- Dave Cameron, FanGraphs
Bert Blyleven is in the Hall of Fame because he was a great pitcher who belongs in Cooperstown, but also because he was the poster child for the analytically inclined baseball community for the better part of a decade. Led by a blogger named Rich Lederer, Blyleven's supporters inundated writers with articles and stories supporting Blyleven's election, and on his 14th chance, he finally crossed the 75 percent mark needed for enshrinement.
With Blyleven in, now the groundswell of support is rising behind Tim Raines, an underappreciated star of his era whose willingness to draw a walk has kept him out of the Hall because he didn't get to 3,000 hits. Raines' skill set has always been undervalued, and to this day, players who do what Raines did don't get as much credit for their performances as bulky sluggers who drive in runs. The recent AL MVP race made it clear that many still prefer the RBI guy to the table setter.
So, given what we know about what types of players make it into the Hall of Fame, here are four active players who are on track to be worthy of Cooperstown one day, but who have flown under the radar to some degree during their careers and will probably require a long lobbying effort to get them elected once their careers are over.
Dave Cameron explains why Adrian Beltre, Matt Holliday, Matt Cain and Jose Reyes might be overlooked right now as Hall of Fame candidates.