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Vlad's career built solid case for Cooperstown

Guerrero's traditional, advanced stats place him among all-time greats
MLB.com

In Vladimir Guerrero's first year on the Hall of Fame ballot, Cooperstown looks like it might be within reach.

A nine-time All-Star for the Expos, Angels and Rangers (he also played for the Orioles) and a man who could hit anything, Guerrero appears a likely candidate to get into the Hall of Fame eventually. But whether he'll join the Hall of Fame class of 2017 isn't yet clear.

In Vladimir Guerrero's first year on the Hall of Fame ballot, Cooperstown looks like it might be within reach.

A nine-time All-Star for the Expos, Angels and Rangers (he also played for the Orioles) and a man who could hit anything, Guerrero appears a likely candidate to get into the Hall of Fame eventually. But whether he'll join the Hall of Fame class of 2017 isn't yet clear.

MLB.com takes a look at Vlad's case for Cooperstown by the numbers ahead of the results of the 73rd BBWAA Hall of Fame election being revealed Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. ET live on MLB Network, and simulcast live on MLB.com beginning at 5 p.m.

Video: MLB Now discusses Vladimir Guerrero's case for HOF

Vladimir Guerrero, OF/DH, 1996-2011
Career stats: .318/.379/.553, 2,590 H, 449 HR, 1,496 RBIs, 1,328 R, 250 IBB, .931 OPS, 140 OPS+, 136 wRC+, 59.3 WAR

HOF case, traditional stats
• Vlad was always extremely dangerous at the plate. His .553 career slugging percentage ranks 21st all-time among retired players, and it would rank 14th among Hall of Famers, ahead of contemporaries like Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey Jr., both of whom were inducted last year.

• In baseball's modern era, only 18 players with as many plate appearances as Guerrero (9,059) retired with a higher batting average than his .318 mark. All of them are in the Hall of Fame.

• Guerrero's reputation preceded him. One of the most feared hitters in baseball, the eight-time Silver Slugger Award winner's 250 intentional walks rank fifth all-time. He led his league in intentional walks five times, including the Major Leagues in 2000.

• Guerrero's 449 career home runs would rank 23rd among Hall of Famers, between Carl Yastrzemski and Andre Dawson. His 2,590 hits would rank 60th, just ahead of Reggie Jackson. His 1,496 RBIs would rank 39th, just after Mickey Mantle.

HOF case, advanced stats
• Vlad retired with a 140 OPS+, the same career OPS+ as Alex Rodriguez, and better than that of Hall of Famers like Griffey and Tony Gwynn. (Guerrero's unadjusted .931 OPS would also rank 18th among those in Cooperstown, behind Hack Wilson.)

• Of players with at least 9,000 plate appearances in the modern era, Guerrero's 136 wRC+ ranks 34th, again ahead of Griffey and Gwynn, plus other Hall of Fame outfielders like Yastrzemski and Roberto Clemente.

• Any time Guerrero stepped to the plate, he was a threat to put a ball into the gap or over the fence. His .235 career isolated power -- the number of extra bases a player hits for per at-bat -- ranks 25th among those players with at least 9,000 plate appearances.

Most similar player in the HOF 
Willie Stargell. Both MVP Award winners, the two are similar in several advanced stats. Guerrero had a 59.3 WAR, 140 OPS+, 136 wRC+, .390 wOBA and .235 ISO; Stargell had a 57.5 WAR, 147 OPS+, 145 wRC+, .387 wOBA and .247 ISO. Their counting stats are also close: Guerrero had 2,590 hits, 449 homers, 1,496 RBIs and 250 intentional walks, while Stargell had 2,232 hits, 475 homers, 1,540 RBIs and 227 intentional walks. But Guerrero's slash line was much better than Stargell's -- he hit .318 to Stargell's .282 and slugged .553 to Stargell's .529, helping produce a .931 OPS versus Stargell's .889. And despite his notorious free swinging, Guerrero struck out at half the rate Stargell did.

Most similar player not in the HOF 
Fred McGriff. The Crime Dog, also a feared hitter (171 intentional walks), logged about 1,000 more career plate appearances than Guerrero, so some of his counting stats are slightly better (494 homers, 1,550 RBIs). But Vlad had the better slash line and an edge in some advanced stats. McGriff's .284 batting average, .509 slugging percentage and .886 OPS are all well below Guerrero's marks, and McGriff's 52.4 WAR, 134 OPS+ and wRC+, .383 wOBA and .225 ISO fall shy of Guerrero's as well.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.