Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hall of Fame Tracker: Phillies Edition

Among the many National League hitters who are on a Hall of Fame career track, the Philadelphia Phillies are lucky enough to have three, if not four, potential candidates at the early to mid stages of their careers. With an infield consisting of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins, the Fightin' Phils have plenty of talent to back up last year's World Series championship.

Of the three infielders, Utley probably has the best chance of making the Hall, based on his position and the stats he has put as a second baseman. Utley is hands down the best offensive second baseman in baseball today, with all due respect to Ian Kinsler. He may not finish his career with more than 2000 hits, but he stands a solid chance of setting the all-time record for most home runs by a second baseman. His most notable rookie card is a 2001 Bowman Draft Picks.

The biggest knock on Ryan Howard's Hall of Fame resume is that he had a relatively late start to his career and may not accumulate the key power stats. In many ways, his career may parallel David Ortiz, who was also a late bloomer and unfortunately appears to be on the downside now. But Howard is a huge force for the Phils, and there is no reason to believe he will be on the downside anytime soon. Howard's most recognized rookie card is the 2001 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres #62.

Jimmy Rollins is already on the verge of collecting his 1500th hit, so he is well on his way to a stellar career. Rollins was the 2007 NL MVP but seems to have taken a step back the past year and a half, due in part to injury. Rollins is still only 30 years old, but he will likely be overlooked as an NL SS the remainder of his career, assuming that Hanley Ramirez remains a shortstop (and a Marlin). Rollins' most notable rookie card is a 1998 Bowman Chrome #181.

Finally, an honorable mention goes to Cole Hamels. Hamels' postseason performance proved that he has true ace material, but it remains too early in his career to see if he will meet his potential. Injuries have derailed him this year, but he is only 25 years old. His most notable RC is a 2002 Bowman Draft.

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