Voting for the MLB All-Star Game is well underway and, as usual, there is no shortage of great candidates.
Some positions offer tougher choices than others but it’s definitely something to look forward to. There’s always the conflict between choosing players on your team, or ones that truly deserve it.
There’s also a strategy of picking players who may not be as popular to give them a chance. Sometimes I pick a player who may not be the best at their position to get their votes up. Remember, every team gets a representative in the Midsummer Classic. That could influence some fans’ selections.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. received the most votes of any player last season. While it’s possible for that to happen again this season, it won’t be because he’s been the best. Jose Abreu has been one of the most consistent first basemen since coming to the majors in 2014. He’ll garner some support, no doubt.
Luis Arraez has the highest batting average of any AL player. Ji-Man Choi has been knocking on the door and is having his best season yet. Ty France has a bWAR of 3.1, higher than anyone at his position. Ryan Mountcastle, Anthony Rizzo, and Jared Walsh round out a formidable group.
Similarly, in the NL there is no shortage of worthy picks. Paul Goldschmidt (1.070 OPS), and Pete Alonso (NL-Leading 19 HR and 63 RBI) are the front-runners. Josh Bell is having a resurgent campaign and could be the Nats’ lone representative.
For me, the pick is obvious. C.J. Cron has been one of the most underrated sluggers in the game and he deserves some recognition.
Jose Altuve has been one of the more recognizable players at this position for almost a decade. Gleyber Torres has enjoyed a season that has him up for consideration. The more interesting cases are a couple of upstarts who have been more deserving.
Get a grip if you didn’t vote for Rafael Devers or Jose Ramirez.
A more unheralded guy, J.P. Crawford, could earn a spot on the team. The Mariners have disappointed but not due to the play of Crawford. He has the third-highest WAR of any AL shortstop.
“On that night and having it be my first grand slam. That’s the beauty of baseball.” – @jp_crawford— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) June 17, 2022
Can’t wait to wear the Seattle Steelheads threads during tomorrow’s Salute to the Negro Leagues Celebration 🙌
Surprisingly, the fairly clear choice here in the AL is Alejandro Kirk. He leads catchers in OPS and WAR and is a leader in several framing stats. Jose Trevino has been a great story for the Yankees, and Jonah Heim has impressive power. Salvador Perez will get a good share of the votes because of who he is but he has had a down year.
At first, it seems like Willson Contreras is the only player to think of in the NL at catcher. He leads in all of the major offensive categories so that’s a logical choice. If you want to be rebellious, Will Smith, Tyler Stephenson, or Daulton Varsho are satisfactory alternatives.
Byron Buxton exclusively obliterates baseballs. pic.twitter.com/y5EJLNZFGj— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) June 18, 2022
In the NL, star power will pull the voters towards Mookie Betts, Juan Soto, and Ronald Acuña Jr. Those guys will get votes and could start, but don’t ignore the cases of Joc Pederson. The nine-year veteran, who’s been part of the last two World Series-winning teams is having his best season to date.
Shohei is a sensation but, don’t overthink this. Yordan Álvarez is the one.
Same thing for the other league. Just vote for Bryce Harper and be done with it.