Manny Machado is halfway to the Hall, and he’s a good bet to get there

Manny Machado scored his first of three goals against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday at the age of 29 years and 344 days, averaging 1,500 career goals. The milestone is an achievement regardless of age.

More than 22,000 people have played at a major league baseball field, but only 581 have reached the goal. Those who make it before age 30 are usually inducted into the Hall of Famers.

After another three-hit night on Thursday, Machado owns 1,505 career hits that come into play on Friday.

He’s also hit 262 home runs since entering the majors in 2012, including 11 this season, which is on track to be his most productive season since 2018. He beats .322 with .932 OPS; he leads baseball with a 4.0 WAR on FanGraphs and is second with a 3.8 WAR on Baseball Reference – behind Tommy Edman of the St. Louis Cardinals.

When it comes to traditional Hall of Fame benchmarks like 3,000 hits and 500 homers, Machado is halfway to becoming a Cooperstown anchor, and the Hall needs him.

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Through advanced measures like bWAR – he sits at 49.0 for his career – he’s more than halfway to the general threshold. The average Hall of Famer inductee produced 67 career WARs.

Of the 17 players in major league history who hit 1,500 hits and 250 homers before turning 30, 12 are in the Hall of Fame, as noted by MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell, two are certain when they’re eligible (Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera), and another is a Hall of Fame talent tainted by PED use (Alex Rodriguez). Andruw Jones has five years of BBWAA considerations ahead of him, receiving votes on 41% of the ballots last winter.

According to Baseball Reference’s similarity scores, his most common games are with Ron Santo and Adrian Beltre at any age. Santo, the Cubs’ longtime third baseman, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012 by the Golden Age Committee. Beltre will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2024 after ending his illustrious career with 3,166 goals.

Their paths to the hall will be instructive for Machado’s candidacy. Despite his early success, Santo only played 15 years and never came close to the career milestones of 3,000 hits and 500 HR that were often used to define Hall’s worthiness. In 1998, his last election year, he received his highest number of votes with 43.1%.

Beltre played 21 seasons and reached the 3,000 hit mark. He’s never won an MVP award, but he’s rated highly by the Hall of Stats, where he’s ranked the fifth-best third baseman in baseball history — beating Scott Rolen, who received votes on nearly 63.2% of the 2022 ballot .

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The Hall of Famers also need more third basemen.

It’s the most underrepresented position in Cooperstown with just 17 anchored third basemen. Perhaps that’s because it’s a position that requires defensive acumen, but as a corner kicker you’re also expected to slug. It’s a difficult position to play and for a long period of time.

While Machado flies under the radar at a time when Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani are playing and teammate Fernando Tatis Jr. is doing remarkable things on the field while in good health, there are few players more consistent than Machado. That bodes well for his chances in the Hall of Fame.

He has ranked fifth in games since his first full season, and those ranking ahead of him spend most of their time playing first base, a less demanding position.

Adjusted stats like wRC+ and OPS+ ranked Machado as an above-average hitter every year of his career, and his 170 wRC+ and 172 OPS+ this season would be career-best.

He’s hit at least 28 homers in every full season since 2016 and is on track to surpass that mark this season.

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His strikeout and zone discipline remains remarkably consistent, as does his batting quality. He excelled before the Statcast era and continues to do so during the period – when facing a juiced ball or a dead ball.

His glove is also remarkably consistent, ranking fifth among all players in defensive runs saved at the majors since 2013, behind only Nolan Arenado in the hot corner. He shows no signs of slipping down the defensive spectrum.

Whichever way you look at it, Machado seems to have reached more than half the hall. And given its history of consistency and consistency, it seems like a good choice to get there.

Travis Sawchik is the Senior Baseball Writer at theScore.

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