It’s hard to recall a time in recent baseball history when so many young and very talented players burst on the scene carrying promise of not only a great future for themselves but for baseball as well.
This bumper crop is evenly composed of both position players and pitchers. They are spread evenly across leagues and teams. In the NFL, they would all be tagged as “Franchise Players”. Mike Trout (right) and Bryce Harper (upper left) look like reincarnations of Mickey Mantle while Felix Hernandez (right) and Jose Fernandez (left) recall memories of Juan Marichal and Pedro Martinez years before they entered the Baseball Hall Of Fame.
Add to that quartet relative newcomers like Dallas Keutchel (lower left) of young and forward marching Houston Astros plus Giancarlo Stanton (right) and you have the makings of some very exciting baseball for many years to come.
But hold on there……..not so fast. Before we anoint them into the Baseball Hall Of Fame, we need to remember – the Hall is based solely on number (historically)……300 wins, 500 home runs, 3000 hits……..etc.
And with these young exciting players, there are two caveats to recognize and they’re both reasons why we might only see one or two actually make the Hall Of Fame.
The first caveat is simple mathematics. Each player is destined to make a minimum of a quarter of a billion dollars over their career. Some will earn even more. So, the question becomes how long will they need or want to play before they retire and move on to other things? Will the fire continue to burn for twenty years as it did for someone like Derek Jeter (remember – it takes 15 years at 200 hits per to reach 3000 – and for pitchers averaging 15 wins over 15 seasons only nets 275 career wins). So, it’s a long road ahead for these perennial All Stars.
The second caveat is even more looming. Because we need to add to each the “if he stays healthy” clause to each of their careers. Look at the list…….how many have been afflicted with injuries even to this point in their brief time on the field. Will a perennially injured All Star like Troy Tulowiski have the numbers to qualify for the Hall? Coupled with that are the ever conscious owners and GM’ who seek to protect their investments by holding them back (the Mets and Matt Harvey?) until a bevy of doctors say “Go!………
So, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with these young phenoms as their careers play out. Will they have the stamina and desire to play long enough to put up the numbers the Hall has traditionally required……..