Who Will Be The Next Braves Hall of Famer?

With Andruw Jones’ current voting numbers, it doesn’t look promising that he’ll succeed Chipper Jones as the next Braves’ player in the Hall. Could time on the ballot benefit him? Absolutely, but let’s assume the voters continue to think that his early exit and 67 career fWAR isn’t enough to enshrine him. Who could be next? The obvious answer would be Freddie Freeman, but is it so obvious?

First, let me address that it will probably not be Tim Hudson. Tim amassed 52 career fWAR in his 18 year career, which puts him with the likes of Mark Buerhle, Javier Vazquez, Kevin Appier, Roy Oswalt, and Bartolo Colon, guys that probably won’t make the Hall. Of more historical examples, you’ve got Vida Blue and people you probably haven’t heard of because, of course, they weren’t noteworthy enough to make the Hall. Luis Tiant, perhaps a name you’re more familiar with, produced a few more fWAR, and he couldn’t get through the committee. So we probably won’t see Tim in Cooperstown.

As a point of formality, I don’t see anyone else eliciting a conversation. Andrelton Simmons, entering his age-28 season, has already amassed 19.7 fWAR, but let’s not re-open those wounds. If he played until he was 41 like Ozzie Smith did, and his bat continues to develop, he could get into the 70 fWAR territory that really gets players some consideration. But even if he did, he wouldn’t have Atlanta on his cap, so it’s moot.

So, really, it’s Freddie. He’s entering his age-28 season, and he’s accumulated 25.3 fWAR so far. By Chipper Jones’ age-28 season, he was at 27.4 fWAR, and he debuted at age 23 like Freddie did. Within that time, Chipper had produced two 7 fWAR seasons, something Freddie has not been able to do, but Chipper would not have another one until a resurgent age-36 season. So let’s assume that Freddie continues to have a 5 fWAR peak for the next 5 seasons, then he begins a traditional decline. That would give him around 50 fWAR by age-33, then it would depend on how he declines. If he can muster a graceful decline for the next 5 seasons at 3.5 fWAR, then he’ll end his age-38 season with 67.5 fWAR. At that point, he would be right on the bubble with guys like Jim Thome (69 fWAR and currently receiving 93% of the vote) and Edgar Martinez (65.5 fWAR and currently getting 80% of the vote).

But if not Freddie Freeman, then no one else in the current crop of Braves appears headed for a Hall of Fame trajectory. But if you’d like another name, how about Ronald Acuna, baby?

Is fWAR too simple to determine a player’s Hall of Fame credentials? Have I over-stated or under-stated his peak and/or decline? Heaven forbid, did I forget anyone?

106 thoughts on “Who Will Be The Next Braves Hall of Famer?”

  1. Kimbrel compares favorably to any relief pitcher in the Hall… any relief pitcher ever, really. If he keeps it up for several more years he has a shot. Of course, no guarantee he goes in as a Brave in that case.

  2. I listen to some of the Hall of Fame debates and read articles about why a writer chose this guy over this guy, and it’s just so subjective that it’s hard for me to take the Hall seriously as a whole. Since WAR is meant to determine value across eras and positions and isn’t influenced by popularity or media market, I find myself just setting 65-70 fWAR is sort of a cut off for a player. Mariano Rivera, as great as he is, and how high profile those last 3 outs are at Yankee Stadium, still only amassed 39.7 fWAR and 56.6 bWAR.

    Kimbrel is at 18 fWAR and 17.5 bWAR so far, and relievers just can’t create that much value. If it were me, there wouldn’t be many relievers, if at all, in the Hall. Call me when you can go 7 innings.

  3. @3

    You can tell that to yourself again when Rivera easily gets in on the first ballot.

    Generally, I think the best of every position should have a place in the Hall. Therefore, Edgar Martinez should’ve been in the Hall long ago and the best relief pitchers should also be in. Just my opinion.

    I also think this might be a good example of fWAR’s limitations insofar as using it as the sole metric for whether somebody should be in the Hall of Fame.

  4. Freddie would have to do a lot of improving and have some serious longevity to be considered a HOF to me. I think his greatness has been magnified because he’s played on such mediocre teams.

