Phase One of MLB All-Star voting is over, meaning each position’s top vote-getters are in place, but there are some worthy players missing.
After many weeks of voting, MLB fans have narrowed down who they believe to be the most elite players at each position. Phase One allows fans to select from any player and vote as much as five times a day. Now that this is over, each position has a top-3 vote-getters for each position that will likely eventually make it to this year’s MLB All-Star Game. To begin with, the player that has received the most fan support thus far is Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with Ronald Acuña Jr. getting the most votes in the National League. Vladdy, only twenty-two years old, looks to be firmly in a position to make his first career All-Star appearance. Additionally, he was recently named the Vegas favorite to win the AL MVP award, slightly ahead of Shohei Ohtani.
Speaking of Ohtani, he currently leads the American League vote for the designated hitter, with around 35% of the votes being his. This is not to mention however many selections he shall receive as a pitcher as well. His presence at this year’s MLB All-Star Game will be very noticeable as he could likely participate not just as a hitter and pitcher, but as a homerun derby contestant as well.
Position Leaders & Most Worthy, But Forgotten Players
The catcher position is one in which I had little confidence in the fans getting correct. This season has seen various older catchers playing as they did in the good ole days. The front-runners for the catching vote in the American League and National League respectively are… Salvador Perez & Buster Posey. These two franchise backstops used to battle late in the fall for the commissioner’s trophy, but now they fight for the most votes at the catcher position.
Neither has made an MLB All-Star game appearance since 2018, but both are extremely deserving this season. Perez has been mostly injured the past two seasons, while Posey had lost his incredible batting abilities. However, Perez is healthy and playing some great ball. Posey looks even more impressive though as he is posting a batting average over .320 and an on-base plus slugging percentage over .960, both are very impressive stats for anyone, let alone a catcher.
I expect both to represent their leagues by the time phase two ends. Another veteran, legend catcher I believe should make it to Colorado for the summer classic is Yadier Molina. Molina was on the brink of retirement this past offseason, but his ultimate return to St. Louis has proved to be a good decision. He too will likely be making his first All-Star Game appearance since 2018, making it the tenth of his career.
As mentioned before, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. leads all of baseball in voting, so he is clearly the deserving leader in the American League. The National League though has a much more controversial race with no clear-cut leader. Currently, Max Muncy leads the National League and this is who I had voted for as well. Muncy has put up solid power numbers this season and is likely looking to be the starting first baseman for the NL.
A small market team that has a very valuable veteran being overlooked is the Miami Marlins. Jesús Aguilar is a thirty-year-old big boy that rakes. His emergence to the bigs came back in 2018 where he was elected to All-Star Game and ended the season in sixteenth for the MVP race. After being traded, Aguilar seemed to return to his normal ways of average power hitting at best. However, the Marlins’ first baseman has had a great year. He currently sits in a tie for fourth place with fifty runs batted in this season.
Another Toronto player is dominating the American League race for second base. Marcus Semien, playing his first season up north, holds around 35% of the votes at second base, with Jose Altuve in second at just twenty percent. Semien has somehow never made an MLB All-Star game, despite finishing in third place for the MVP back in 2019. Semien is playing remarkably similar to that season but is on pace to hit more homeruns and steal more bases.
Second Base in the National League is not nearly as obvious. Ozzie Albies leads the race at 18% of the vote, with the Pirates middle-infielder Adam Frazier just behind him with 12% of the vote. I had been selecting Frazier mostly, as he may be Pittsburgh’s lone representative. Albies is the first of many players I consider to be a popularity vote for Colorado. It is not that he is not a tremendous ballplayer, but there are many players putting up similar, if not, better numbers and simply not getting the recognition.
Albies has a batting average of .254 and an OPS of .816 with an impressive forty-six runs batted in. Compare that to Frazier who plays on a much worse ballclub, thus making the RBIs more difficult to come by. Frazier has a much higher average of .325 and a comparable OPS of .864 with just twenty-eight runs batted in. Looking at this, it is clear both are deserving and it can easily be argued for either one that they deserve to start. However, if we look at Ryan McMahon, someone not even in the top 5 for votes, his numbers are similar. His batting average is at .249 with an OPS of .800 and a solid 40 runs batted in. This is anyone’s race, but McMahon deserves much more attention than he is getting, even with the game being in his home stadium.
