"He'll be in the Hall of Fame someday," Castro said of Soriano.
Maybe Starlin Castro's not as crazy as he sounds.
Soriano got a late start, not becoming a regular on the star-studded Yankees until his age-25 season, so his counting stats (2083 hits, 412 home runs, 1153 RBIs) are south of Hall of Famers with similar splits (.271/.321/.502).
Soriano's case starts and ends for me with his performance as a slugger. Looking at the contemporary hitters around a .500 SLG and at least 7500 career PA, I see a slew of borderline names: Edgar Martinez (I would put in), Jose Canseco (out, only 5 seasons of 140+ games), Gary Sheffield (push), Jeff Kent (vote yes), Magglio Ordonez (vote no).
The piece that leaves Soriano on the outside looking in of these comps was his hackery at the plate. While he ranks 53rd by slugging among players with at least 7500 PA, he's tied for 300th when you look at OBP. Regular readers will know that I consider getting on base to be the single most important thing a hitter can do.
He could get a little more support if he could get the Ernie Banks treatment, and be remembered as a second baseman even though he spent more of his career in the outfield. But because he was traded twice, and threw such a public temper tantrum over playing the outfield, Soriano doesn't have the "lifelong" tag. In all the hoopla of the A-Rod trade, it was easy to forget that Soriano had just finished a second consecutive five-win season, in which he played second base to a draw, and put together back to back 35 HR – 35 SB performances.
Soriano's all or nothing approach has always added home runs at the cost of singles. If this is his last rodeo, there's just no way he adds enough to those counting stats to draw the attention old school voters in the BBWAA, and even if he hung around long enough to run up those counting stats, there are plenty of Gary Sheffields and Jeff Kents ahead of him in the line who won't reach the Hall.
He's been a joy to watch, especially when he was chasing down his 40-40 season. And by all accounts he's matured into a good clubhouse guy and a good teammate. But he's going to have to buy a ticket if he wants to see the Hall of Fame.