I have been watching college football all day, which is awesome, but it still isn't baseball. The holidays stalled my posts too. Well, that and a lack of any sort of news in baseball. There still is not much to say, though Hall of Fame inductees will be announced on the fifth.
That will do for a subject. I won't write a "who I would pick" kind of post, because I don't have a vote.
Instead, how about active players just waiting to make the Hall of Fame? Here is my starting lineup of active players who could end up in the Hall of Fame:
Joe Mauer, C, Twins - His career is still young, but catchers just don't win batting titles. He already has two. Add another five or six nice seasons behind the plate to his current work, and maybe some more seasons at another position that allow his counting numbers to escalate, and he's in.
Albert Pujols, 1B, Cardinals - I don't think there is much to say here.
Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox - Pedroia is far from a lock, but he already has an MVP award, and a championship. If he can approach 3,000 career hits, he might make it. While there are several great second basemen in the game right now, nobody looks to me like a safe bet for the HOF.
Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees - Not much to say here either. He should become the first Yankee to get 3,000 hits, which is pretty incredible when you think about it. Of all the great Yankees, none of them have 3,000 hits.
Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees - A-Rod is slowing down, but his prime was spectacular, and his career numbers are already good enough.
Ryan Braun, LF, Brewers - Of all the younger hitters in the game right now, I think Braun has the best power-average combination. He gets lots of hits, along with extra-base hits. He will need some gaudy career numbers - I'm talking .290-ish average, 2,500-ish hits, and 450-ish home runs - but he might have it in him. I would put Manny Ramirez in this spot if he had been signed by a team by now.
Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pirates - This is a big stretch. I could go with Torii Hunter or Carlos Beltran here, but I don't see either as Hall of Famers. Plus, I have enough veterans in this lineup already. Maybe McCutcheon can get a bunch of Gold Gloves, a bunch of All-Star appearances, and accumulate good career numbers in lots of categories. It would help if Pittsburgh rises from the ashes, and McCutchen is remembered as the leader of the resurgence. Really, I don't see any center fielder in the game right now that screams Hall of Fame.
Ichiro, RF, Mariners - All-Star every year, Gold Glove every year, 200 hits every year, the single-season hit record, Rookie of the Year, and an MVP award. He probably has done enough already, especially considering he was the first position player to come over from Japan. Ichiro will be a lock if he gets to 3,000 hits in the majors, which he has an outside chance at, but I think he has already done enough.
Roy Halladay, SP, Phillies - Cy Youngs in both leagues, a perfect game, tons more complete games than anyone else this generation, and the general consensus best pitcher of his generation. I think he could get in right now, and should become a lock as he accumulates more career numbers.
Mariano Rivera, CP, Yankees - Best closer ever, hands down.
This is hardly an exhaustive list, or even a collection of guaranteed Hall of Famers. Sometimes it is fun to think about how will make the Hall of Fame though, and there is definitely luster in knowing you are watching a Hall of Famer.