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Best eligible HOF candidates moving forward

A position-by-position look at who could be next into Cooperstown
MLB.com @TracyRingolsby

While members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America added four players to the Hall of Fame for 2018, there are still worthy candidates waiting for the call to the Hall.

Let's take a look at next year's ballot and go position by position in assessing the most deserving Hall of Famers who are eligible, but have not been inducted.

While members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America added four players to the Hall of Fame for 2018, there are still worthy candidates waiting for the call to the Hall.

Let's take a look at next year's ballot and go position by position in assessing the most deserving Hall of Famers who are eligible, but have not been inducted.

C: Ted Simmons
Let's give a tip of the hat to Simmons, who didn't earn election in his first stint on the BBWAA ballot, but in December came up just one vote shy of making it as a selection of the Modern Era Committee, which votes on players who were not elected during their eligibility on the BBWAA ballot.

1B: Fred McGriff
He was so consistently good, hitting 493 home runs over his 19-year career. If not for the strike-shortened 1994 and '95 seasons, it's safe to assume he would have reached 500 homers, a milestone that historically has paved the way to Cooperstown.

2B: Jeff Kent
He finished his career with 377 home runs, 1,518 RBIs, a .500 slugging percentage, an .855 OPS and 560 doubles, while primarily playing second base. However, his defense didn't earn rave reviews, which is the primary reason voters have been hesitant.

Video: SF@PIT: Kent goes 5-for-5 and hits for the cycle

3B: Scott Rolen
He had Hall of Fame claims early in a career in which he was a seven-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove Award winner. Injuries blurred the latter part of his career, as Rolen played in 120 games only three times over his final eight seasons.

SS: Miguel Tejada
He finished in the top 20 in Most Valuable Player Award voting each year from 2000-06, winning the American League MVP with Oakland in 2002. However, links to performance-enhancing drugs could hurt his chances.

LF: Barry Bonds
His candidacy has been tainted by allegations of PED use, but he won seven MVP Awards, including three before the so-called PED era. Without the suspicions, he undoubtedly would have been a first-ballot inductee as the all-time leader in home runs with 762.

Video: OAK@SF: Bonds' solo homer Splash Hit

CF: Andruw Jones
With 434 career home runs and 10 Gold Gloves, Jones was a force at the plate and in center field. A .254 career batting average could be the anchor weighing down his candidacy.

RF: Larry Walker
Regarded as one of the most complete players in the game during his 17-year career, Walker joins Stan Musial, Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig -- all Hall of Famers -- as the only players in MLB history who batted at least .300, had a .400 or better on-base percentage, a .400-plus slugging percentage and at least 450 doubles, 60 triples, 350 homers and 1,250 RBIs. He also won seven Gold Gloves, second only to Dwight Evans' eight among right fielders in the Hall of Fame.

DH: Edgar Martinez
He finished 20 votes shy this year, but his 70.4 percent was 11.8 percent higher than a year ago, showing strong momentum. What kind of designated hitter was he? Well, MLB hands out the Edgar Martinez Award to the best DH each year.

SP: Roger Clemens
Clemens' candidacy is similar to Bonds' in regards to PEDs. Nevertheless, he dominated from the day he got to the big leagues. Clemens won a record seven Cy Young Awards, two more than No. 2, Randy Johnson, who is already in Cooperstown.

RP: Mariano Rivera
2019 will be his first year on the ballot, and with an MLB-record 652 saves, he's virtually a lock.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com.