Jeff Kent’s last journey: Will big home run numbers be enough for the final Hall of Fame leap?

Five-time All-Star and 2000 National League MVP Jeff Kent is on the Hall of Fame poll for the tenth time this 12 months. As such, it’s his last journey on the BBWAA poll and there is not actually a lot drama. He’s not going to get 75 % of the vote and he’ll fall off the poll with out getting his title enshrined.

It is totally attainable he’ll make the Hall down the highway through a committee election, although, as Fred McGriff did this 12 months. Should he make it? Should he have gotten extra love on BBWAA ballots? To this level, his highest vote proportion got here last 12 months at 32.7 and he is prone to prime that whereas nonetheless getting lower than half the vote. Let’s have a look.

Kent’s case is an offensive one. No, not like he is screaming at strangers on the subway, however as a substitute it is his. In components of 17 seasons, he slashed .290/.356/.500, which was good for a 123 OPS+. He racked up 2,461 hits, 560 doubles, 377 home runs, 1,518 RBI and 1,320 runs.

Among main second basemen who appeared in not less than 700 video games, Kent and inner-circle nice Rogers Hornsby are the solely ones who slugged .500 or higher. Among main second basemen, Kent ranks twelfth in runs and thirteenth in hits, but it surely’s the energy that was his calling card, particularly relative to others at his place. He’s fifth in doubles behind Craig Biggio, Nap Lajoie, Charlie Gehringer and Robinson Canó. Only Lajoie and Hornsby had extra RBI and Kent is inside 100 of each.

And, of course, amongst main second baseman, Kent is the all-time chief in home runs at 377. Canó is second at 335, Hornsby had 301 after which it is Biggio at 291 and Ryne Sandberg at 282. No one else is inside 100 of Kent.

There’s a robust pull in the direction of “Hall of Famer” there for me. The home run is the single smartest thing a hitter can do in any given plate look and Kent had greater than anybody else who ever performed his place by a fairly respectable margin. It looks like there ought to be bonus factors for that, proper?

We might have some extra enjoyable with the energy numbers as an example how constant he was with them for a decade or so, too.

If I search for gamers with not less than 20 homers and 80 RBIs in a season amongst those that spent not less than half their time at second, Kent did so 10 occasions. Canó, Hornsby and Joe Gordon did it seven occasions. Dan Uggla did it six. No one else did it greater than 5.

How about 25 homers and 100 RBI amongst second sackers? Kent did it six occasions with Canó and Hornsby second at 4. Gordon and Chase Utley did it thrice and nobody else had greater than two such seasons. Hell, solely Sandberg, Alfonso Soriano, Bret Boone and Bobby Doerr did it twice. That’s it. Only 9 second basemen had a number of 25-HR, 100-RBI seasons and Kent did it six occasions.

It is actually a dominant file for his particular talent set.

Kent, typically thought of a poor defender as a consequence of an absence of vary at second base, appears to be harm by a new-school voting perspective that cares extra about the glove than its predecessors. Furthermore, the time interval by which he gathered all these fairly counting stats was an enormous offensive period in baseball historical past. For instance, when he hit 31 homers and had 128 RBI in 1998, he was tied for twenty seventh in homers and eighth in RBI.

This drags him down fairly strongly in WAR and JAWS measurements.

Kent sits nineteenth in WAR amongst second basemen, nicely beneath the common present Hall of Famer and in the ballpark of Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia and Tony Phillips. In JAWS, he is twenty first and truly trails Pedrioa and Kinsler. He’s not too far forward of Ben Zobrist. All superb gamers, to be clear, however this is not the firm a surefire Hall of Famer would be maintaining.

Kent ought to have a lot better fortune with an Era Committee, although. Those committees are a lot smaller voting our bodies and talk about the gamers collectively earlier than voting. The panel this 12 months was initially comprised of three media members, six executives and 7 Hall of Fame gamers (Chipper Jones needed to drop out at the last minute and was changed with an govt, however all of us get the level). This sort of smaller group very clearly appears far much less inclined to dig into the trivialities of WAR and JAWS rankings and more likely to have a look at the counting stats. It’s additionally attainable Kent would get an advocate or two in the room, presumably former teammates vouching for how a lot of a professional he was or simply how spectacular a hitter he was in particular person. That can sway a room.

In glancing again at the gamers near Kent in second base WAR, we’ll additionally discover names like Billy Herman, Joe Gordon, Bid McPhee, and Bobby Doerr whereas he is fairly decently forward of Nellie Fox, Johnny Evers, Tony Lazzeri, Red Schoendienst and Bill Mazeroski. All of these gamers are Hall of Famers and none of them made it through the BBWAA vote. Instead, they waited for committee picks. Can Kent observe of their footsteps?

The Contemporary Baseball Era committee met this previous winter to debate the participant portion of that poll. It seems like that very same committee will meet once more in December 2025 for induction with the 2026 Hall of Fame class. Kent will certainly be on that poll and there is a respectable likelihood he’ll make it. If not that vote, my hunch is he makes it through committee in some unspecified time in the future.

Jeff Kent is not a Hall of Famer simply but, however falling off the BBWAA poll would possibly really be what’s greatest for his probabilities. Just primarily based on the energy alone from a second baseman, I imagine there ought to be room for him.

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