Manny Machado of the San Diego Padres is on pace for a potential Hall of Fame career.
MLB.com recently published a piece in which they named one future Hall of Famer for each team. For the San Diego Padres, it was third baseman Manny Machado. If you read the article, you’ll see that some of the names on the list were a stretch, to say the least. Yet Machado actually is a strong Hall of Fame candidate, if he continues on this path for the next several years.
Let’s take a look at what he’s accomplished so far. At 28 years old, he’s amassed a career WAR of 39.8, which is already good for 39th on the all-time list. Third base has traditionally been a tough position as far as making the Hall is concerned; there are only 15 total that have gained election (though Adrian Beltre is a no-doubter when he becomes eligible).
The average career WAR for a Hall of Fame third baseman is 68.4, and Machado is already over halfway there. If he were to average 3.6 WAR over the next eight seasons – until he’s 36 – that would put him at 68.6. Given that he’s coming off a 2020 season in which he posted a 3.1 WAR in just 60 games, though it’s going to be a lot of work, it seems reasonable.
Would that indeed be enough? It might be, yet Scott Rolen has a 70.1 career WAR and hasn’t gotten in yet, though his case seems to be gaining momentum.
Of course, we don’t just have to look at WAR; we can look at other statistics and see how he compares to other Hall of Famers through their age-27 seasons. Right now, Machado has 223 home runs, 645 RBIs, 1,268 hits, and 244 doubles. Let’s compare that to:
- Adrian Beltre: 191 home runs, 686 RBIs, 1,269 hits, 251 doubles
- Chipper Jones: 153 home runs, 524 RBIs, 871 hits, 166 doubles
- George Brett: 98 home runs, 579 RBIs, 1,257 hits, 244 doubles
- Paul Molitor: 60 home runs, 287 RBIs, 909 hits, 148 doubles
- Wade Boggs: 24 home runs, 251 RBIs, 771 hits, 131 doubles
Also, to this point, Machado’s career OPS of .825 is higher than that of Adrian Beltre (.819) and Paul Molitor (.817) and compares favorably to that of Ron Santo (.826). Now, these players were all productive well into their 30s, which is what Machado will have to do, but we can see that he compares favorably to these players through their age-27 seasons (though some, such as Boggs, got a later start in their careers).
And then there’s defense; Machado owns three seasons of a defensive WAR of over 2.0 and had a great shortened season of 2020 at 0.8. He’s also won two Gold Gloves so far; while we’d like to see him win more, defense is a big part of Machado’s case, largely because of what he’s already done.
Yet it’s not just about the numbers; it’s also about a player’s place in the game and how dominant they were compared to their contemporaries. Machado has four All-Star Game selections and four top-ten finishes in MVP voting (though he likely would have had another had he not split 2018 between leagues, with the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers). He’ll likely need a few more of both in order to get serious consideration.
So as we can see, there’s a lot of work that Manny Machado needs to do to make the Hall of Fame. Yet he is certainly on track to do so if he continues down this path. Let’s hope he stars for the Padres for many more years and makes it happen.