With the 2017 World Series — a thriller or a crusher, depending upon your point of view, won by the Astros in seven games over the Dodgers — in the books, I wrote a piece for SI.com checking in on the progress towards Cooperstown of nine players we saw in the postseason, many of whom I was asked about on Twitter or elsewhere during the October. By team: the Astros’ Justin Verlander, Carlos Beltran and Jose Altuve; the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw and Chase Utley; the Yankees’ CC Sabathia; the Red Sox’s Dustin Pedroia; the Diamondbacks’ Zack Greinke; and the Twins’ Joe Mauer.
Here’s the Beltran one:
Carlos Beltran, Astros
69.8/44.3/57.1 (8th among CF)
Average HOF CF: 71.2/44.6/57.9
One of the top postseason players of his time (.307/.412/.609 with 16 homers in 256 PA), Beltran was reduced to an afterthought this October, going 3-for-20 in part-time duty overall and 0-for-3 in the World Series. That follows a sub-replacement level season in which he hit just 231/.283/.383 with 14 homers, 84 OPS+, and -0.6 WAR.
But even if the end of the line is near, Beltran did a fair bit in 2015–16 to shore up his Hall of Fame credentials after a dismal 2014 with the Yankees. With 2,725 career hits, 435 homers and 312 steals (with a record 86.4% success rate), not to mention nine All-Star appearances and three Gold Gloves, he’s got a good case on the traditional merits alone. He’s one of 18 outfielders with at least 2,500 hits and 400 homers; 13 are enshrined, and Vladimir Guerrero will make it 14 either this year or next after receiving 71.7% of the vote last year. The other three besides Beltran are Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield, all kept out by PED connections, while Beltran’s record in that area is clean. Add to that his eighth-place ranking among centerfielders in JAWS, less than one point below the standard, and again, his excellent postseason line, and he looks to be in good shape among an electorate that grows more savvy towards advanced stats with every passing year.
Now that the 2017 season is over, I’ll have plenty on the Hall of Fame beat, starting with the 2018 Modern Era Committee ballot (out November 6), covering candidates whose primary contributions came in the 1870-87 period, and the 2018 BBWAA ballot (out November 20), which features newcomers Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, Jim Thome and Scott Rolen, along with top holdovers Trevor Hoffman, Vlad Guerrero and Edgar Martinez. And of course, I’ll be touting The Cooperstown Casebook as an ideal holiday gift!