Among active players, Mike Trout, Max Scherzer, Joey Votto, Justin Verlander, Nolan Arenado, Mookie Betts, Miguel Cabrera and Clayton Kershaw are sure to be Hall of Famers when their illustrious playing careers conclude.
The following five players aren't locks, but certainly belong in the discussion of current players that could one day have plaques in Cooperstown:
Evan Longoria, Free Agent
Currently a free agent, it's possible that the 37-year-old will fall just short of election to the Hall of Fame. But the 2008 American League Rookie of the Year is the greatest player in Tampa Bay Rays history, and would be the first player to don a Rays cap in Cooperstown. According to Baseball Reference, Longoria is within striking distance of the average WAR, WAR 7 and JAWS of the third basemen already in the Hall of Fame. At the very least, the three-time Gold Glove Award winner will hang around on the ballot for 10 years.
Craig Kimbrel, Philadelphia Phillies
Kimbrel is an eight-time All-Star, who won the 2011 NL Rookie of the Year Award while pitching for the Atlanta Braves, a pretty rare accomplishment for a relief pitcher. The 34-year-old struggled relative to his usual output with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2022, but the defending NL Champion Philadelphia Phillies still gave him a one-year/$10 million deal for 2023. He'll enter his 14th big league season with 394 career saves, which are seventh in MLB history. There's a good chance he'll finish his career in the top five of that category, and if he's able to put together another elite season or two, it will be hard to keep him out of the Hall.
Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals
Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina -- two players certain to be elected as Hall of Famers -- retired after the 2022 season. But the St. Louis Cardinals may very well still have two future Hall of Famers in their lineup in 2023. Nolan Arenado increasingly feels like a player that's going to be a lock for election. And after winning the 2022 NL MVP, Goldschmidt is on the doorstep. A seven-time All-Star, Goldschmidt has finished sixth or better in NL MVP voting on six occasions, including as the runner-up twice before finally breaking through this past season. His WAR 7 -- the top seven single-season WAR totals of his career combined -- already tops the average Hall of Fame first baseman. By the time Goldschmidt's career is over, the only question may be whether he wears a Cardinals or Arizona Diamondbacks cap on his plaque.
José Ramírez, Cleveland Guardians
Since the start of the 2016 season, the only players who have topped Ramírez's 39.5 WAR are Mike Trout and Mookie Betts, two future Hall of Famers. Still only 30, Ramírez is a four-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger Award winner. He was the runner-up for AL MVP in 2020, and has finished fourth or better in voting on four occasions. He has some more work to do, but Ramírez seems to have a good shot to be the first player to go into the Hall of Fame as a Guardian.
Kenley Jansen, Boston Red Sox
We may not think of Jansen as having been as dominant as Kimbrel, but he's just three saves behind him on his career, as he'll enter 2023 having closed out 391 games in 13 seasons. After spending the first 12 years of his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jansen led the NL with 41 saves in 2022 as a member of the Atlanta Braves. That earned him a two-year/$32 million deal with the Boston Red Sox. With a couple more All-Star caliber seasons, Jansen could cement himself as a future Hall of Famer.