Now that we know who is part of the 2019 Hall of Fame class, it's fun to look at current players who are instantly destined for Cooperstown and those who have a decidedly more meandering path to the Hall.
The godfather of sabermetrics, Bill James, has his own top-10 leaderboard of active players who should be future Hall of Famers. It's hard to argue with just about all of it, but there's one name in particular that is shocking:
The top 10 active players on @billjamesonline Hall of Fame leaderboard:— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 23, 2019
Albert Pujols 876.6
Miguel Cabrera 670.6
Robinson Cano 613.8
Ichiro Suzuki 561.2
Joey Votto 533.2
Mike Trout 523.2
Yadier Molina 499.9
CC Sabathia 489.8
Ian Kinsler 475.2
Justin Verlander 467.6
Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera are two of the greatest right-handed hitters ever, Ichiro Suzuki is one of the greatest contact hitters and defensive right fielders ever, and Mike Trout is currently the best overall player in the sport. You can make a terrific case for just about everyone else, too, but James notably has Ian Kinsler on the list, which comes as a total surprise.
It's even more puzzling that he's ahead of Justin Verlander on the leaderboard, who is one of the greatest pitchers of his generation and has an excellent chance to enter the Hall on his first ballot.
Verlander lower than Ian Kinsler is the funniest thing currently on the internet right now.— baseballsavage (@ba5eballsavages) January 23, 2019
Before we completely dismiss Kinsler's candidacy, let's take a look at the numbers. Over 13 seasons, He has a career slash line of .271/.339/.443 with 1,943 hits, 248 home runs and 887 RBI, including four All-Star appearances and two Gold Gloves.
That's a very good player, but even when you look at his JAWS score --Jaffe's wins above replacement, a metric developed by sabermetrician Jay Jaffe to scale Hall of Fame worthiness -- Kinsler ranks 18th just ahead of Dustin Pedroia and Jeff Kent. If those two don't get in, which may not happen, why would Kinsler? The mind fairly boggles.