The 2012 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees will be announced at 3 p.m. Eastern. But there's no need to wait for the official numbers to be announced, as more than a hundred BBWAA voters have already published and defended their ballots. This indispensable spreadsheet collecting all the ballots made public gives us an enormous sample size with which to work. Last year, there were 581 voters, and this year's voting body should be similar in number. Of that, we have the results from 112 ballots; more than enough to make predictions.
Barry Larkin will be in. After moving up steadily, from 51.6 percent in 2009 to 62.1 percent last year, exit polling gives Larkin 100 votes of the 112 ballots this time around, a whopping 89.3 percent. It's hard to imagine the final numbers will be so overwhelming, but Larkin benefits from being the best choice on a weak ballot.
Jack Morris will still be out. Morris's support has remained steady the last few years, and there was the notion that a weak ballot would give him a significant voter bump. That's not borne out by the ballots already collected. Morris comes in on 58.9 percent of them, up a few percentage points from last year, but not nearly enough to put him in before the apocalyptic Bonds-Clemens-Sosa-Piazza-Schilling ballot next year.
Jeff Bagwell is getting closer. Bagwell, dogged by steroid rumors but no concrete evidence against him, corralled a disappointing 41.7 percent of the vote last year. According to this year's early numbers, the voters are reconsidering. Bagwell appears on 64 of the 112 ballots, or 57.1 percent. Next year will be very interesting, as voters deal with players who are actually tied to steroid use.
Tim Raines made the biggest leap of anyone. Raines had a paltry 37.5 percent last year, perhaps still in the long shadow of Rickey Henderson, his closest comparison. This year Raines appears on 57.1 percent of the early-release ballots. It seems like just a matter of time for him.
Lee Smith is going nowhere. Last year: 45.3 percent. This year: 45.5 percent. If this wide open ballot wasn't enough to give him any momentum, it's probably not going to happen at all.
Alan Trammell makes progress, but still has a ways to go. For a decade, Trammel has hung out on the wrong side of 20 percent, just cracking that ceiling last year. According to exit polls, Trammell is currently standing at 36.6 percent. That would be two significant jumps in the past two years, so maybe the Trammell train is finally gaining steam.
Bernie Williams doesn't have a chance. Williams was the sexiest of the newly-eligible players, but early returns aren't promising. Just 3 of the 112 voters copped to including him on their ballots.
We encourage you to poke around on the spreadsheet on your own, which is constantly updated and will be the best resource for identifying the absurd ballots. (Pedro Gomez is voting for Bill Mueller, just because.) In a few short minutes, we'll have the concrete numbers.
Hall of Fame Ballot Tracker [The Girl Who Loved Andy Pettitte]