There have been a lot of predictions written about this year’s baseball Hall of Fame election. But I think the most interesting article came from Chris Jaffe of the Hardball Times. This past week, he published his 5th annual projection of the Cooperstown election results. It goes further than just making predictions. Jaffe has developed a model to estimate the exact percentage of votes that each (notable) player would receive.

In four years that amounts to 63 predictions. 50 of them have been within five percentage points of the actual vote, including 22 within one percentage point of the BBWAA result. The average margin of error has been 3.4 percentage points.

It is a pretty sophisticated model, and he outlines his approach in detail in the column. It is definitely worth the read. He estimates that Larkin will get 82% of the votes.

Good news for Reds fans – Barry Larkin is going in easily. A guy in the low 60s rarely makes the jump over 75 percent like this, but this isn’t a normal year. All precedent and historical trends point upwards for Larkin. He’s on top of the backlog with a weak crop of newbies on an aggressively uncrowded ballot. All those things should pump up his vote total.

The national predictions for the 2012 election actually date back to one year ago. John Schlegel of wrote just after last year’s results were announced that “in 2012, it’s likely Barry Larkin or bust.” In a similar vein, last January 5th Rob Neyer called Larkin “the only viable candidate.”

Fast forward to articles written within the past week, and most writers are still predicting that Larkin goes in alone. The most recent, a column from Tom Verducci, called Larkin the “No-Doubter”:

He was an elite baserunner and fielder who was such a good hitter that he hit third more often than any other spot in the lineup. One nugget I like about his offensive game: There was no more than a six-point variance among his career averages vs. righties (.293), lefties (.299), home (.297), away (.293), first half (.293), second half (.297), runners in scoring position (.298) and overall (.295).

BaseballThinkFactory collects the ballots that writers have made public. Of the 98 ballots they have collected, Barry’s name appears on 90.8% of them, and he’s the only player with more than the 75% required.

Of course, here at Redleg Nation, we have been stating the obvious since Larkin was first eligible two years ago. Let’s hope the writers finally get it right this time.