We are less than 3 weeks away From the MLB All-Star game and fan voting has ramped up to where we already have millions and millions of ballots already cast; and a general idea of who is going to end up winning each position.
Let me be the one of the few to openly and publicly say, I am not a fan of this system. I know that MLB is allowing us as fans to collectively be apart of this voting process—which to be frank, is pretty cool. However, there is one major flaw with this system that I believe causes some frustration across a ton of fan bases.
People are insanely biased towards their home team.
Consequentially this means that larger fan bases are almost always guaranteed to have their players win the most votes, even if those players are (*gasp*) not that good.
I get that allowing fans to have a say in how an all-star lineup is created is awesome from a marketing, publicity, and fan-engagement perspective. But it makes it to where smaller market teams will almost never be able to vote in one of their players unless they have received some serious clout from the major sports networks or are massive postseason contenders. Saying that the fan voting needs to stop might have been a little clickbait-ish, but I do think that it should at least be revised. Let’s Explore why…
The Cubs Fanbase Is Annoyingly Supportive
Chicago has been an absolute unit of a team for several years now. Naturally, when your team is completely stacked for multiple seasons, you are going to develop a pretty loyal and vast fanbase. This is easily quantified just by looking at the all-star voting races across the NL.
The Cubs literally have every single one of their starters ranking at least in the top 8 in their respective positions. That includes 2nd baseman, Daniel Descalso, (who currently has 410,122 votes as of the latest voting update) is in 6th place.
Descalso currently has a -0.7 WAR on the season. Do you wanna know who doesn’t have a WAR that low? Literally everyone ranked beneath Daniel Descalso. One of those players is Cardinals 2nd baseman, Kolten Wong. In fact, Wong, who I might add has a 1.9 WAR (higher than 5th, 4th, and 1st place) currently, is only ranked 8th out of NL 2nd basemen with less 50% of the votes that Descalso has. That is pretty dang upsetting for a guy of his talent to be outvoted by someone who has one of the lowest WAR’s to this point in the season.
I don’t want to dig in to this example much more cause I know I am just singling out one guy on a popular team. But frankly, you can find this same player bias with the Astros, Yankees, and Braves as well. It’s really just a matter of having a ton of fans rooting for a good team.
You Haven’t Even Played This Season
Speaking of the Astros, let’s talk about the machine himself, Jose Altuve. Altuve has not touched a bat in a game since May 10th, yet he is surprisingly in a solid 2nd place behind breakout sensation, Tommy La Stella.
Altuve will most likely not even be able to qualify for a batting title if he gets back to his normal production level this season. He only has 150 AB’s this year. But due to the Astros faithful, they have amazingly put him up near a million votes up to this point.
Let’s also take a look at Yankees outfielder, Aaron Judge, for a quick moment. Judge has 73 at-bats on the season, and at this point would need 227 in total to be able to be a qualified batter. There is zero dispute that Aaron Judge is freakishly talented to the point of being a potential MVP-Candidate every single year. But, the issue still remains that he is not the best/most qualified outfielder this season. There are many outfielders currently ranked under Judge (7th) who have played the majority of the season that I believe should be given another look and more votes over Judge. (i.e. Joey Gallo, Max Kepler, Tommy Pham, Trey Mancini.)
My point with this is not to shit on your favorite baseball team, it’s just to show people that there are legit all-star candidates hidden deep in the voting rankings that most people are going to look over. Getting us fans involved is super, but if it hinders the quality of the game by putting less deserving baseball players on the field over guys who are underrated, I can’t say I support that.
I feel like it’s fair for me after saying all this to show you who I think should be starting for the American and National Leagues. So without further ado, here are my starting lineups for the 2019 MLB All-Star Game.
The American League
- Lucas Giolito – P
- James McCann – C
- Carlos Santana – 1B
- DJ LeMahieu – 2B
- Alex Bregman – 3B
- Jorge Polanco – SS
- Joey Gallo – LF
- Mike Trout – CF
- Michael Brantley – RF
- Hunter Pence – DH
The National League
- Hyun-Jin Ryu – P
- J.T Realmuto – C
- Josh Bell – 1B
- Ketel Marte – 2B
- Nolan Arenado – 3B
- Javier Baez – SS
- Cody Bellinger – LF
- Charlie Blackmon – CF
- Christian Yelich – RF