Looking at the Hall-of-Fame Ballot: Former Yankees Pt. 10 – Alfonso Soriano
There are eleven former Yankees on this year’s ballot. The entire list of players whose Hall-of-Fame case I have examined is listed at the end of this article.
Today we focus on Alfonso Soriano.
Does Alfonso Soriano belong in the Hall-of-Fame?
We can answer this one quickly… No. Alfonso Soriano was a dynamic player, a fun guy to root for, the main guy traded for the Yankees to acquire Alex Rodriguez, but, no, he was not a Hall-of-Famer.
Let’s see why not.
The Low Bar (or the Harold Baines Test):
Regular readers will know that my first test for any player to be included in the Hall-of-Fame is what I call the “Harold Baines Test.” In short, a player must have a lifetime WAR (Baseball-Reference) above that of Harold Baines. If the player’s lifetime WAR is below that of Baines, it is my opinion that he does not belong in the Hall-of-Fame. Ranked by WAR, Harold Baines comes in as the 552nd best player of all-time with a WAR of 38.7. This is the low bar. There are literally hundreds of players better than Baines who are not in the Hall-of-Fame. We have no business electing players who rank lower than Baines.
Alfonso Soriano fails the first test.
“Say it ain’t so…Soriano!”
Alfonso Soriano’s lifetime WAR is 28.2. (Ouch.) He comes in way under Harold Baines. Way, way, way under.
Baines ranks 552nd in all-time WAR.
Soriano ranks 916th.
Ballgame over. (But, let’s, quickly, take a deeper dive…)
Awards, Honors, and the Like:
It seems logical to assume that a Hall-of-Fame player would have received a good deal of honors and awards during his playing days.
Alfonso Soriano was a very good player for a long time. His career lasted from 1999 to 2014. In that time, Soriano was a seven time All-Star.
He also won four Silver Slugger Awards (three at second base and one in the outfield).
In 2004, Alfonso Soriano won the MVP of the All-Star Game.
Alfonso Soriano did top 400 homers in his career, ending with 412.
He had more than 2,000 hits (2,095).
Soriano’s 289 stolen bases ranks him in the top 200 of all-time.
JAWS By Position:
Alfonso Soriano does not appear on the JAWS list at second base.
As a left fielder, Soriano ranks 68th all-time. That’s not entirely fair because the first part of his career (1999-2004), he was a second baseman, and even after moving to the outfield, he did see some time at second base.
Most Similar Players:
Baseball Reference lists the ten most similar players to each MLB player for their career.
Of the ten, none are in the Hall-of-Fame.
The ten players are Dale Murphy, Jim Edmonds, Shawn Green, Andruw Jones, Aramis Ramirez, Joe Carter, Ellis Burks, Carlos Lee, Matt Williams, and Scott Rolen.
That is an impressive list of stars. Soriano belongs on that list, he was a star.
He just wasn’t a Hall-of-Famer.
Alfonso Soriano spent seven years as a Yankee. He was a dynamic and exciting player who hit .276/121/343 for the Bombers. He also stole a ton of bases (130) as a Yankee.
Had Soriano (a poor defender) stayed at second base, he might have had a Hall-of-Fame career. His overall numbers would be amazing for a second sacker.
The trade to the Rangers, and his subsequent move to the outfield, made him less valuable overall. His skill set wasn’t as unique or special as a left fielder. Of course, as he aged, Soriano’s lack of range made staying at second base something that (history says, at least) couldn’t be sustained.
Alfonso Soriano had a nice career, an excellent career…just not a Hall-of-Fame career.
(Still to come in this series: Brian Roberts.)
Previous Installments of This Series: