COLUMN: The MLB’s future Hall of Famers
From Justin Verlander to Mike Trout, these players deserve to be in Cooperstown
Every year, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America votes on who will be inducted into Cooperstown, the home to the baseball Hall of Fame. Only the best of the best make it into Cooperstown. A Hall of Fame player does not only have a singular MVP season — a Hall of Famer has an MVP career.
With this being said, there are future Hall of Famers playing right now. From Justin Verlander to Mike Trout, here are players who should be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, baseball players cannot only have a successful MVP season; they have to have an MVP career.
Justin Verlander ended the 2022 season as the American League Cy Young Award winner and a World Series champion. He has shown consistent Hall of Fame level pitching throughout his entire career. Verlander has won three Cy Young Awards throughout his career, coming behind Greg Maddux (4), Randy Johnson (5) and Roger Clemens (7).
In the 2022 season, Verlander went 18-4 in the regular season and 2-0 in the postseason, securing a World Series win for the Houston Astros. He ended the 2022 regular season with an ERA of 1.75, an undeniable Cy Young season.
At 39 years old, Verlander’s career is not ending anytime soon. The New York Mets signed Verlander for a two-year $86.7 million contract. According to the MLB, the contract also includes a $35 million vesting option for 2025. Fans will have to wait to see if Verlander’s Hall of Fame worthy performance continues throughout his time in New York.
It will come as no surprise that Mike Trout is on this list. He is arguably the best baseball player of our time and possibly all time. Only time will tell. Trout is a four-time American League MVP, 10-time all-star, four-time Baseball America Major League Player of the Year, nine-time American League Silver Slugger, rookie of the year, two-time American League Hank Aaron Award winner … the list goes on and on.
Trout has 1,543 career hits and 350 career home runs. He is truly one of a kind.
In 2019, Trout agreed to a 12-year $430 million contract. At the time, it was the largest contract in sports history. With a 12-year contract, he will be in Anaheim for quite some time. Although this may mean the MVP will not see a postseason, he is undeniably one of the greatest baseball players of all time.
Shohei Ohtani is one of the most fascinating baseball players of all time. It is not every day a pitcher can hit, and to say that Ohtani can hit is an understatement. Ohtani is an American League MVP and a rookie of the year. He is an exceptional pitcher and designated hitter.
The 28-year-old has 28 career wins, 15 of which were won in 2022. Ohtani has a career ERA of 2.96 and a career batting average of .267. There is nobody else in the game as versatile as Shohei Ohtani; he is a once-in-a-lifetime player. Though these may not seem like Hall of Fame numbers, Ohtani is two players for the price of one, and his unique abilities may one day induct him into Cooperstown.
All rise! Aaron Judge was the talk of the 2022 season. He was breaking records and taking names. The 30-year-old broke the record for the most American League home runs in a season and made himself the king of 2022 by receiving the 2022 American League MVP.
Hall of Famers break records, and Judge shattered one by hitting 62 dingers in a single season, making him the new home run champion of the American League.
Judge has a career batting average of .284. He does have one weakness that seems to go unnoticed. Judge’s kryptonite seems to be the postseason. His 2022 postseason batting average was .139, not quite Hall of Fame material.
After his historic MVP season, Judge signed a nine-year $360 million contract with the Yankees. Judge was also named the 16th captain of the Yankees, following in the steps of the newly inducted Hall of Famer, Derek Jeter.
Being a Yankee will most likely help Judge when it comes to Cooperstown. Would we all be rising if Judge played for the Mariners?
Bryce Harper started his career in D.C. playing for the Washington Nationals. While in the nation’s capital, fans adored the MVP. Harper made his mark in D.C., becoming one of the most talented outfielders.
Harper was the first pick in the 2010 MLB draft. He was the Nationals’ first pick from the start of his career. In 2019 Harper left D.C. for Philadelphia after agreeing to a 13-year $330 million contract with the Phillies.
In his MLB career, the 30-year-old has won two National League MVP titles and a Rookie of the Year award.
Harper carried the Phillies through the 2022 postseason and into the World Series. In 2022, he had a postseason batting average of .349. Being able to carry a team through the postseason and into the World Series is not only MVP material; it is Hall of Fame material.
These five players are some of the most talented players in the game. It will come as no surprise if any of these ball players are inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Edited by Liah Argiropoulos, Delaney Hoke and Nina Heller. Copyediting by Isabelle Kravis, Natasha LaChac and Sophia Rocha.