    He has almost no Black Ink, his Gray Ink is pretty good, His HOF Monitor is about 1/4 of a likely HOF and his Standards are about half.

    None of his top ten closest comps are HOF although his most similar by age for every year he’s played has been Eddie Murray, a HOF.

    I’d say his chances of being a HOF’er are probably 35%-45%.

  5. From the last post…I don’t like the pitch clock either.
    If you really want to speed the game up then don’t let guys step out of the box and get undressed every freaking pitch.

  6. From the above responses, all very reasonable, you would have to conclude – NONE, in the foreseeable future.

    Make it more personal next – in your lifetime? Rob is 31 – so he can wait, say, 50 more years for the big HOF day. Question is is that long enough knowing the Braves and their inclination to rebuild, get slammed in NY etc?

    If you’re now, anxiously, projecting your remaining term around here, and elsewhere, i give you Ronald Acuna. 2058…maybe. Where does that leave you?

  7. Relax, the big-ticket FA we’ll sign to launch us into contention will go into the HOF with a tomahawk on his cap.

  8. Here’s something I found interesting on the HOF ballot. WAR7 takes a players 7 highest WAR seasons (don’t have to be consecutive) and of course the top 2 are who you’d think (Bonds 72.7, Clemens 66.3)

    The rest are a little surprising

    3 Schilling 49.0
    4 Chipper 46.6
    5 Andruw 46.4
    6 Johan 44.8
    7 LWalker 44.6
    8 Mussina 44.5
    9 Sosa 43.7
    10 Edgar 43.6
    11 Rolen 43.5
    12 Thome 41.5
    13 Vlad 41.1
    14 Manny 39.0
    15 Zambrano 39.0
    16 Sheffield 37.9
    17 McGriff 35.8

    24 Vizquel 26.7

    30 Wagner 19.9
    31 Hoffman 19.6

  9. Continuing the thought, it really goes to show haw great Andruw’s peak was. He’s #5 on this year’s list and going back over the last 10 years HOF elections his WAR7 is behind only:

    Rickey
    Griffey
    Maddux
    Big Unit
    Pedro
    Blyleven
    Bagwell

    And he is ahead of:

    Raines
    I Rod
    Piazza
    Trammell
    Morris
    Glavine
    Frank Thomas
    Larkin
    Smoltz
    Biggio
    Alomar
    Dawson
    Rice
    Gossage

  10. One of the biggest criticisms that I have of the Braves organization is that they promote individual players too heavily, ala the NBA. What this does, is it puts them in a bind transactionally. The decision to demote Swanson IMO was made much harder by this than it should have been.

    To be honest, during this rebuild, I think and have thought all along that trading Freddie would have been the best non-marketing related move to have been made. It sounds like blasphemy, and probably does to some on here, but they have not won with just him. The post above made me think about this.

    I have a theory that losing teams hold onto their ‘one’ star too long because they’re afraid of the feeling that ‘now we have nothing’. The converse is that you use that one star to get 2-3 players much better than the other 8 that you may have, hence causing you to be a losing team.

    I’ve said for years, I am not a Freddie Freeman fan, an Acuna fan etc. I’m an Atlanta Braves fan.

    Just my rambling inane opinions…YMMV.

  11. Acuna will be in the HoF by no later than 2043, blazon. Count it.

    The problem with taking the 7 highest WAR seasons is that that doesn’t seem to be a criteria for the HoF. That’s what burns me a little on the Keltner List and even Black Ink. Andruw’s Black Ink is almost guaranteed to be poor because he played in the steroid era. The Keltner List draws on some of the same principles, but also puts Andruw at a disadvantage because he spent the bulk of his peak with four first ballot Hall of Famers.

    I would really be interested to see someone do the math on how often the top fWAR players are in or out of the HoF. Unless you’re someone like Jackie Robinson (57.2 career fWAR) where you made a profound impact on the game, I would hope who should be in is in and vice versa. I would bet it gets it right 90% of the time.

    Another interesting Braves related HoF tidbit is that Jason Heyward has 30.2 career fWAR through age 28. And if he hadn’t taken a round ball to the shnozz, it’d be even higher. Of course, 2017 doesn’t make his long-term prospects look very good, but he could put together a career that makes his HoF consideration very interesting.

  12. The decision to demote Swanson IMO was made much harder by this than it should have been.

    Completely agreed, and frames up the rest of your point quite well. But it’s an entertainment industry. Who are you going to promote? Chief Nocahoma (see what I did there?) and that dancing groundskeeper? Jurrjens’ Surgeons?

  13. I suppose my argument regarding WAR7 is it seems to be the best stat to measure peak in the whole peak vs longevity discussion.

    And Andruw does great in the peak discussion, his best 7 years were virtually identical to Chipper’s from a value perspective and better than I Rod, Trammell, Larkin, Alomar (to choose a few guys with strong defensive numbers).

    It should at least be instructive to those who are checking the box for Vizquel and not Andruw.

  14. I will say that I paid more attention to this year’s vote because of the discussion on BJ and through the guy that tracks public votes. I think that the HOF needs to seriously seriously look at the criteria, how the voters are chosen, maybe have some sort of panel because if you look at each individual ballot in reference to the others, its kind of silly and crazy.

    One guy votes for Johnny Damon and Vizquel but not Chipper etc. It’s too much ‘beat writer bias’ IMO for my liking.

    Maybe come up with some criteria for some minimum thresholds for enshrinement. I.E you have to have played X number of years barring certain circumstances. As Rob said a couple days ago, its WAY too subjective for my liking.

  15. @22 sums it up well. As arguably the best fielder in history at a crucial position, his best comps are Ozzie, Brooks Robinson, and Mazeroski. The problem is that Andruw ceased being very good at all at age 30. Ozzie and Brooks played until they were 40, and even Maz was still a very good defensive second baseman in his 14th year in the bigs.

    To get in if you’ve put in no more than 10 productive years in the big leagues, you’d better be Koufax or Dizzy Dean. (Are there any other HOFers who did nothing after age 30?)

    Even so, as I think I said on here before, Andruw would have my vote. His GOAT defense, combined with being a pretty good hitter, ought to do it. As Dusty notes, his 7 year peak was pretty remarkable.

  16. First, the criteria for what constitutes a Hall of Famer is purely subjective and arbitrary. There are more than a few members of the HOF who should never have been admitted, but were; mostly through the veterans committee and who played in the 30’s – 40’s.

    It seems to me that a relatively high level of performance over a long period of time is more important than peak performance. Thus a high, but relative short peak vs. career doesn’t guarantee HOF admission.

    Andruw Jones is in the same HOF purgatory as another Braves favorite – Dale Murphy. He wasn’t great for a long enough period, and had he not moved to NY his #s might not have been much better than Murphs.

    Just my subjective and arbitrary opinion.

  17. I wouldn’t say Andruw did *nothing* after age 30. He was a very good 4th OF for 3 years in his age 32-34 seasons. If you want to say that wasn’t enough to warrant a decent enough decline phase to be HOF worthy, that’s fair, but I wouldn’t say he did nothing at all.

    Edit: Why do my comments keep going to moderation? This is the 4th or 5th time in a row now.

  18. There are a bunch from the early 20th century. Addie Joss, Chief Bender, Amos Rusie immediately come to mind. Those are pitchers. Hugh Duffy was an outfielder and he didn’t do much after 30.

    I’m of the mind that Andruw should be in. We’re in an era in which fielding isn’t valued as much as it has been in the past. Perceptions will change. He’ll eventually get in.

    And then he can join Phil Rizzuto and Jim Rice.

  19. IMHO, the “lazy” vs “made it look easy” perception is hurting his chances. No doubt he should be in. A freaking fly-ball-gobbling outerspace gazelle in cf. For years and years. His peak is enough for me.

    p.s. don’t mind ads, but can they not be in the middle of a comment. (Edit) OK, now it is gone. That was fast!

  20. Carle, Shane
    ML record-9 IP/9K/0 BB-explain
    an acquisition for the ages
    to fill these and many other pages.

  21. Monument Valley
    a statue, of sorts, outside in the alley
    just seems more conducive
    self selection you know, no longer elusive.

  22. Right. There was a minute there where “was totally buds with Joe Morgan” was totally “qualification” for the Hall. There’s a reason why Bill James, back when he was angry that his favorite players from the 70’s and 80’s were getting snubbed, called his HOF book “The Politics of Glory.” (Now that it’s players from the 90’s and 2000’s on the ballot, James has fully become the grumpy old man refusing to consider them young whippersnapper players as any possible equal to his glorious childhood heroes.)

  23. If you’re really interested in tracking Freddie’s tenuous HOF case, you should pay close attention to Todd Helton in 2019.

  24. Really sorry about the weird ads. When I switched over the email accounts for hosting and everything, I had to recreate some scripts, and it’s changing the layout a little bit. The “ads in the middle of a random comment” is very odd and not intended. This place is a local bar, not the outfield walls of a minor league stadium.

    The Hall of Fame voting this year is interesting for the reasons Chief cited, but also to Braves fans because we felt like Chipper had a shot at being unanimous because of the transparent voting mentioned, but also because Andruw seems to be getting a little hosed and in danger of falling off the ballot. And our offseason is exceptionally slow, unless you think penalties are fun. But we’ve never had two players on the polar opposites of the voting spectrum, and I can’t remember a time where we’ve been this deep into January with not a single player signed to a major league contract.

  25. @27 & 29 – Are you accessing through a VPN? I’ve had it hit me as well on occasion when doing so.

    https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-braves-time-to-spend-could-be-now/

    It’s interesting; I feel were Coppy still in charge we’d be hammering on the points in the above article more than we have been. Given that AA is new though, it’s almost like we’ve semi-reset the expectation clock a bit while he gets up to speed. Part of that is reasonable in the sense you need to know what you have; none of us want him to trade away or block the wrong guys

    That said, there does seem to be an opening in both the FA market and competitive landscape and I wouldn’t be upset with having some contending expectations going into next year…

  26. I don’t think the owners are colluding formally in FA, but the big money crazy deals appear to be over. Which is a very good sign for us. I expect this trend to continue given viewership and the aging demographic/Boomers dying off/millenials being mainly uninterested.

    It seems silly to me to NOT go after Yelich at this point or to not sign Moustakas.

  27. I had read the FG article and started to post a link. It was good.

    Taking their specific premise, if you get Moustakas, then you can use Riley in your deal for Yellich. And if you add both of them, that is enough that IF the young pitchers hit their 70% reasonable projection for this year, you are in the playoff hunt and depending on who you move for Yellich, you should still be moving up in 2019.

  28. 20 wins won’t come from two players. We have to have the young pitching meet or exceed our already lofty expectations. If we get signs of that this season, then I’m positive they’ll spend for 2019.

    2018 looks like it might be another case of “well, the team isn’t good enough yet, no reason to spend big”. That’s a state that you can stay in indefinitely – which is everyone’s fear.

    I reserve the right to be pleasantly surprised by a big move this year. I just don’t see it being a target-rich market.

  29. Hi! This is Rusty S. for Captain D’s!

    I love D’s seafood, D’s fries, and D’s nuts. So, come on down to Captain D’s!

  30. https://sports.yahoo.com/heres-baseballs-economic-system-might-broken-224638354.html

    This article addresses that. There’s no collusion. Teams would rather sign Odubel Herrera or Ender Inciarte 3 years into their career for another 5 vs. paying a guy a 7 year deal on his decline phase. Simple as that.

    But the article does address what seems to be most important to the players: more amenities and flexibility and less about maximize agent salaries. I think that’s interesting.

  31. I like the thought behind the Fangraphs piece and hope we field a competitive team as soon as possible. Count me out on Mike Moustakas and his career .305 OBP though. Outside of last season he’s never hit enough homers for a guy who strikes out a lot and never walks. A multi-year deal for a guy like that is the last thing we need.

  32. I wouldn’t be aghast at a 1 or 2-year pillow contract for Moose. I wouldn’t want anything longer than that.

  33. Sam, it’s been a long time since you’ve posted anything that I didn’t agree with. Are you well? Am I? What the heck is going on?

  34. Perhaps with Chief around ramping the rank insanity quotient up to eleventy-billion, we’ll find there is less space between normal people who reasonable disagree than either side and “batshit insane moon bunnies.”

    Feel free to apply this to any other topic of interest outside of this blog as you see fit.

  35. My vouch for Moustakas was more in light of this dampened slow market. I wouldn’t do a lot of years or a lot of money, either. But he’s better than what we have.

  36. @53 I’d say there’s a not insignificant chance that Acuna is better than Yelich this season. So, no, absolutely not.

  37. Longtime Braves fan and reader, but never posted before.

    Also no to Acuna for Yelich. Young players with very high upside have a special appeal, at least to me. One can imagine a great career, and Acuna provides more upside hope in that regard.

    One thing people forget when valuing a player’s next n seasons at x WAR for a certain contract amount is that young players sometimes do sign extensions that extend team control (like Trout or Yelich) which may then provide additional value beyond what might be considered for the initial period of team control. Yelich has already done this, so there is no upside there. Acuna could still, which is an additional pro-Acuna factor.

  38. Do not trade Acuna or Albies please. If you want to make Dansby part of the package, I promise not to complain.

  39. Dusty asked a question, I answered it and expounded on my answer. Anyone that’s sure that 125 ABs of Albies is preferable to 2000 ABs of a known commodity… well…

    That’s what trades DO. You give up X to get Y in hopes you can replace X with Z.

  40. In an ideal world, you’d deal from a position of strength. Based on the deals we’ve made the last 3 years, trading 3 pitching prospects of varying quality would be preferable to trading one elite position player prospect. If we had traded for a lot of quality position players, then that’s a different story. I would hope, and almost assume, Acuna and Albies (or Swanson even) would be “untouchables”. I don’t think there’s a single pitching prospect who is truly “untouchable”.

  41. Anyone that’s sure that 125 ABs of Albies is preferable to 2000 ABs of a known commodity… well…

    There’s also Albies’ additional years of control and affordability relative even to Yelich’s cheap deal.

  42. Albies is one of the most valuable commodities in the game right now.

    Until stupid Victor Robles got the call, Albies was the youngest player in MLB, and he has done nothing but succeed so far. He’s as cheap and controllable as he’s ever going to be.

    That’s just in a vacuum. I wouldn’t trade him for Yelich without a good backup plan for 2B/SS, and Camargo ain’t it. And if the Marlins are asking for Acuna, they aren’t serious about trading Yelich, and this is all moot anyway.

  43. @66 is just false, undue cynicism. We have the best farm system in baseball. We have handfuls of high end pitching prospects. You can’t flip them for Mike Trout, but it’s a position of strength for the organization.

  44. Somehow I missed that Yelich, only one of the most discussed players this offseason, is under control through 2021. That changes things for me. The Fangraphs piece gets it right.

  45. @68, Adam R.,

    ACTUALLY Yellich is controled through 2022. AND that last year is a club option. So, you have no obligation if the 10% worst case happens and he has a major injury or drop off.

    So, yes Acuna straight up for Yellich is not unreasonable. But in the Braves specific situation (need Acuna and another outfielder or need then 2 outfielders), it doesn’t make sense.

  46. Yeah — Yelich is a really good player on a preposterously underpaid contract. It’s not a crazy ask, but given where the franchise is right now, Acuna’s probably worth more to the Braves than Yelich would be. That said, Yelich is only 26 and it’s possible we haven’t seen his true peak. If he has one of those age-27 spikes and shows that he can be an MVP contender, he’d be worth a lot more than Acuna.

    Also: http://legacy.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/

  47. Yeah — Yelich is a really good player on a preposterously underpaid contract. It’s not a crazy ask, but given where the franchise is right now, Acuna’s probably worth more to the Braves than Yelich would be. That said, Yelich is only 26 and it’s possible we haven’t seen his true peak. If he has one of those age-27 spikes and shows that he can be an MVP contender, he’d be worth a lot more than Acuna

  48. You’d almost just assume he’d see a bump being a LHH going from Marlins Park to STP. The only thing missing from his game is significant power, and he could add to that nicely in our park.

