By: Noah Wright
GENE J. PUSKAR/AP PHOTO
Matt Holliday was a staple in The Rockies, and Cardinals lineup for many years, just as Todd Helton, and Albert Pujols were for The Rox and Cards. The outfielder had a long, and productive career for both teams, along with a half of a season with The A’s, and a season with The Yankees in where he played an impactful role both on and off the field. While he was one of the best at the time in his prime, Holliday could still not make The Hall. So with that being said, let's look at Matt Holliday’s Hall Of Fame Case.
Matt Holliday was originally drafted by The Rockies in the 7th round of the 1998 MLB Draft, and made his debut on April 16th, 2004. While he did go 0-3 in his debut game against The St. Louis Cardinals, his rookie season would be much more promising. In his first 439 plate appearances, the then 24-year old batted .290/.349/.488 with 14 homers, 57 RBI’s, and 104 wRC+. His decent debut season earned him 5th place in Rookie Of The Year voting. Holliday would follow up his rookie campaign with many more productive seasons, but let's look at how Holliday’s overall career stacks up, and how it can, or cannot make The Hall Of Fame. To start, Holliday is just one of 87 players with a slugging percentage above .500. His .511 slugging percentage ranks 64th all time, which is above Hall Of Fame sluggers like Eddie Matthews, and Harmon Killebrew. Holliday was also pretty good at getting on base too. His .378 on base percentage ranks 125 all time, and 65th among all outfielders. Over his career, Matt recorded 1217 RBI’s. His 1000+ RBI’s is another feat that has only been reached by 285 players. His 1217 RBI’s ranks 125th among all time players, which is just 8 RBI’s short of Gary Carter’s all time amount. Another thing worth mentioning is his performance at, and away from The Rockies home field. While Holliday was greatly helped by The Coors Factor early in his career, he did adapted once he left The Rockies. Overall with The Rox, Holliday hit .319/.387/.552 with 128 homers, and 483 RBI’s between ‘04-’08. After he left Colorado, Holliday hit .287/.374/.485 with 186 home runs, and 734 RBI’s. It is clear that he had the better stats in the mountains, his performance didn’t fall off a cliff like some players do once they leave Colorado. Holliday’s best season was probably his 2007 campaign. In that season, Holliday batted for a .340/.405/.607 batting line in 713 plate appearances. To go along with his league leading batting average, Holliday also led the league in RBI’s with 137. He may not have been close in homerun total to win The Triple Crown (as Prince Fielder had 50), Holliday still blasted 37 long balls. That coupled with his 151 wRC+, and 6 WAR that season, the outfielder finished 2nd in MVP voting, and won a Silver Slugger. In his prime, which I would consider 2006 to 2013, Holliday was a consistent producer at the plate. In each season between ‘06 to 2013, Holliday hit at least 20 home runs with 75 RBI’s, and a line of .295/.379/.490. His lowest wRC+ between that time span was a way above average 139, and his lowest WAR was 2.3. Even into his later years Holliday was still a decent producer. In his last season, Holliday played with The New York Yankees, and played role of being a veteran presence in the club house, and also helped with his bat for the first half of the season. For his first 276 plate appearances as a Yankee, Holliday hit 15 home runs, and drove in 47 RBI’s with a line of .262/.366/.511. While sickness and injuries derailed the rest of his season, Holliday still hit 19 home runs on the season. Holliday has a good amount of awards too. In his career, Holliday has made 7 all star game, and has won a World Series Ring in 2011. Matt also has another post season award with The 2007 NLCS MVP in his name. Holliday also has 4 Silver Sluggers, and has gotten MVP votes in 7 different seasons.
There’s more than enough reasons to see why Holliday should make The Hall, but let’s look at some reasons why he may not get in. First, you have to look at his home run total. Holiday, for being known as a power hitter, only hit 314 homeruns in his 14 season career. That puts him at 128th all time. His career WAR is also a thing to note. Holliday racked up a 44.1 WAR in his career, which ranks at just 403 all time. His low WAR can be attributed to his lackluster defense in his career. While Holliday’s offense was worth nearly 50 WAR across his 14 seasons of play, he was worth -12.6 WAR defensively, and -37 defensive runs saved in 14,488 and two thirds innings in left field. Holliday’s post season numbers are another thing that could affect his Hall chances. Sure, Holliday had some good post season series, but overall, his numbers aren’t that impressive. With a batting line of just .245/.302/.422 with 13 homers and 37 RBI’s in 305 plate appearances, nothing really stands out.
In the end, when everything is said and done, I do see Holliday making The Hall Of Fame eventually. Even if it is on his last ballot. Holliday was a solid producer out of the line-up for too long to overlook it. His accomplishment of being productive after The Rockies traded him, sending him away from Coors, is a feat that not many former Rockies have overcome. Coupled with his ability to stay as a productive enough bat later in his career, Holliday has a really good chance to receive a Call To The Hall.