New Hall of Fame Barometer

In response to a recent blog by a good friend of mine about future Hall of Fame pitchers, we started discussing current hitters who should make the HOF as well. The list is quite long at this point, which made me start thinking about whether our criteria were still valid for today’s game. With home runs being hit at record paces each and every year, I find it increasingly difficult to use the same qualifications that we used to use when giving out invitations to Cooperstown. With the recent steroid accusations against Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro (who tested positive), Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire, I think it’s important to look beyond the home run when it comes to clean up hitters. The idea of a cleanup hitter is not to just clear the bases with a 450 foot home run, but more importantly to make sure the guys on base score. With that being said, I think instead of 500 home runs being used as the necessary milestone to reach the HOF, we need to include RBI in the equation. I am proposing that the new magic number for power hitters should be 2,000; home runs + RBI should be the new criteria for instant glorification into baseball’s Hall of Fame.

As of July 17, 2006, only two active players qualify under the new benchmark: Barry Bonds (721 home runs + 1,893 RBI = 2,614 combined) and Ken Griffey, Jr. (555 + 1,587 = 2,142). Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa also qualify, however, their situation is worth its own look at another time. Mark McGwire finished at 1,997 (583 + 1,414) and the next closest is Frank Thomas, who is currently at 1,980; however, by the way Thomas has been playing, he probably has twenty solo home runs left in him to reach the milestone. The other players that round out the top 10 are: Jeff Bagwell (1,978), Manny Ramirez (1,940), Gary Sheffield (1,912) and Juan Gonzalez (1,838). I’d say from this group, Ramirez is the only sure thing.

What sparked my thinking on this topic was Jim Thome’s 461 career homeruns. Granted he is a classic modern day “slugger” in all aspects of the world, but with only 1,273 career RBI (total of 1,734 combined HR and RBI), Thome has a little more work to do before he should qualify for enshrinement. Alex Rodriguez (449 + 1,294 = 1,743) is slightly ahead of Thome at this point, but with his history as a short stop, and now a third baseman, he is easily into the Hall, as well as easily past 2,000 combined home runs and RBI in probably more two seasons.

Position does play a big factor in gaining entry into the Hall of Fame, which is why Mike Piazza’s 410 home runs and 1,265 RBI (1,675 combined) easily allows him to join the ranks as one of the greatest hitting catchers of all time.

Looking forward, there a number of young players who will put up a good fight to reach 2,000 combined HR and RBI:

Chipper Jones (34 years old) = 1,514 (345 HRs + 1,169 RBI)

Vladimir Guerrero (30) = 1,331 (325 + 1,006)

Andruw Jones (29) = 1,298 (323 + 975)

Albert Pujols (26) = 936 (232 + 704)

David Ortiz (31) = 925 (209 + 716)

Troy Glaus (29) = 917 (243 + 674)

Carlos Beltran (29) = 908 (188 + 720)

Lance Berkman (30) = 907 (209 + 702)

Pujols appears to be a sure thing, as he is pretty much a sure thing in any discussion about baseball records. Ortiz, Beltran and Berkman have a lot of work to do, but by the way they have been playing, they will almost certainly get close. Glaus was a big surprise to me, however, I don’t think he will keep up the pace to eventually reach 2,000. Jermaine Dye is currently at 982 (217 + 765), however, at the age of 32, I don’t think he comes close.

If there are any others that I missed, please comment below to continue the discussion.

2006 Mock Draft

1. Toronto Raptors – Andrea Bargnani
I don’t know a single thing about this guy, other than that he could be the next Dirk. With no consensus #1, why not Bargnani? Especially with a team from Canada.
Actual Pick: Andrea Bargnani

2. Chicago Bulls – LaMarcus Aldridge
Could go either between Aldridge or Tyrus Thomas, but I think Alridge is the pick. Thomas is too much of a project for a Bulls team that seems to be more comfortable taking NBA ready players (i.e. Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich) ever since they gambled on Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler.
Actual Pick: LaMarcus Aldridge (traded to Portland)

3. Charlotte Bobcats – Adam Morrison
They are beginning to put the pieces together for a very good team, but scoring is still an issue…not anymore with Morrison on board. Starting 5: Emeka Okafor, Sean May, Adam Morrison, Gerald Wallace and Ray Felton…watch out.
Actual Pick: Adam Morrison

4. Portland Trail Blazers – Marcus Williams
As much as the Trail Blazers would love to move away from the “Jail Blazers” stigma, they can’t look past a pass-first point guard who also steal laptops.
Actual Pick: Tyrus Thomas (traded to Chicago)

