Giancarlo Stanton will not make the Hall Of Fame. Hear me out.
If you had asked me if he'd make it after the 2018 season, I would have thought he'd be as much of a lock as any 20-something can be. He had just finished his Age 28 season and already had 305 home runs with a .548 slugging percentage. He even had over 1100 hits.
Since then, he's spent the last five seasons constantly injured and has only played one full season during that time. He's averaged 73 games and 65 hits a year from 2019-22. To the surprise of no one reading this, Stanton is back on the IL with a hamstring injury that will keep him out six weeks.
He's also seemingly lost the ability to get on base. He had a .297 OBP last year and was off to a .296 this season. After a while all of these injuries are going to take a toll. Since 2019, he's had ankle and Achillies injuries, a strained quad as well as a biceps and knee strain. This is his second hamstring issue in that time. It's one thing if a guy keeps getting hurt but can come back as the same player. These injuries are taking a dramatic toll on his ability.
You might be reading this and thinking "Sure, he's hurt all the time now but he had some great years." Absolutely. He's won an MVP award and had that huge 59 home run season. That was also the only season he had 40 or more home runs. He also has only 1397 hits in his career. The last HOFer to get inducted by the writers with less than 2000 hits was Ralph Kiner in 1975. That might change when Buster Posey becomes eligible. But even if Posey gets in, it's very hard for anyone not reaching that benchmark to get in.
Stanton is 33 years old so it's fair to question how much longer he'll be playing for. He is under contract for four seasons beyond this one. I don't have any confidence that a guy who hit .211 last season will be able to get 700 hits over the next five seasons but it's certainly not impossible. If he can hit that 2000 hit plateau (and obviously home runs would be a big chunk of that), would that be enough?
Ryan Howard is an interesting comparison. He also has a MVP award and a 58+ home run season. He also has a World Series title as well. As of this moment, they even have the same amount of career home runs (382). Howard was off the ballot after he only got 2% of the vote in his first year. That's not entirely fair as Stanton was a better player than Howard and will obviously finish with more home runs than Howard but it at least shows how hard it is to get inducted.
Another intriguing comparison is Darryl Strawberry. Like Stanton, he had a great first eight years of his career with his first team. Like when Stanton went to the Yankees, Straw went to the Dodgers and had a very good first season with his new team. Then injuries (and for Strawberry addiction and cancer) mounted and he was never the same player again. Strawberry, like Howard, also only spent one year on the HOF ballot.
Stanton already has more career home runs than Strawberry. I also think Stanton won't be a 'one and out' HOF ballot guy. But it does shine a light on guys that when they were playing looked like certain HOFers but were never really close. The only way he has any chance is if he can somehow string together a few years like his 2021 season. The guy who played for the Marlins and even that first season with the Yankees is gone. He's not coming back.
Every game he plays now does help with his compiling stats but with his declining abilities, it'll hurt his rate stats. That career OBP of .353 will certainly be less than that when he retires. Can he get the 118 home runs he needs for 500 before his Yankee contract is up? I think that would be only path to Cooperstown. I see that as a task too difficult for a guy who has only hit 73 home runs from 2019-22.
The Marlins will have to continue to wait for the first player to enter Cooperstown with a Marlins logo on their plaque.