As many as five candidates -- and possibly six -- could be elected, according to the public ballots amassed online. Here's a look at how the 14 voted, and at the bottom you can see what the totals look like among this group:
Jeff Bagwell, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Ivan Rodriguez, Lee Smith
I don't believe there is a substantial argument against induction with any of these candidates. Bagwell's candidacy may have been held back by unfounded rumors, but this should be the year when he wins a richly deserved place at Cooperstown. Rodriguez should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He won 13 Gold Gloves and seven Silver Slugger Awards as a catcher.
Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Guerrero, Hoffman, Mike Mussina, Jorge Posada, Tim Raines, Rodriguez, Smith
I'd known for a while I'd be using all 10 spots and who my first nine candidates would be. For the first time this year, I asked for suggestions from readers about that final slot and said I was leaning toward Smith, whom I wound up choosing in his last of 15 years on the ballot. Smith had 478 saves, a record Hoffman and Mariano Rivera surpassed. I've never understood why he hadn't earned much traction among voters, while Goose Gossage and Bruce Sutter did. Edgar Martinez and Larry Walker were also very good candidates. If I had 12 spots to use, I would have voted for them.
Bagwell, Hoffman, Martinez, Fred McGriff, Raines, Rodriguez, Curt Schilling
Bagwell missed by just 15 votes last year and should easily make it this time. He's worthy because of his 449 homers and .297 lifetime average. Hoffman gets my vote because his 601 career saves are second only to Rivera's 652. Rodriguez was the best catcher of his era, hands down. Schilling was a big-game, dominant pitcher. Martinez defined the role of DH, and I've felt for years McGriff should get elected.
Bagwell, Bonds, Clemens, Hoffman, Martinez, Mussina, Raines, Rodriguez, Schilling, Billy Wagner
Fourteen players with Hall of Fame credentials were on this year's ballot, so the challenge was coming up with 10 most deserving. It's an imperfect science. Bagwell, Bonds, Clemens, Mussina, Schilling, Rodriguez and Raines are no-brainers. Closers (Hoffman and Wagner) and DHs (Martinez) are relatively new parts of the game and should be reflected in HOF voting. Guerrero was my toughest no-vote, but he'll surely get in at some point.
It was tough to leave off Mussina, but hey, I only get 10 votes. I thought hard about Walker, but I am concerned about the Colorado effect. His road splits were not nearly as good. But I will revisit the vote again next year, as with Mussina.
The philosophy here has been consistent for years. Hall of Fame votes are too important to guess who did or didn't use PEDs. Voters should either vote for the best players or don't vote for anyone. Also, I'm still skeptical about DHs, but I think closers have been largely shortchanged.
Bagwell, Bonds, Clemens, Guerrero, Hoffman, Jeff Kent, Raines, Ramirez, Rodriguez, Smith
For the first time, I voted for Bonds and Clemens. I vacillated on Rodriguez and Ramirez before throwing my support behind their sheer force -- Manny at the plate, Pudge behind it. Guerrero is a first-ballot guy. No pitcher wanted to face him. I've supported Bagwell, Hoffman, Kent and Smith virtually nonstop.
Jon Paul Morosi
Bagwell, Bonds, Clemens, Guerrero, Hoffman, Martinez, Mussina, Raines, Rodriguez, Schilling
Raines is the only player in MLB history with 800-plus stolen bases, 1,300-plus walks and 100-plus triples. He belongs in the Hall of Fame, as do two deserving candidates -- Martinez and Hoffman -- for whom contemporary awards are named. Walker is worthy of Cooperstown, too, but was my toughest omission.
I added Bagwell this year after more discussion and analysis of his career. Rodriguez was impressive both defensively (13 Gold Gloves) and offensively. Bonds, Raines and Clemens are carryovers from last year's ballot.
Bagwell, Guerrero, Hoffman, McGriff, Raines, Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Smith
Since McGriff should make the Baseball Hall of Fame, so should Bagwell. They have similar offensive numbers. In many cases, these first basemen ended their careers with offensive numbers superior to those of Tony Perez. That's the same Perez in Cooperstown.
I completely changed my ballot strategy in an effort to be a better voter. Relying more heavily on analytics and being mindful of a grossly underrepresented generation of fans and their favorite players, this voter checked 10 boxes for the first time, including five new names: Bagwell, Martinez, Mussina, Raines and Schilling. Guerrero deserves to be the first Dominican position player inducted, opening an important door after overcoming cultural hurdles. I would add Walker and Wagner if the ballot were expanded.
Walker has to be the biggest oversight from voters. They get hung up on the Coors Field factor, but if you use the analytics for his road stats, you will find he ranks in the upper third of the players in the Hall of Fame.
Bagwell, Mussina, Raines, Rodriguez, Schilling, Walker
I would love to see Rodriguez elected in his first try. He's the best catcher I've seen, and there's no close second. I hope more voters take a hard look at Walker. He was such a complete player. Coors Field helped his stats, but his game was about lots more than his batting average.
Rodriguez should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He is one of the five best catchers in baseball history, along with Johnny Bench, Roy Campanella, Yogi Berra and Josh Gibson. Mussina is way too overlooked and should be in the Hall already.
Vote totals of the 14 MLB.com writers
With 75 percent of the vote needed for entry to the Hall, Bagwell, Rodriguez, Raines and Hoffman received enough support -- appearing on a minimum of 11 of the 14 ballots -- from MLB.com writers, with Bonds, Clemens and Guerrero knocking at the door.
1. Jeff Bagwell: 14
1. Ivan Rodriguez: 14
3. Tim Raines: 13
4. Trevor Hoffman: 12
5. Barry Bonds: 10
5. Roger Clemens: 10
7. Vladimir Guerrero: 9
8. Mike Mussina: 7
8. Lee Smith: 7
10. Edgar Martinez: 5
10. Fred McGriff: 5
10. Curt Schilling: 5
13. Manny Ramirez: 3
14. Billy Wagner: 2
14. Larry Walker: 2
16. Jeff Kent: 1
16. Jorge Posada: 1
16. Gary Sheffield: 1