    I get the feeling that the Marlins, after the underwhelming hauls for Ozuna and Stanton in their fans’ eyes, will want players more MLB ready. Trading someone like Teheran could get us out of giving up elite prospects, and I’d imagine they’d be willing to take on Teheran’s contract even with where they are in their payroll situation. It also be an easier sell to their fans with everything going on. Same thing, to a lesser extent, with Folty.

  49. Yelich has no bargaining power against the Marlins, regardless of how “broken” the relationship is. He’s under contract.

    The Marlins have no bargaining power over bidders, having already set the table for what they’ll take in return with Ozuna and Stanton. They can ask for the moon, but that doesn’t mean anyone will give it to them.

  50. And now we’re back to the age old question of whether or not billion dollar franchises can be distressed over elite talent. My answer continues to be the same: hell nah. You want Yelich? There’s a thriving market of 29 teams. The market decides. Unless everyone gets on the phone and decides to all offer 90% of value, then there’s no distress.

  51. My assumption is that Yelich will be eventually moved. It might wait until mid-season when some team wants to part with more for a young difference maker down the stretch. We will see. I would not move Acuna for him, regardless of his obvious talent and impact. I would not move Albies for him, because you’re just gashing a wound open on the IF to buy a tourniquet for the OF. I’d move anyone else in the system for him.

    EDIT/UPDATE: And until JD Martinez is signed *somewhere*, I’m low-balling the Fish on any Yelich talks. If I still have a chance at a pillow deal for Martinez (2-3 years) for LF I’m not breaking the bank for Yelich.

  52. I think Yelich is moved once the free agents start signing.

    I am not sure I would move Acuna for him though. This guy appears to be someone you build a lineup around. I wouldn’t mind rolling the dice to see if he will be an elite player.

  53. In other news, today, in support of their upcoming tour, Def Leppard released their entire discography on streaming services. 1989 me would not be happy with how much straight New Wave pop production 2018 me is hearing while revisiting “Hysteria.”

  54. Either of “Women and Children First” or “Fair Warning” first. But if you’re moving into your late 80’s Van Hagar catalog, I’m sticking with “Hysteria.”

  55. Blasphemy!
    Def Leppard tour this summer, yeah, i want to go.
    And just saw GNR at MSG this past fall.
    Almost 30 years since I last saw them.

  56. Alex Anthopolous
    a calyx and sop o’lust
    in terms purely botanical
    he seeks out all swings entirely mechanical.

  57. GNR were amazing. Us old bastards were blown away by how good they were. And they played for over three straight hours.
    And no microphones were thrown in anger!

  58. RE: the upcoming tour, they’re literally playing “Hysteria” front to back on those shows. I would assume they’d throw some of the bigger hits off of “Pyromania” and/or “High & Dry” into any potential encore, but the plan is to play the album live.

  59. That is great. That cd got a to of play for me. And I am also glad they have the original albums streaming finally.

  60. Ok – so literally no one commented about my post @51. Guess I made it too hard by linking the article:
    https://www.mlb.com/news/ozzie-albies-age-20-debut-stands-up-to-history/c-264419106
    Rather than giving the easily digested summary.

    Yes, Ozzie has less than 1 full season under his belt. But the folks who have had his level of success, at that age, is astonishingly small, and astonishingly talented. Now granted, some of these guys, their wRC+ was way higher than Ozzie’s (I think there was a reason that they used 110 wRC+ and 240 PAs, in that they were favorable cut-offs for Ozzie). And maybe he’s not going to the HOF…but he’s off to a way better start than most people predicted. And you definitely don’t trade someone with his potential, w/o getting a sure thing in return (or as sure as there can be, in this game).

  61. @87

    home grown
    for each his own
    some will leave,not come back
    others return too often, a place to shack.

  62. braves14, I’m not able to see why your comments keep getting flagged. In the past, they’ve recommended creating an account to avoid the issue. Sorry about that.

  63. Gabriel Noguera LHP
    his name sounds as though he’s a pacifist
    second drug offense, not PED
    21 years old GCL 31 IP, 31K, .87 ERA
    YET…considered a non prospect, by age!
    Alice would say curious and curioser.
    We wish him well. Stay.

  64. a 50 game ban
    might be the making of the man
    time to get him off the skids
    then go back, repeat, annihilate those kids.

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