Who’s next to join Red Sox DH David Ortiz in 500 Home Run Club?

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Sep 12, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) hits his 499th career home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Once David Ortiz gained access to one of baseball’s most exclusive clubs by blasting his 500th career home run Saturday night, Boston Red Sox fans naturally began to wonder how high their iconic designated hitter could climb on the all-time list.

The rest of the baseball world quickly leaped ahead to the next most enticing question – who’s next?

Ortiz is the 27th member of the 500 Home Run Club and one of only three active players to achieve that milestone, joining Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez. No other active player is even on the verge of being added to that list, with the next closest hitter being 90 homers away.

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We won’t see any new entrants anytime within the next year and it may be a while before we do. That doesn’t have to stop us from looking ahead with some predictions of the most likely active candidates to one day become the 28th member of this prestigious group.

In order for us to give serious consideration to these candidates they must be at least halfway to this milestone. Major League Baseball is bursting with a new wave of young talent that is beginning to take over the league, but we can’t reasonably project a hitter in their early 20’s to accomplish something that so few ever have. Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are off to incredible starts to their careers, but lets not punch their tickets to Cooperstown just yet.

We are also going to leave out aging veterans that probably don’t have enough time left in their careers to get there. Carlos Beltran (388 career home runs) and Aramis Ramirez (385) could top the 400 mark by next year, but both are entering their late 30’s. They each may only have a couple years left in their careers, which won’t be enough given their recent track records. Unless they have already surpassed the 400 threshold, hitters older than 35 don’t have a realistic shot of reaching 500.

With this criteria in mind, let’s explore the top-5 options for active players that could conceivably reach 500 career home runs.

Next: Adrian Beltre