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John Dewan's Stat of the Week

Is Robinson Cano Already a Hall of Famer?

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The Mariners were dealt two tough blows in a row with Robinson Cano's broken hand and 80 game suspension for masking performance-enhancing drugs. This will break an impressive streak of eleven straight seasons with at least 150 games played for Cano, and the interruption brings with it the opportunity to talk about his career and how his Hall of Fame chances might be affected.

We will leave the performance enhancer conversation out of this, because that mostly relies on personal opinions about how the Hall of Fame should be handled. But given Cano's accomplishments so far, how does he stack up to his contemporaries and others who have already been enshrined?

Bill James created the Hall of Fame Monitor to answer exactly that question. This tool assigns a numeric value to a player's career accomplishments based on how voters have weighed different statistical benchmarks and awards in the past. All Star appearances, 200-hit seasons, holding a .300 batting average, it all goes into the pot, and we get a counting stat in which reaching 100 points makes you more likely than not to be a Hall of Famer, but a score as low as 70 could make you viable depending on the other voting circumstances. Recent enshrinee Jim Thome has a 104, for example. Albert Pujols started this season at a whopping 237.

Cano started this season at 130. That's almost certainly Hall-of-Fame caliber thanks to his consistent ability to hit .300 with solid power so he could both knock in and score runs. Among active players, he started this year behind only Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Ichiro, and Clayton Kershaw, all of whom would be considered locks themselves.

Bill James Hall of Fame Monitor Active Leaders Through 2017

Player Score
Albert Pujols 237
Miguel Cabrera 189
Ichiro Suzuki 158
Clayton Kershaw 132
Robinson Cano 130
Justin Verlander 118
Adrian Beltre 110
Ryan Braun 97
Mike Trout 95
Max Scherzer 95

* Per 2018 Bill James Handbook

Cano was also on pace to reach the 3,000 hit plateau, which comes into question with this mostly-lost season. Per another Bill James creation, the Favorite Toy, Cano had a 57 percent chance to get there to start the year, and that number will fall below even odds once he returns.

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