5. Atlanta Hawks – Shelden Williams
With plenty of scorers on the court for Atlanta (see Marvin Williams, Al Harrington, Josh Smith, Joe Johnson), the Hawks need someone who can clean up the inside. This spot could also go to Tyrus Thomas, but Williams fits the mold better to help right away.
Actual Pick: Shelden Williams

6. Minnesota Timberwolves – Brandon Roy
The steal of the draft so far, Minnesota cannot believe that Roy fell all the way to them. Not since Stephon Marbury have the TImberwolves had a better scoring guard. Kevin Garnett will be extremely happy now that he doesn’t have to take on the entire load…too bad the tea, will still only garner about 35 wins.
Actual Pick: Brandon Roy (traded to Portland)

7. Boston Celtics – Tyrus Thomas
With plenty of weapons, but no real explosive players on the defensive end, Boston make their first good first round choice since Paul Pierce with Thomas. Though he is a project, he is extremely talented on the defensive end of the floor and may have the biggest upside of anyone in the draft.
Actual Pick: Randy Foye (traded to Minnesota)

8. Houston Rockets – Randy Foye
With Rudy Gay still on the board, Houston surprises some with their pick of Foye over the former UConn star. Foye’s ability to play the point guard position, much in the way of Dwyane Wade, is what clinches the pick over Gay, who seems to play the same position as Tracy McGrady. Gay’s lack of focus at some points during games is also more than Jeff Van Gundy can handle.
Actual Pick: Rudy Gay (traded to Houston)

9. Golden State Warriors – Rudy Gay
The Warriors are disappointed in the development of Mike Dunleavy and will bring in Gay to add some excitement to Oakland. The kid can jump out of the building and may have the most NBA upside of any player in the draft other than Tyrus Thomas. With Jason Richardson as a guide, expect Gay to be on the receiving end of many ally-oop passes from Baron Davis in his rookie year. He may also be the front runner for the NBA Slam Dunk contest, a title Jason Richardson has won more than any other player in NBA history.
Actual Pick: Patrick O’Bryant

10. Seattle Sonics – Patrick O’Bryant
With Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis doing most of the scoring for this team, they will look to add a big man to clean up the mess when Allen shoots 5 for 30 (which doesn’t happen often). O’Bryant is a little raw, but at 7 feet, Seattle can’t pass him up. The Robert Swift gamble from two years ago isn’t paying off as well as they planned, but O’Bryant should be a bigger presence down low.
Actual Pick: Saer Sene

11. Orlando Magic – Rodney Carney
With Grant Hill’s health as stable as Chad Pennington’s, Orlando picks up an explosive scorer in Carney to take over the small forward position. With Jameer Nelson running the point and Dwight Howard cleaning up whatever goes close to the rim, Carney should fit right in to play the spot he was so good at playing at Memphis.
Actual Pick: J.J. Redick

12. New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets – Ronnie Brewer
With David West’s emergence as a legitimate power forward, the Hornets will pass on Cedric Simmons for the more versatile Brewer to play the 2-guard alongside Chris Paul.
Actual Pick: Hilton Armstrong

13. Philadelphia 76ers – Cedric Simmons
Despite Chris Webber at the 4 and Andre Iguodala at the 3, the Sixers go with the best available talent in Cedric Simmons. At 6’9″ and 223 pounds, he can play the center position for when Samuel Dalembert doesn’t perform (again).
Actual Pick: Thabo Sefolosha (traded to Chicago)

14. Utah Jazz – J.J. Redick
With the front court pretty much wrapped up with Boozer, Okur and Kirilenko, the Jazz need someone who can play along the wing and knock down some threes. Redick fits this mold perfectly, as this is pretty much all he can do. Redick should see some good time during his rookie year as he competes with Devin Brown, Gordan Giricek and Matt Harpring for playing time.
Actual Pick: Ronnie Brewer

15. New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets – Saer Sene
After going with Ronnie Brewer with their first pick, the Hornets turn to a center from Senegal to fill the void currently “filled” by Marc Jackson, PJ Brown and Aaron Williams. If he is anything like the kid from ‘The Air Up There,” the Hornets should be happy with this pick.
Actual Pick: Cedric Simmons

16. Chicago Bulls – Shannon Brown
At this point, it seems that the Chicago Bulls keep getting younger and younger and better and better. After taking Aldridge with the 2nd pick overall (thanks to the New York Knicks), the Bulls take the best available player left, which is Brown. He should fit right into the Bulls style and should be a very good backup for Ben Gordon.
Actual Pick: Rodney Carney (traded to Philadelphia)

17. Indiana Pacers – Rajon Rondo
With the difficulties of Jamaal Tinsley only getting bigger, the Pacers go with a point guard whose stock has been rising considerably over the past couple of weeks; some teams even have Rondo as the #1 point guard in the draft. The Pacers should be very happy with this pick, but not nearly as happy as the Danny Granger pick from last year.
Actual Pick: Shawne Williams

