Back on June 5, I made it a point to write about the San Francisco Giants' potential All-Stars. Among them were Buster Posey, Melky Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval, and some players on the Giants' pitching staff -- such as Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, and Santiago Casilla.
When the original update was published, Posey was in second place among NL catchers and now sits alone atop the pack, leapfrogging Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals and leading him by approximately 150,000 votes. Other players have since moved up as well. Melky Cabrera has moved from fifth place to fourth place among NL outfielders and Pablo Sandoval moved from fourth place to second place among NL third basemen. All of this news is exciting as a Giants' fan and I even managed a discovery that nearly made me spill my coffee when I saw it.
The discovery? Brandon Belt's name has made its first appearance in the top five for NL first baseman -- coming in fourth place with 563,708 votes.
Although he is still a ways away from breaking into the top three -- by about 265,000 votes -- having Belt even mentioned in the conversation for being an NL All-Star is quite the surprise. Not because I don't think Belt could be an All-Star at some point in his career, but because his current numbers certainly aren't reflective of an All-Star player.
Now before you jump down my back and say that players that get voted in year-after-year on name alone shouldn't be included either, let me make one point: chances are they are being voted in because they were at one time an All-Star and have become a widely known name in the game of baseball. I don't agree with the practice, but that's what happens when you let us fans vote -- we vote in players because of their name instead of their statistics. And despite all the Brandon Belt talk, I doubt that it is national recognition that has Belt's name included.
Belt's numbers aren't All-Star caliber -- .224 BA, .340 OBP, .328 SLG, 0 HR, and 17 RBI in 116 ABs -- so I know that they can't be the reason he's being voted in. Heck, he even has more votes than Bryan LaHair who is hitting .310 with 12 home runs, 25 RBI and a .391 OBP; a total head-scratcher.
I can only think of one reason why Belt's name has emerged among the contenders: the NL's two biggest former All-Star names were Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols -- who both now play in the American League and certainly have disrupted the AL's All-Star balloting. That is the only reason I can see why Belt's name would float to the top five. Well, that and the fact that Belt has somehow made his way into the hearts of numerous Giants' fans who subsequently started voting like crazy for him.
Seriously though, can you name another NL first baseman other than Joey Votto and Lance Berkman that you would recognize and vote for if you were a casual fan of the game?
My point exactly.
As explained in the previous All-Star article, only the first place finishers at each position (top three for outfielders) will start in the All-Star game and the rest will be decided by the manager's selections and player voting. So the likelihood of Belt making the team at this point is fairly slim, but stranger things certainly have happened.
Food for thought: Is the outpouring of votes for Brandon Belt simply due to a lack of quality first basemen in the NL or are Giants' fans perhaps trying to impose their will on MLB and get Belt voted in? Do you think the voting will have any effect on Bruce Bochy and the playing time that he allots to Belt?
David is co-founder of wrapupp sports blog where fresh content is posted daily and present sports blogs and sports opinions - all with a West Coast bias. Growing up in the Bay Area, David is a huge supporter of all the local sports teams; the Giants, Athletics, Warriors, Sharks, 49ers, and Raiders. His one fault, admittedly, as many of his friends and family would say, is his love for the Los Angeles Lakers. Growing up, Magic Johnson was his favorite basketball player and he fell in love with the team. He chalks it up to, "Not knowing any better". Now his love for sports has turned just as academic as it is intuitive and he follows most all sports all over the nation.
You can follow David on Twitter: @officialwrapupp
Baseball-Reference.com. Brandon Belt Stats. MLB 2012.
MLB.com. All-Star Voting Update. MLB 2012
More from David Mehrwein and the Yahoo! Contributor Network: