New York, NY, Mon. Oct. 12, 2020: Baseball’s Hall of Fame will be filled with talent from the Caribbean – and especially the Dominican Republic from where a hotbed of stars has emerged. Sammy Sosa, Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz all hailed from the island and enjoyed outstanding careers in the MLB.
The Dominican Republic continues to produce a litany of talent, but the question is, who out of the players that are currently active has a shot to go to the Hall of Fame? Certain individuals, such as Robinson Cano, are surely on the path to Cooperstown, but are there fledgling talents ready to make a lasting impact in the league and for their respective franchises? Here are two you should get to know:
Luis Severino (New York Yankees)
Severino could be on the path to greatness, although injuries over the last two years have stymied his progress in the MLB. However, at the age of 26, he has plenty of time ahead of him should he come through his issues after signing a four-year extension with New York in 2019.
He made his debut in 2015 and proved his talent with a 5-3 record after being called into the starting rotation. The 2016 term was a learning curve for Severino as he was pulled from the rotation and sent back to the Yankees’ Triple-A outfit before being recalled as a reliever until the end of the term.
The following season provided his breakout season. Severino was outstanding as he won 14 of his 20 starts, boasting an ERA of 3.08 and 230 strikeouts to earn his first All-Star berth and finish third in the CY Young award standings in the American League. He had a game to forget against Minnesota in the post-season but bounced back to defeat the Cleveland Indians. The Houston Astros were too much for Severino and the Yankees, resulting in their defeat in the ALCS Game.
The 2018 campaign followed a similar pattern, winning 19 of his 27 starts with a stronger ERA of 2.95 and a second All-Star nod. His form in the post-season was not of his usual standard and that will need to improve along with his health to move into the reckoning as one of the great pitcher of the game.
Marcell Ozuna (Atlanta Braves)
The 29-year-old enjoyed the best campaign of his career in 2020 after signing a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves. His form has helped the Braves in their bid to win the World Series, currently being backed at +700 in the MLB odds on bet365 to triumph. Ozuna hit 18 home runs in his 60 games, including three in one game, leading the National League along with 56 RBIs and 145 total bases. In a different year, he would have secured the third All-Star berth of his career.
Ozuna has been a model of consistency throughout his career in the regular season. He has performed well with the bat and in his position as left fielder. Ozuna won the Golden Glove in 2017 for his exploits in the deep for the Miami Marlins. Due to the standard of the teams he has played for, Ozuna has not had a lot of experience in the playoffs. That is where Hall of Fame credentials are well and truly established.
At the age of 29, time is on his side and he should not be short of suitors in the off-season when his contract expires with the Braves. He needs to maintain the standard of excellence for a number of seasons to be considered for a push to have his name etched in the history of the sport.
These are two outstanding players that have the potential to become legends. We’ll eagerly await to see whether they are capable of taking the significant step towards greatness.