18. Washington Wizards – Mardy Collins
The Wizards really wanted Rondo, as he is much more of a pure point guard than Collins, but with Collins’ size and ability to get to the basket (a la Gilbert Arenas), he is too good to pass up. The Wizards also consider Villanova point guard Kyle Lowry, but decide to go with size and shooting over quickness and defense.
Actual Pick: Oleksiy Pecherov

19. Sacramento Kings – Shawne Williams
The Kings seems to have their core players in place (Artest, Bibby, Abdur-Rahim, Miller), but don’t seem to have that slasher that every team needs. Williams fits this role perfectly and should learn to play some good defense from Artest, as well as the rebounding ability from Miller and Abdur-Rahim.
Actual Pick: Quincy Douby

20. New York Knicks – Maurice Ager
With the Knicks’ embarrassing draft history since Patrick Ewing, they decide to step up and take the best available guard for them, an undersized 6’4″ Ager. This is a tough spot for Ager, as he will have to try to learn from Steve Francis and Stephon Marbury, two guys who have proven that no matter how much talent they have, they just can’t seem to put it together into a winning strategy.
Actual Pick: Renaldo Balkman

21. Phoenix Suns – Sergio Rodriguez
The Suns have proven that they can evaluate foreign talent well (Nash, Diaw, Barbosa) and continue the trend with Rodriguez. With Steve Nash as his mentor, Rodriguez should learn quickly.
Actual Pick: Rajon Rondo (traded to Boston)

22. New Jersey Nets – Kyle Lowry
The Nets were hoping that Lowry would still be remaining when their pick came up and they got their wish. Lowry is explosive off the dribble and plays the way every coach wishes all of their players played. Had he stayed at Villanova another year, he would have been a lottery pick in 2007. This may be the steal of the draft.
Actual Pick: Marcus Williams

23. New Jersey Nets – Hilton Armstrong
After going small with their first pick, the Nets go with an athletic big man who seems to have a very good feel on the defensive end. Though he is a skinny, he will definitely put on some weight once he gets in the hands of an NBA trainer. He is a little raw, but showed significant improvement after his first three years at UConn.
Actual Pick: Josh Boone

24. Memphis Grizzlies – Jordan Farmar
Farmer’s drop is exactly what Memphis was hoping for and now they have a point guard who should take over for Damon Stoudamire when he gets hurt (that’s right, when not if). Farmar did an excellent job running a UCLA team into the Final Four and should be a very good fit with the Grizzlies.
Actual Pick: Kyle Lowry

25. Cleveland Cavaliers – Quincy Douby
The Cavs were really hoping for a point guard at this spot, as Eric Snow and Damon Jones haven’t worked out nearly well enough to keep up with King James. Instead, the Cavs will go with Rutgers guard Quincy Douby, who can play the point, but seems much more comfortable shooting away on the wing as a 2-guard. Douby will get his looks when James hits the lane and dishes out, but it’s not completely what the Cavs need at this time.
Actual Pick: Shannon Brown

26. Los Angeles Lakers – PJ Tucker
The Lakers were hoping for Douby, but the Cavs got to him first. With no other slashers on the team other than Kobe Bryant, the Lakers go with the best available player in PJ Tucker. Tucker showed he can score at Texas, and the Lakers should be satisfied with this pick.
Actual Pick: Jordan Farmar

27. Phoenix Suns – Alexander Johnson
The Suns decide to go big with their next pick and Johnson should fit in very well. A strong big man with good rebounding abilities, he should be able to learn a lot backing up Boris Diaw, Kurt Thomas and the returning Amare Stoudemire.
Actual Pick: Sergio Rodriguez (traded to Portland)

28. Dallas Mavericks – Dee Brown
Despite making the NBA Finals, the Mavericks need more work in the backcourt. Jason Terry and Devon Harris are good, but they are both shoot-first guards. Brown can come in and distribute the ball evenly without taking shots away from Dirk.
Actual Pick: Maurice Ager

29. New York Knicks – Josh Boone
With their complete inability to rebound or play defense, the Knicks decide to make the smart choice and take a player who can do both. Boone has absolutely no offensive game whatsoever, but that should be a positive for a team with chuckers like Jalen Rose, Quentin Richardson, Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis, Jamal Crawford and Nate Robinson.
Actual Pick: Mardy Collins

30. Portland Trail Blazers – Kevin Pittsnoggle
Pittsnoggle may not have known it at the time, but after getting his 50th tattoo, he locked himself into playing for the Trail Blazers.
Actual Pick: Joel Freeland