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Who should make this year's cut for Cooperstown? Jay Jaffe takes a look at the candidacy of everyone on the ballot.

By Jay Jaffe
December 09, 2016

The 2017 Hall of Fame ballot is out, and as 34 former players vie for the honor to be inducted into baseball's most exclusive club, the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America must weigh their choices to pick the men they believe deserve a bronze plaque in Cooperstown. But which players should make the cut, and who comes up short?

All month ahead of the Dec. 31 deadline to submit a ballot, SI.com baseball writer and Hall of Fame expert Jay Jaffe will be breaking down the individual cases for each player on the ballot, from the top candidates to the likely one-and-done players. Using the statistic that he developed to measure a player's Hall of Fame contributions—JAWS—Jay will look back at the careers of everyone on the 2017 ballot and provide a stat-based valuation of their numbers, as well as examine recent and historical Hall voting trends to see what the future may hold for each man's Cooperstown hopes.

Below, you can find all of Jay's published JAWS profiles, which are are listed below in order of publication, with the most recent on top; you'll also find a quick introduction to JAWS. And don't forget to pre-order Jay's upcoming book on the Hall of Fame, "The Cooperstown Casebook," out June 2017.

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From 34 down to 10: Which players make the cut for Cooperstown? I assemble my virtual ballot, breaking down who I would put up for a bronze plaque and who comes up short, and why. Read more.

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Fifteen of this year's first-time Hall of Fame candidates are far below Cooperstown's standards and unlikely to receive the 5% of the vote needed to stay on the ballot. But that doesn't mean they're not worth remembering. In Part 1, Jay looks back at the careers of Pat Burrell, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Magglio Ordoñez and Matt Stairs. Read more.

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Fifteen of this year's first-time Hall of Fame candidates are far below Cooperstown's standards and unlikely to receive the 5% of the vote needed to stay on the ballot. But that doesn't mean they're not worth remembering. In Part 2, Jay looks back at the careers of Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Carlos Guillen, Melvin Mora and Casey Blake. Read more.

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Fifteen of this year's first-time Hall of Fame candidates are far below Cooperstown's standards and unlikely to receive the 5% of the vote needed to stay on the ballot. But that doesn't mean they're not worth remembering. In Part 1, Jay looks back at the careers of Tim Wakefield, Arthur Rhodes, Jason Varitek, Derrek Lee and Freddy Sanchez. Read more.

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Burdened by steroid accusations, Sammy Sosa is a longshot for Cooperstown and has seen little support from the voters despite his 609 career home runs. But it's not just the taint of PEDs that makes Sosa's Hall of Fame case one that hasn't received any backing. Read more.

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Despite hitting as many career home runs as Lou Gehrig, Fred McGriff has never found wide support on the Hall of Fame ballot, with his chances at enshrinement in Cooperstown remaining low thanks to his itinerant career and poor advanced numbers. Read more.

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Boasting offensive numbers most players can only dream of, Manny Ramirez's Hall of Fame hopes nonetheless rest on voters forgiving him for his pair of performance-enhancing drug suspensions—bans that will likely keep him out of Cooperstown for the foreseeable future. Read more.

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Thanks to his subpar defense and surly attitude, Gary Sheffield has had a hard time building support on the Hall of Fame ballot despite his otherworldly offense, though his Cooperstown candidacy deserves a closer and longer look than most voters are giving it. Read more.

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His sterling defense made him one of the best catchers of all time, but will performance-enhancing drug allegations rob Ivan Rodriguez of a first-ballot entry to Cooperstown on the Hall of Fame vote? Read more.

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A hard-throwing reliever with gaudy strikeout rates, Billy Wagner's low counting stats and weak advanced numbers would seem to leave him on the outside looking in for Cooperstown. But is there more to his Hall of Fame case than meets the eye? Read more.

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A key part of the core of the Yankees' dynasty teams of the late 1990s, Posada was integral to four World Series winners and New York's extended run of dominance. Is that enough to get him into the Hall of Fame? His low counting stats and weak defense make his Cooperstown case a tough one. Read more.

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Despite some terrific advanced statistics and his all-around excellent value at the plate, in the field and on the bases, Larry Walker's voter support has been slow to materialize on the Hall of Fame ballot, and with only a few years left of eligibility, his Cooperstown hopes may be running out. Read more.

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Despite his terrific traditional offensive stats at second base, Jeff Kent's Hall of Fame case is undone by advanced numbers and his poor defense at the keystone, making him a borderline candidate at best for a plaque in Cooperstown. Read more.

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Will Vladimir Guerrero waltz into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility? He has the traditional stats to earn a plaque, but a crowded ballot and some less-than-stellar advanced numbers may delay his deserving trip to Cooperstown. Read more.

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Now in his 15th and final year on the ballot, Lee Smith is unlikely to find the support he needs thanks to his underwhelming statistics. But the former saves king's Hall of Fame chances aren't totally done even if he falls short in his last turn. Read more.

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The numbers are on Mike Mussina's side for a bronze plaque in Cooperstown, but his Hall of Fame candidacy has been slow to garner support in his first three years on the ballot. Can he take a big step forward on the ballot in 2017 and set himself up for a late run at the Hall? Read more.

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The all-time home run king and arguably the greatest hitter who has ever lived, Barry Bonds is the very definition of a Hall of Famer. But with steroid allegations clouding his candidacy, Bonds has seen his support hurt by the debate over the PED era. Will that change in time to get him the Cooperstown plaque he deserves? Read more.

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It's hard to separate Roger Clemens from the taint of steroids that has followed him from the last years of his career through retirement. But in the wake of softening attitudes on PEDs and former commissioner Bud Selig's election to the Hall, it's time to stop holding Clemens's past against him and his otherwise no-brainer Cooperstown case. Read more.

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There are no two ways about it: Edgar Martinez could flat-out hit. But while the Mariners' longtime star redefined the designated hitter position as the best ever to play it, his support on the Hall of Fame ballot has been slow to develop. With his time on the ballot growing short, will the voters ever come around on his Cooperstown worthiness? Read more.