16. Scott Rolen
Rolen is on the cusp, a guy whose defense has to carry his Cooperstown case for voters to vote yes. He won a whopping eight Gold Gloves, including five in a row. Those awards are backed up by the numbers, with both Baseball-reference and Fangraphs giving him excellent ratings. At the plate he was no slouch, putting up a .281/.364/.490 batting line on his way to 316 home runs and 517 doubles. He feels more like a “Hall of Very Good”* player, but I wouldn’t call it a crime if he made his way into Cooperstown.
15. Tommy John
Yes, the most important surgery was named after an actual pitcher – read Jeff Passan’s excellent book “The Arm” to learn more about that. But John wasn’t just a medical marvel, he was a 26-year starting pitcher who racked up 288 wins over 4,710.1 innings of 3.34 ERA ball. It’s funny; he was just 12 wins away from 300 – a number that essentially guarantees Cooperstown enshrinement. Despite that, he never got more than 32% of the vote, which is a testament to the strange power of round numbers. He should be in for the combination of his excellent career and groundbreaking recovery from UCL surgery, which he’ll always be remembered for.