Top New York Yankees Hitters Missing from All-Star Ballot

Vernon Wells and Francisco Cervelli Not on Ballot

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Snubbed Spot on All-Star Ballot; Yankees' Vernon Wells Deserves of Start
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Vernon Wells

COMMENTARY | Want to know how surprising the New York Yankees' April performance has been? Two of the team's top three hitters are not on Major League Baseball's recently unveiled All-Star ballot.

Journeyman backstop Chris Stewart, who has started one-third of the Yankees' games this season, is the team's catching representative on the ballot - not Francisco Cervelli, who is third on the team in WAR (.9) and is hitting .269 (3 HR, 8 RBI, .877 OBP).

Also missing from the ballot is leftfielder Vernon Wells, who is leading the team in WAR (1.4) while hitting .293 (6 HR, 10 RBI, .948 OBP) in 19 games.

Cervelli's absence from the ballot is more of a surprise than Wells' because on-the-ballot outfielders Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, and Ichiro Suzuki were expected to be the club's starting outfield trio. In Cervelli's case, I would have expected the Yankees to show their homegrown catcher a bit more respect. Cervelli, 27, has been up and down with the Yankees since 2008. Prior to this season, he caught in 177 games for the team, including a season-high 90 games in 2010.

I can also understand why the Yankees opted to leave 14-time All-Star Alex Rodriguez off the ballot, as he was never expected to return before the All-Star break. Although Mark Teixeira and Granderson were injured early in spring training, both are expected back in May, which may give them enough time to win some votes.

As for 13-time All-Star shortstop Derek Jeter, who is not expected to return until after the All-Star break, Major League Baseball recently explained his presence on the ballot. (Eduardo Nunez-Jeter's replacement-is not on the ballot.)

"The ballots get printed before you know he's not going to play in the All-Star Game," MLB executive vice president of business Tim Brosnan explained to reporters at a press conference earlier this week. Brosnan said the ballots were printed well before Jeter's latest setback was announced.

"If you remember a while back, Jeter said he was going to start, he was going to play Opening Day. He got pushed back," Brosnan said. "If he were playing well and the fans wanted him to play, you'd have to give him the opportunity to let him play. I mean, he's an icon in baseball, he's an icon in New York, and has arguably been one of the great shortstops right through last year. You want the best players to be able to play if they're available."

Besides casting ballots at major and minor league ballparks, fans can cast their All-Star votes online or through MLB's All-Star Game app through Thursday, July 4. Fans may submit 25 online ballots during the voting period but are also eligible to earn 10 more ballots by using an MLB.com account.

Howard Z. Unger is a freelance journalist in Brooklyn, New York. For the past 15 years, he has written about sports, media, and popular culture. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, New York Post, and New York Times.

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