Third base was well done. It was pretty clear I would say, but there appears to be no clear forgotten player nor mistakes. The Boston Red Sox has a lock on the American League’s left side of the infield. Rafael Devers, one of baseball’s best hitters, holds the top rank at 28%, while Kris Bryant, on a comeback season, leads the National League with twenty-nine percent. Bryant is in a contract year and is doing his best to get a big paycheck. Kris Bryant went to back-to-back all-star games to start his career but has not been back since 2019.
Devers currently leads the American League in doubles and is in second for runs batted in, only behind Vladdy Jr. Devers placed twelfth for MVP back in 2019, but still has yet to make an All-Star appearance. Bryant and Devers are both near guarantees to be starting in the hot corner for their respective squads.
Boston might have the best third-base/shortstop duo in baseball. Rafael Devers and Xander Boegarts have been running mates since 2017 and now look to start for the AL this summer. Boegarts holds a dominating lead over yet another Toronto player in Bo Bichette, but the lead should not be as large as it is. It is quite apparent the Blue Jays will have three infield representatives, but there is an argument all three should start.
If it weren’t for Boegarts incredible play then Bichette and his MLB leading sixty-four runs scored would be in first. Both will most certainly make it through, whereas the National League has a secondary player not being given his dues. Clearly, not just for popularity, but for actual skill and play thus far, Fernando Tatis Jr. is leading the shortstop voting. Tatis has been on an extraordinary tear since his return from injury. He currently holds the National League lead for homeruns, RBIs, slugging percentage, OPS, and OPS+. So, obviously, he should be and will be the starting shortstop.
Brandon Crawford, though, has made his mark on the NL West and is a big reason for the Giants’ success so far. Crawford sits just one percentile (~ 46k votes) behind Corey Seager. The first major issue with this is the fact that Crawford has played thirty more games than Seager. The next is the simple fact that Seager has not played that great. He has four homeruns, to Crawfords sixteen. Seager has twenty-two RBIs, to Crawfords fifty. Seager has an OPS of just .783, while Crawford is at a career-high of .865. MLB fans simply have done Crawford dirty so far, as he certainly deserves a spot in Colorado.
The outfield for both leagues could not be having more different voting results so far. The National League may have one of the most obvious starting lineups in recent history. Ronald Acuna Jr. is simply incredible at all things baseball, but the Cincinnati Reds have two outfielders that are arguably even better. Nicholas Castellanos and Jessie Winker have dominated offensively this season. This one-two punch is arguably the best hitting duo in baseball today.
If you combine this duo’s key numbers this far into the season they sit at a… batting average of 0.3365, OPS of 0.9935, a total of 32 homeruns, and 89 RBIs. This is honestly just unbelievable, especially from a team sitting only one game above five hundred.
At the beginning of the season, the American League had two outfielders in a league of their own. Mike Trout and Byron Buxton were playing with MVP hopes in their future, but, sadly, both have been injured for an extended period since then. Despite this though, fans have urged them into MLB’s All-Star Game. The top-9 vote-getters for the outfield will make it to Colorado and to have two of the top three be injured is silly.
Aaron Judge is certainly deserving as he currently sits in second place, but some names below are very worthy as well. Cedric Mullins, a kid I hadn’t ever heard of till this year, has been doing some unheard-of things on the diamond this season. Mullins had gone up to bat nine consecutive times and recorded a hit each time. This mark, one shy of Baltimore’s franchise record, is truly unlike modern baseball. His appearance in the MLB All-Star Game is to be expected as Baltimore won’t have many other candidates even in consideration.
Mullins is currently in 9th place for voting. In 4th place, so likely comfortably sitting in Colorado this summer, is Adolis Garcia. The Texas Rangers’ outfielder has really stepped it up this season. With 20 homeruns and an OPS at .858, Garcia has proven himself to be among the best hitting outfielders in the American League. I expect him to be a starter once the injured players get denounced.
The MLB All-Star Game is always a fun event in which fans get extreme control over the participants. Typically, a popularity vote can lead to some mistakes. Players from the Yankees and Dodgers will always receive more fan support than smaller market teams like Tampa Bay and Oakland. However, there are always the diamonds in the rough that deserve an appearance. This year, fans have done a pretty good job in getting things right, but there are still some that deserve more votes.
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