A few years ago, the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot was crowded. Some big recent classes, including a Derek Jeter-led four-man 2020 class, and a few arguably worthy candidates have fallen off the ballot, and it's safe to say that the crunch has mostly been alleviated. 

There's good news for holdovers on the ballot like Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

In fact, there are only 14 holdover Hall of Fame candidates on the ballot with voters being capped at 10 votes. Here they are with this year's vote percentages: 

  • Schilling, 70.0 percent
  • Clemens, 61.0
  • Bonds, 60.7
  • Omar Vizquel, 52.6
  • Scott Rolen, 35.3
  • Billy Wagner, 31.7
  • Gary Sheffield, 30.5
  • Todd Helton, 29.2
  • Manny Ramirez, 28.2
  • Jeff Kent, 27.5
  • Andruw Jones, 19.4
  • Sammy Sosa, 13.9
  • Andy Pettitte, 11.3
  • Bobby Abreu, 5.5

Those guys only need to contend among themselves next ballot, too, because it's doubtful any future inductees are joining the ballot next year. Here are the best first-time candidates who will be added to the ballot in 2021.

Mark Buehrle - A five-time All-Star with four Gold Gloves, Buehrle was 214-160 with a 3.81 ERA (117 ERA+), 1.28 WHIP and 1,870 strikeouts in 3,283 1/3 innings. He threw a no-hitter, a perfect game and won a World Series. He sits 89th in starting pitcher JAWS, well below the Hall standard.

Tim Hudson - The four-time All-Star was 222-133 with a 3.49 ERA (120 ERA+), 1.24 WHIP and 2,080 strikeouts in 3,126 2/3 innings. He's 83rd in starting pitcher JAWS

Torii Hunter - A five-time All-Star, Hunter won nine Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers. He slashed .277/.331/.461 (110 OPS+) with 2,452 hits, 498 doubles, 353 homers, 1,391 RBI, 1,296 runs and 195 steals. Among center fielders, Hunter is 34th in JAWS, sitting around the likes of Curtis Granderson, Ellis Burks, Willie Wilson and Mike Cameron. 

Aramis Ramirez - He hit .283/.341/.492 (115 OPS+) with 2,303 hits, 495 doubles, 386 homers, 1,417 RBI and made the All-Star team three times. He's 60th in third base JAWS, behind players like Travis Fryman and Jeff Cirillo. 

Shane Victorino - He won World Series rings with the Phillies and Red Sox. Victorino hit .275/.340/.425 (102 OPS+) with 1,274 hits, 231 doubles, 70 triples, 108 home runs, 489 RBI, 731 runs and 231 stolen bases. In center fielder JAWS he's 70th, behind Chili Davis, Willie McGee and Darin Erstad. 

Some others who will be on the 2021 ballot: Dan Haren, Barry Zito, Alex Rios, Aaron Harang, A.J. Burnett, Nick Swisher and Grady Sizemore. 

There are some really good players mentioned above. I really enjoyed watching their careers to various degrees. None of them merit extended looks on the Hall of Fame ballot, however. 

As noted, the holdovers on the Hall of Fame ballot trending upward are very likely to get another big push forward next year.