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Holland’s case may be even stronger than Soria’s. He will continue to add to these numbers in 2021. This season Holland can close the gap between himself and Monty and Quis, or perhaps the wheels fall off and he’s DFA’d in July. Regardless, the six full seasons and one covid season he has had with the Royals have been superb, with an ERA under 2 in three of those seasons. This one is too early to call.
I would love to make a section here for Wade Davis but having played only 4 seasons for the team I don’t think he really has a case. Regardless, 2014-2016 Wade Davis was one of the most dominating runs by a reliever ever seen in the sport.
Salvador Perez, C: 9 seasons, 18.1 WAR, 99 wRC+, 6x All-Star, 5x gold glove, 3x silver slugger, World Series MVP (2015), Royals lifer (so far)
Statistically, Perez has an interesting case. A 99 wRC+ is not exceptional overall, but league average offensive production is more than can be asked from most catchers. Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs disagree strongly on his value, as B-R credits him with 24.2 career WAR, while Fangraphs gives Perez just 11.9 WAR. Frankly, though, I do not believe these stats are particularly relevant to his case. Perez is a beloved player that could be argued as the face of the franchise. He has tenure and he has the hardware. I think Perez has a strong case to be the first catcher inducted in the Royals Hall of Fame.
Danny Duffy, SP: 10 seasons, 16.2 WAR, 94 ERA-, Royals lifer (so far)
Duffy may be best known for bear-related garments and “Bury me a Royal,” but he is also currently the longest-tenured player on the roster (he and Perez debuted in 2011 but Perez missed all of 2019 with injury). Duffy has never received MVP or Cy Young votes, nor has he ever made an All-Star team. Aside from 2014-2017 – a stretch in which Duffy started between 24 and 26 games each season with a stellar 83 ERA- – Duffy has had pedestrian numbers for his career. His off-field issues may hamper his case as well. He may have a shot at the Hall in the mold of Leonard or Split by spending his entire career with the team, but I wouldn’t consider it likely.
Lorenzo Cain, OF: 7 seasons, 22.4 WAR, 107 wRC+, 1x All-Star, ALCS MVP (2014)
Cain, Eric Hosmer, and Mike Moustakas each played 7 seasons for the Royals (well ok, 7.5 for Moustakas). The only position player in the Hall with a shorter tenure was John Mayberry, and he averaged over 3 WAR per season with well above average offensive numbers. Hosmer may have the hardware, and Moustakas the short-lived team home run record, but I will only make an argument for Cain as his production was easily the best of the three. With his bat-to-ball skills, speed, and defense in center field, Cain was one of the American League’s premier centerfielders and finished 3rd in MVP voting in 2015. He accrued 22.4 WAR despite playing in more than 100 games in only five out of his seven seasons with the team and more than 130 games just three times. Had he stayed healthy these numbers could be even more impressive, and perhaps he would not have been repeatedly snubbed for gold gloves. I don’t believe Cain’s chances are exceptional, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him eventually inducted.
To the six people that read this, what are your thoughts? Which of these players will eventually see the Hall? Is there anybody with a strong case that I missed? Why do you believe Frank Schwindel, Dusty Coleman, and Aaron Brooks should be inducted? Share your thoughts in the comments!