Do the current voting leaders deserve a starting spot?
Every spring, the baseball world anticipates the wave of talent that comes together for a few days to put on a show. Major League Baseball All-Star Weekend, which will be held at Marlins Park in Miami from July 9-11, will feature the game’s brightest stars for the Futures Game, Legends & Celebrity Softball Game, Home Run Derby and the 88th MLB All-Star Game to conclude the festivities.
With voting for the All-Star Game already well underway, and with plenty of debate swirling around who should represent each league at each position in just a few short weeks, here’s a look at who currently leads in the AL, who will most likely come out on top, and lastly our take on who is the most worthy candidate.
Who’s Leading: Salvador Perez (Royals)
Who Should Win: Salvador Perez (Royals)
Who Will Win: Salvador Perez (Royals)
Breakdown: There isn’t a doubt in anyone’s mind that Perez doesn’t deserve to be voted in as a starter. Among all catchers in the AL, Perez is the only one with the minimum of 3.1 plate appearances per game to be qualified at the position.
Perez leads by 400,000 votes and with the way the Kansas City fan base has played a huge part in voting in the past I don’t think there is any doubt that Perez will be behind home plate for the American League once again.
Who’s Leading: Eric Hosmer (Royals)
Who Should Win: Yonder Alonso (A's)
Who Will Win: Eric Hosmer (Royals)
Breakdown: This race is close in nearly every category. There is only about 100,000 votes separating first and third place so it’s not too late for anyone to get voted in. At this point, it appears that Hosmer and Alonso are the most likely to get selected.
Hosmer (.308, 8 HR) and Alonso (.301, 17) are both among the top first basemen in a number of categories, so fans have rightfully positioned them as the first and second vote-getters to this point.
Alonso has arguably put together a better all-around season thus far, as his slugging percentage (.622) is second in the entire AL to Aaron Judge.
Who’s Leading: Jose Altuve (Astros)
Who Should Win: Jose Altuve (Astros)
Who Will Win: Jose Altuve (Astros)
Breakdown: Anybody other than Altuve winning at this point would be a major upset, as he’s nearly 735,000 votes ahead of second-place Starlin Castro and a million ahead of Jason Kipnis.
Altuve is leading AL second basemen in batting average (.326), slugging percentage (.528) and stolen bases (12). He’s also near the top in nearly every other category. Altuve is able to separate himself from the rest with his defensive prowess.
While there are other good options at second base, Altuve’s going to be starting at second, and he deserves it.
Who’s Leading: Miguel Sano (Twins)
Who Should Win: Jose Ramirez (Indians)
Who Will Win: Miguel Sano (Twins)
Breakdown: The battle for starter at third base should be a lot closer than it is. With Sano leading by about 400,000 votes, one would expect him to be head and shoulders ahead his peers, but that’s just not the case. Ramirez, who is currently second, has put together a very solid season, hitting .318 on the year, nearly 30 points higher than Sano.
They both have areas that they are leading the other in, with Sano leading in RBIs (48), OBP (.384) and home runs (16). Ramirez leads in slugging percentage (.561), stolen bases (7) and the previously mentioned batting average.
What stands out the most is that Sano has struck out in more than 40 percent of his at-bats, a total of 92 times entering Tuesday night's games. Ramirez has only struck out 36 times.
This is definitely a race that should be closer, but it appears Sano will be the starter.
Who’s Leading: Carlos Correa (Astros)
Who Should Win: Carlos Correa (Astros)
Who Will Win: Carlos Correa (Astros)
Breakdown: Talent-wise, Correa and Francisco Lindor are the cream of the crop at shortstop and that’s reflected in the voting. Correa is leading Lindor by more than 350,000 votes, and another 430,000 separates No. 3 Didi Gregorius from them.
While both players should make the All-Star Game, Correa is the one that deserves and will get the privilege of starting. He leads the position in RBIs (43) and slugging percentage (.516), the only shortstop higher than .500 in that respect. Correa also is tied for first in home runs with Lindor (13).
Who’s Leading: Aaron Judge (Yankees), Mike Trout (Angels), George Springer (Astros)
Who Should Win: Aaron Judge (Yankees), Mike Trout (Angels), George Springer (Astros)
Who Will Win: Aaron Judge (Yankees), Mike Trout (Angels), George Springer (Astros)
Breakdown: I don’t think there is any doubt as to who the first two outfielders in are. Why should there be? Both players are elite, and are among the biggest names in baseball. Judge has broken out in a huge way this season, posting video game-esque numbers, leading the majors in home runs (23) and slugging percentage (.699). He is slugging 36 points higher than No. 2 Ryan Zimmerman (.663).
Trout is on the disabled list, most likely won't be able to play, but he'll still be voted in as a starter. He's arguably not only the best player in the game today, but one of the best in history. Before he got hurt, Trout was on pace for a monster season, which is saying something for him. In just 163 at-bats, Trout had already hit 16 home runs and was slugging .742.
Springer has formed a lead of his own for the final starting spot, holding a lead of more than 175,000 votes over Michael Brantley. The fans have made the right decision here, as Springer has put together a strong campaign, hitting .284 with 20 home runs from the leadoff spot for AL Central-leading Astros.
Who’s Leading: Nelson Cruz (Mariners)
Who Should Win: Corey Dickerson (Rays)
Who Will Win: Nelson Cruz (Mariners)
Breakdown: The vote for the DH could amount to the biggest blunder in this year’s fan vote. When fans vote for players in the All-Star Game, that doesn’t always mean that the best player will be the starter, but in this instance the season’s best DH is sitting in third place. Dickerson is currently the only DH batting better than .300 (.325), and he also leads in slugging percentage (.579). In fact, he leads Cruz and second-place Matt Holiday in nearly every category, except RBIs.