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Astros: Carlos Beltran’s Hall of Fame Chances

Joe Fernandez
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Carlos Beltran’s first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame comes next year in 2023. What are his odds of getting in?

Now that the announcements of 2022 Hall of Famers have come and gone it’s time to look forward to next year’s class which includes the now infamous Carlos Beltran.

If recent history has taught us anything, it will be that Beltran’s hall chances are slim given his integral role in the Houston Astros 2017 sign stealing scandal.

If the best pitcher of his generation and arguably the best hitter of all-time didn’t get in because of steroids, it seems as though they are taking a hard line on any type of cheating regardless of how great your numbers are.

But to keep it in perspective, there are degrees to which things affect on field performance.  And there’s no way sign stealing equates to nearly as significant a boost in performance as steroids did.

Not to mention a lot of the greats participated in illicit sign stealing, from Bob Feller sticking his arm out of the scoreboard to signal off-speed for the 1948 World Series Champion Cleveland Indians, to Bobby Thompson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World’ that had been a product of a second half surge all fueled by illegal sign stealing from center field that even the great Willie Mays participated in.

It would be hypocritical to keep one person out for sign-stealing without throwing out the other hall of famers who participated in such schemes as well. The only difference being it was only discovered later that Feller and Mays (among others) were cheating in such fashion.

But the standard shouldn’t be “were they caught doing it at the time they were doing it.” It’s either wrong enough to keep someone out or it isn’t.

In short, the sign stealing should not affect someone’s chances of entering the hall of fame the way steroids has.

They don’t inflate numbers to the mind boggling level they did to players in the 1990’s-2000’s, (Hence why we haven’t had anyone reach 60 home runs since Barry Bonds’ record breaking 2001 season where he hit 73.)

So let’s look at Carlos Beltran’s numbers to see where he ranks and if it’s enough to get in on merit alone.

For superficial awards, Beltran was a nine time all-star with a rookie of the year award and three gold gloves to boot.  He was a traditional five tool player with above average hit, speed, glove, arm and power skill set.

All of his traditional numbers are just short of what are considered guaranteed entry into the hall of fame.

He’s at 2,725 hits (3,000 is considered the gold standard), 435 home runs (500 being considered the hallowed number in that category) and he’s got 1,582 runs scored and 1,587 RBI, ranking 53rd and 41st in those categories respectively.

Tag that along with ranking 47th all time in home runs and 62nd all-time in hits you have someone who hovers around the top 50 in every major statistical category all-time for major league baseball.

Factor in that he was an above-average defender most of his career and had over 300 stolen bases it seems like this should be a hall-worthy career.

He’s ahead of other hall of famers in several if not all of these categories so the only thing that could keep him out would be the sign-stealing scandal.

But again, that was a one season incident at the end of his career compared to an entire career of steroid use for others who have been denied entry.

If it were in my hands, Carlos Beltran would be in the hall of fame. If you are in the top 50 for nearly every major statistic all-time in a sport, even if you’re towards the bottom of that top 50, that’s still very elite company.

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It will be interesting to see the voting on this one because the way Carlos Beltran gets treated will surely be an indicator of future Astros with potential hall of fame trajectories who were on the 2017 team including Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa.

For now it’s just Beltran’s fate that lies in the BBWAA. But it will let us know how harshly they view the 2017 team and what it means for everyone else involved.

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