kendall – 108 points
#38 Carlos Beltran – 92 points
#40 Johnny Damon – 90 points
#77 Mark Grudzielanek – 49 points
#78 (tie) Jermaine Dye – 48 points
#78 (tie) Mike Sweeney – 48 points
Pitchers eligible – Top 200 (rank #, total points):
#78 (tie) Vida Blue – 114 points
#93 David Cone – 103 points
#152 (tie) Dan Quisenberry – 77 points
#161 (tie) Jeff Montgomery – 74 points
#167 (tie) Bret Saberhagen – 70 points
Pitchers not yet eligible – Top 100 (rank #, total points):
Batters already in – Top 200 (rank #, total points):
#39 George Brett – 210 points
#55 (tie) Harmon Killebrew – 178 points
#108 (tie) Orlando Cepeda – 126 points
Pitchers already in – Top 200 (rank #, total points):
#29 Gaylord Perry – 177 points