With injuries and fan voting, is the All-Star Game full of All Deserving?

Is the All-Star Game full of All Deserving?

Written by: Daryl E. Robinson

Image by: https://mlivesports.com/mlb-all-star-candidates-aim-to-end-long-team-droughts/

The first phase of voting for the MLB All-Star Game will wind down this week, and the Midsummer Classic will be one step closer to setting its lineups. However, a rash of injuries has certain vote leaders’ availability in question, plus some of the names sitting atop the votes again raise the question of the legitimacy of fan voting.

First off, we need to take a look at how advancement to the final round of voting works, and who looks to advance. The top 2 vote-getters at every position, with the exception of outfield where it is the top 6, advance to the final vote for starters. A new wrinkle was added this year that the top vote-getter overall in Phase 1 automatically qualifies to start, and that position is then off the ballot, or if an outfielder 4 others advance for the remaining 2 spots. As of update 2 on June 27th, the names advancing would be as follows (in positions with tight battles for the cut-off spot, I will list the extra name in contention):


AMERICAN LEAGUE:


First Base

1-Vlad Guerrero Jr.. Blue Jays

2-Ty France, Mariners (IL)

3-Anthony Rizzo, Yankees


Second Base

1-Jose Altuve, Astros

2-Santiago Espinal, Blue Jays


Third Base

1-Jose Ramirez, Guardians

2-Rafael Devers, Red Sox


Shortstop

1-Bo Bichette, Blue Jays

2-Tim Anderson, White Sox

3-Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox


Outfield

1-Aaron Judge, Yankees (AL Vote Leader)

2-Mike Trout, Angels

3-George Springer, Blue Jays

4-Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees

5-Taylor Ward, Angels (Current Cut Off)

6-Lourdes Gurriel Jr, Blue Jays

7-Teoscar Hernandez, Blue Jays

8-Byron Buxton, Twins


Catcher

1-Alejandro Kirk, Blue Jays

2-Jose Trevino, Yankees


Designated Hitter

1-Yordan Alvarez, Astros

2-Shohei Ohtani, Angels


 

NATIONAL LEAGUE:


First Base

1-Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals

2-Pete Alonso, Mets


Second Base

1-Jazz Chisholm, Marlins (DTD)

2-Ozzie Albies, Braves (IL)

3-Jeff McNeil, Mets


Third Base

1-Manny Machado, Padres (DTD, out since June 19)

2-Nolan Arenado, Cardinals

3-Austin Riley, Braves


Shortstop

1-Trea Turner, Dodgers

2-Dansby Swanson, Braves


Outfield

1-Mookie Betts, Dodgers (IL) (NL Vote Leader)

2-Ronald Acuna, Jr., Braves (DTD)

3-Joc Pederson, Giants

4-Starling Marte, Mets

5-Juan Soto, Nationals (Current Cut Off)

6-Adam Duvall, Braves

7-Mark Canha, Mets


Catcher

1-Wilson Contreras, Cubs

2-Travis d’Arnaud, Braves


Designated Hitter

1-Bryce Harper, Phillies (IL)

2-William Contreras, Braves


 

Only 1 player who would currently advance in the American League wears the designation of Day to Day or on the Injured List, however, the National League has 6 slated to advance carrying one of those marks. Now, the questions lie: 1) should injury designations impact voting, and 2) should anyone coming in as a runner-up automatically get the start if the elected starter is unable due to injury? 1)The short answer to this is no. The long answer will tie in below. 2) Yes, if an injured player is elected to start, the runner-up should get the start. However, I believe the current rules allow the manager of the team to decide the replacement starter from the roster chosen between managers and players. In short, while Betts and Acuna are battling for the National League vote lead, which would guarantee one a starting spot on July 19, due to both being injured, there is no guarantee that those who fall short in voting would make the game at all, much less start!


Now, that we have looked at how injuries could impact the final days of Phase 1, and all of Phase 2 voting, it would be a good time to discuss the issue that comes up this time every year: should fans elect the starters to begin with? Along with the rule that dictates that every team has to be represented on the ASG rosters.


The first thing we all have to remember is the All-Star Game is an exhibition game and a mid-season celebration of the sport. Ultimately it is for the FANS, so they should be allowed to vote for who they want to see. Just like I discussed last week in regards to the Home Run Derby, the point is to highlight the game and entertain the viewers. And so that every fan gets to see their favorite logo in the game, yes, every team should have a representative. It is for that reason that the overreaction to the 2002 tie in Milwaukee, that led to the ASG deciding home-field advantage in the World Series was a misjudgment. Looking at the list above you see quite a few Blue Jays and Braves looking to advance to Phase 2, while comparatively speaking, the Yankees, Mets, and Dodgers are relatively underrepresented in terms of advancement. Toronto has the distinct advantage of being the sole team for an entire nation; the Braves still have support from their SuperStation TBS days, plus added love as the reigning World Series champs. And looking at the names that would advance, the only real arguments right now look to be Anderson over Bogaerts and France over Rizzo.


At the end of the day, I could punch in a formula in a computer, and have it spit out the rosters of the most deserving players to take the field at Dodger Stadium that hot Tuesday night three weeks from now. However, letting the fans of the game put the names in they want to see and recognize ultimately means so much more, as does finding somebody deserving from all 30 clubs so that the young kid wearing the cap of the teams whose October dreams are crushed by July gets his moment to cheer!


Daryl E. Robinson is an Atlanta-bred, self-proclaimed “Sports Geek”, guest writer for SportsTimeHQ and co-host of the Recliner Kings Sports podcast, who now resides in Rapid City, SD with his wife and son. Daryl can be followed on Twitter @derobinson1980 and @reclinerkings. In his off time, he obsesses over Braves, Falcons, Dawgs, and Hawks, plus pop-culture nostalgia, especially Jurassic Park and 80s animation.


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