As six players are inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, it’s easy to look around the current crop of active players and ask which of them will someday receive the same honor. There are many players who are on the right path, but the road to Cooperstown is filled with players who looked like future Hall of Famers before their careers took turns for the worse.
Here is a list of ten active MLB players who look to be on the right track to someday be enshrined in Cooperstown.
Adrian Beltre, Rangers
Beltre’s late-career revival, particularly during his Texas Rangers years, should send him to Cooperstown. A .287 career hitter, he has already surpassed 3,000 hits. He may fall just short of 500 home runs, but he had roughly a decade at the very top of the game. He is a five-time Gold Glover and recognized as one of the better defenders in the game. From 2010 through 2017, he hit .310 and averaged over 30 home runs per season. That’s a lengthy and excellent peak, and it came years after his 48-homer, near MVP season in 2004 with the Dodgers.
Clayton Kershaw threw six scoreless innings and allowed just two hits in an 8-2 win over the San Diego Padres Monday night, but there were two outs in the game that the left-hander took no pleasure in recording.
For the first time in their careers, Kershaw and A.J. Ellis — now a backup catcher for the Padres — faced each other in competition. Ellis has caught more of Kershaw’s starts than any other catcher, and Kershaw said it was “miserable” having to pitch against him.
“That was miserable,” he said, via Bill Plunkett of The Orange County Register. “I’ve faced a lot of ex-teammates and friends in this game. But probably nobody that I have the history I have with A.J. We both kind of decided that, hopefully, that was the last time we have to do that.”
As Plunkett notes, Kershaw on Monday became the 13th pitcher in Los Angeles Dodgers history to surpass the 2,000-inning mark for his career. Ellis caught 829 of those innings, and both players made their debut with the Dodgers in 2008. Ellis went 0-for-2 with a ground out and a fly out against Kershaw.
The bond between a pitcher and catcher has a tendency to be strong, and that is especially true when the combo has enjoyed as much success together as Kershaw and Ellis.
Clayton Kershaw may have come away from Thursday’s game against the Chicago Cubs with a no-decision instead of a win, but there was some good news from his start.
Kershaw was making his second start since being activated from the disabled list by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He allowed just one run on four hits over five innings while striking out six. Kershaw departed with a 3-1 lead, but Walker Buehler and Erik Goeddel struggled in relief and the Dodgers lost 11-5.
After the game, Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes said Kershaw looked like his old self.
Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes, on Clayton Kershaw: "I saw 100 percent from him. I didn't see anything hampering or laboring or anything. I thought he was the Kershaw that I know."
— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) June 28, 2018
That’s a great sign for the Dodgers. Despite all their injuries and struggles to start the season, they’ve finally come around in June and are now above .500 for the season. At 43-37, they’re in the wild-card race and not far behind the Arizona Diamondbacks for second in the NL West. Kershaw being back to his old form will help them continue to push for a playoff spot.
Clay Kershaw has pitched in only one game since the start of May as he rehabs from a back injury, but it sounds like the left-hander is finally on the verge of making his return.
On Tuesday, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters that Kershaw is going to make a start with the team’s Triple-A affiliate on Saturday before rejoining the rotation next week if all goes well.
Clayton Kershaw will make a rehab start in OKC on Saturday. If all goes well, he’ll rejoin the rotation next week. #Dodgers
— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) June 19, 2018
Roberts had said Monday that the plan for Kershaw was either to make a minor league rehab start of jump straight to pitching for the Dodgers this weekend, but it appears the team has decided to play it safe.
The Dodgers have battled their way back to above .500 on the year and are just two games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West. Things should continue to trend upward when Kershaw returns.
- Filed Under:
Clayton Kershaw is ready to get back on the mound and begin his journey back to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Kershaw is set to throw a simulated game during the middle of next week and, if there are no setbacks, the next step will be a rehab start in the minor leagues. If that goes well, Kershaw could be back on the major league roster in about two weeks.
Clayton Kershaw will throw a 3/4-inning simulated game Tuesday or Wednesday, then likely make a rehab start. He may be ready to be activated after that.
— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) June 16, 2018
As long as nothing goes wrong, Kershaw should be back right around or perhaps a little earlier than initially anticipated. The Dodgers are 10-2 in June, so they haven’t been significantly hindered by his absence, and his return should only help them as they look to return to the top of the NL West.
The news continues to worsen on the Clayton Kershaw front.
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Friday that it is fair to expect the ace lefty, who returned to the disabled list with a lower back strain after making just one start, to miss over a month, per The Athletic’s Pedro Moura.
Dave Roberts said it is fair to expect Clayton Kershaw to be out “over a month.”
— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) June 1, 2018
Kershaw, the three-time Cy Young Award winner, has made just eight starts this season due to biceps tendinitis. After the injury cost him essentially the entire month of May, he returned on Thursday against the Philadelphia Phillies and lasted five innings but had noticeably diminished velocity.
This latest injury is especially worrisome because Kershaw also had some well-documented struggles with a lower back issue last year. Based on these comments from Roberts, it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise if the 30-year-old is held out until after next month’s All-Star break.
Clayton Kershaw returned from the disabled list to pitch Thursday for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but things didn’t go well and he’s heading right back on the shelf.
Kershaw, who missed virtually all of May with biceps tendinitis, was placed on the disabled list Friday with what the Dodgers are calling a lower back strain.
Today, the Dodgers placed Clayton Kershaw on the 10-day DL with a lower back strain and recalled Brock Stewart from Triple-A Oklahoma City.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 1, 2018
Worryingly, Kershaw had the same injury last season, which cost him five weeks of action.
The MRI results came back. Clayton Kershaw has a lower back strain. He missed five weeks with this injury last season.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) June 1, 2018
Kershaw didn’t pitch poorly on Thursday against the Philadelphia Phillies, lasting five innings and allowing one run, but his fastball was barely touching 90. Dave Roberts said his back tightened up while pitching, and it was severe enough that he’ll be sidelined for at least another week and a half and possibly more.