Discover more from The Skippers View
Is Jose Altuve A Hall of Famer?
Not if Lou Whitaker isn't!
After Jose Altuve's recent clutch performance, the baseball community on Twitter has been buzzing with debates about his Hall of Fame credentials. You'll find numerous articles arguing vehemently in favor of his induction, exclaiming, "How could he not make it?" However, I offer a counterpoint: if Lou Whitaker hasn't been inducted into the Hall of Fame, then Altuve's chances are also questionable.
Before diving deeper, let's set the context. The statistics I'm using for Altuve are current, and I acknowledge that at 33 years old, he likely has several productive seasons ahead of him. That said, there's a prevailing sentiment that Altuve would be a Hall of Famer even if he were to retire today—a notion I don't subscribe to. To bolster my argument, I present a roster of players who, since 1950, have surpassed Altuve in terms of Wins Above Replacement (WAR). While I don't consider WAR to be the ultimate metric, it's one that sabermetric enthusiasts often rely on.
2B WAR Since 1950
Joe Morgan- 100.5
Rod Carew- 81.3
Lou Whitaker(not HOFer)- 75.1
Bobby Grich(not HOFer)- 71.1
Robinson Cano- 68.1
Ryne Sandberg- 68.0
Roberto Alomar- 67.0
Willie Randolph(not a HOFer)- 65.9
Craig Biggio- 65.5
Chase Utley(not a HOFer)- 64.4
Jackie Robinson- 61.7
Jeff Kent(not a HOFer)- 55.4
Ian Kinsler(not HOFer)- 55.2
Dustin Pedroia(not HOFer)- 51.6
Tony Phillips(not HOFer)- 50.9
Jose Altuve (not HOFer)- 49.3
First, I want to discuss Lou Whitaker and Bobby Grich.
Lou Whitaker, a Detroit Tigers legend, is a prime example of a player who at this point, should have been put in based on WAR and his overall numbers. Over his 19-year career, Whitaker accumulated stats that place him among the top 10 Hall of Fame second basemen in categories like career hits, home runs, RBIs, doubles and runs scored. His Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and JAWS scores are impressive, often surpassing those of already-inducted second basemen. Despite these credentials, Whitaker was dropped from the BBWAA ballot in his first year, receiving only 2.9% of the vote. Even the veteran's ballot has failed to recognize him. While Whitaker only won one World Series, his consistent performance and five All-Star selections (1983-1987) make him more than deserving of a Hall of Fame spot. Lou will have to wait until 2025 for him to be reconsidered for entry into Cooperstown.
Then there's Bobby Grich, whose career has often been overshadowed by contemporaries with flashier stats or more compelling narratives. However, Grich's numbers are nothing to scoff at. He boasts a career WAR of 71.1, higher than many Hall of Famers. Grich was a six-time All-Star (1972, 1974, 1976, 1979-1980, 1982) and a four-time Gold Glove winner (1973-1976), showcasing his all-around skills. He also won the 1981 Silver Slugger Award while leading the AL in home runs. While he didn't win a World Series, his consistent excellence in offense and defense should not be ignored.
Why am I doing this in a blog titled “Is Jose Altuve a HOFer?” Well, I want to bring some light to players who, to this point, have not gotten enough. The new generation of baseball fans will have no idea who these two players are if they are lost to time. Get them in the Hall of Fame and then I am open to Altuve getting in. However, Jose still needs to have a few good years before that happens. I asked Chat GPT to run some numbers and project Altuve’s final numbers if he retires at 40 years old.
Current Career Stats (as of age 33)
Batting Average (AVG): .307
Home Runs (HR): 209
Runs Batted In (RBI): 747
On-base Plus Slugging (OPS): .834
Wins Above Replacement (WAR): 49.3
Projected Stats per Year (Age 33-40)
Using the typical regression model for MLB players between ages 30-40:
Batting Average: -.005 per year
Home Runs: -1 per year
RBI: -3 per year
Projected Stats for Age 33-40 Seasons
Batting Average: AVG will vary each year but will end at .276 at age 40.
Home Runs: 17 per year at age 33, decreasing by 1 each year, totaling around 98 HRs.
RBI: 51 per year at age 33, decreasing by 3 each year, totaling around 294 RBIs.
Hits: Assuming he gets around 150 hits per year at age 33, and this decreases by 5 each year, he would accumulate around 1,050 additional hits.
OPS: .834 at age 33, decreasing by .015 each year, ending at .729 at age 40.
WAR: Assuming a decrease of 0.5 WAR per year, he would accumulate around 17.5 additional WAR.
Projected Final Career Totals
Batting Average: Will vary each year but will end at around .298 at age 40.
Home Runs: 209 (current) + 98 (projected) = 307 HRs
RBI: 747 (current) + 294 (projected) = 1,041 RBIs
Hits: 2,047 (current) + 1,050 (projected) = 3,097 hits
OPS: Will vary each year but will end at around .729 at age 40.
WAR: 49.3 (current) + 17.5 (projected) = 66.8 WAR
By these projections, Altuve would end his career with over 300 home runs, more than 1,000 RBIs, and close to 3,100 hits, all with a respectable batting average around .276 and a WAR of nearly 67. These would be Hall of Fame-worthy numbers, especially for a second baseman. Keep in mind that these are just projections, and the actual outcome could vary.
Does this make any sense? Who knows, but if his career ends at those numbers, he is a surefire Hall of Famer. That really wasn’t the point of this blog. I just wanted to bring some awareness to Lou Whitaker and hope some young fans decide to google his name.
If you haven’t already please subscribe!
Thanks for reading The Skippers View! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.