FanPost

Do the Cardinals have any Hall of Famers?

Yesterday, on a pontoon boat on fire in the Indian Ocean, a post about Lee Smith and his voters spurred a discussion of which active players were locks for the Hall of Fame, if all baseball ended today. From there, people moved on to which players were at least likely to make it, going forward. I can't remember a single reference to any Cardinals player, so I decided to take a look at the current roster and figure out how those players stood in reference to the Hall of Fame.

Pitchers


Player (Age)

Career bWAR

Average bWAR for HOF SP/RP

bWAR needed to reach average

Seasons remaining

bWAR/season

Adam Wainwright (33)

29.4

72.6

43.2

7

6.2

Lance Lynn (27)

4.2

72.6

68.4

13

5.3

Shelby Miller (24)

3.9

72.6

68.7

16

4.3

Joe Kelly (26)

3.4

72.6/40.6

69.2/37.2

14

4.9/2.7

Michael Wacha (23)

1.6

72.6

71.0

17

4.2

Jaime Garcia (28)

4.8

72.6

67.8

12

5.7

Kevin Siegrist (23)

1.9

72.6/40.6

70.7/38.7

17

4.2/2.3

Seth Maness (26)

1.6

72.6/40.6

71.0/39.0

14

5.1/2.8

Trevor Rosenthal (24)

1.8

72.6/40.6

70.8/38.8

16

4.4/2.4

Jason Motte (32)

4.5

40.6

36.1

8

4.5

NOTE: Age reflects the age a player will turn during 2014. Carlos Martinez is not included here because his first season only brought negative WAR, and I didn't feel it would do much good to include him.

Now, before I begin discussing any of this, I will say that I used the Seasons Remaining column to extend the players until they turn 40. I did this because it is a nice, even number, and pretty much any age I chose would be arbitrary. Certainly, none of these pitchers are likely to continue until they're 40, much less be contributing 4 or 5 WAR seasons into their late 30s, but to expect something approximately that out of a Hall of Famer doesn't seem outlandish. For example, Don Sutton, the pitcher closest to the average WAR for a HOF, pitched until he was 43, still being productive up until his very last season.

Now, as for the Cardinals, there aren't any slam dunk cases. This shouldn't come as a surprise, given that the pitching staff is primarily made up of young pitchers whose performance is still unknown. Kevin Siegrist, Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, and Trevor Rosenthal could grow into Hall of Fame players, but suffice to say it's a long shot. As for Adam Wainwright, he'd need to continue performing at the level he did last year, where he put up 6.2 bWAR, for the next seven consecutive seasons. Perhaps, in another world, he never went down for the 2011 season, instead putting up two more 6-WAR seasons in 2011 and 2012. If this were the case, his career WAR would increase to 37.5, meaning he'd still need 5 WAR/season all the way until he was 40, a proposition which is only slightly less daunting.

I don't believe Lance Lynn or Jaime Garcia will grow to be Hall of Famers, nor do I think I'm going out on a limb in saying that. Rather, the best shot the Cardinals have of putting a pitcher into the Hall lies with one of the many youngsters that have us fans so excited.

Position Players


Player (Age)

Current WAR

Average WAR for position in HOF

War needed

Seasons remaining

WAR/season

Matt Adams (26)

1.1

65.7

64.6

14

4.6

Yadier Molina (32)

26.8

52.4

25.6

8

3.2

Allen Craig (30)

7.0

65.7

58.7

10

5.9

Matt Carpenter (29)

7.5

69.5

62.0

11

5.6

Pete Kozma (26)

1.0

66.7

65.7

14

4.7

Matt Holliday (34)

40.3

65.0

24.7

6

4.1

Jon Jay (29)

8.6

70.4

61.8

11

5.6

Daniel Descalso (28)

1.2

67.4

66.2

12

5.5

Shane Robinson (30)

1.1

70.4

69.3

10

6.9

Tony Cruz (28)

-0.9

52.4

53.3

12

4.4

Jhonny Peralta (32)

24.7

66.7

42.0

8

5.3

Peter Bourjos (27)

8.4

70.4

62.0

13

4.8

Outside of Molina, there aren't a lot of compelling cases here. If Holliday can remain intact and productive for a couple more seasons he may make it a little more difficult on voters, but as is he stands as a solid candidate for the Hall of Very Good. Counting on Molina to play until he's 40 isn't a great bet, given the large volume of innings he's caught, even with a fairly clean injury history. With the continued advancement of catchers' defensive WAR, it is logical that so will the average WAR for Catchers already enshrined in the Hall of Fame, probably negating most of Molina's gains. Therefore, he will still need at least a few more solid seasons before his numbers even garner consideration. Even if he does come up a little short, by bWAR, it isn't a stretch to assume the BBWAA would still vote him in, given his reputation as this generation's best defensive catcher.

Although one would be hard-pressed to find someone claiming the St. Louis Cardinals are not talented, there is only one player who could even be considered a stretch for the Hall of Fame. This shouldn't be a surprise given the quality of the players who get inducted into the Hall. The Cardinals' current construction of having a lineup full of good, young, cost-controlled players is not conducive to creating a lineup full of Hall of Famers, though it's proven to be a successful strategy for building a franchise. I'll take the championships over the HOF.

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