For the most part, baseball fans are doing a good job thus far voting for the 2014 All-Star game. The first round of voting figures for the American League were released Tuesday by MLB (NL numbers will be announced Wednesday) and there's not too much to facepalm about.
If the voting ended today, these would be the AL starters:
AL @AllStarGame ballot leaders: 1B Cabrera 2B Kinsler SS Jeter 3B Donaldson C Wieters OF Trout, vote leader OF Bautista OF Ellsbury DH Ortiz— MLB (@MLB) May 27, 2014
Mike Trout leads all players in votes and that's fine. Jose Bautista is second, probably because he follows every single person on Twitter and Derek Jeter is third. It's his final season. He could be hitting .050 and he'd still start the All-Star game.
It's nice to see Josh Donaldson of the Oakland Athletics getting so much love from voters, considering he was one of the biggest snubs of the 2013 All-Star game and is, once again, having a stellar season. Brian Dozier and Kurt Suzuki of the Minnesota Twins are another couple of players who aren't huge names, but are playing well and getting attention from voters.
When you look at the longer list of vote-getters, that's where more of the quibbling begins. MLB.com has listed the top 5 for each position, and looking through that, The Stew has noticed five players who aren't getting enough love. Since there's still time to vote (the deadline is July 3), we thought we'd make a case for each:
1. JOSE ALTUVE
The Houston Astros second baseman shouldn't necessarily be starting in the AL, but he's having a season worthy of the top 5. He leads the AL in hits and stolen bases, and his numbers are better than No. 3 vote-getter Dustin Pedroia.
Altuve: .323/.366/.441, 71 hits, 28 runs, two homers, 17 RBIs.
Pedroia: .268/.348/.380, 55 hits, 30 runs, two homers, 17 RBIs.
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2. EDWIN ENCARNACION
Fueled by a ballistic May in which he hit 13 homers and drove in 26 runs, the Toronto Blue Jays slugger ranks top 5 in the AL for homers and RBIs. So it's conspicuous that he's not among the 45 players leading in voting. First base is deep this season, with Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols and Jose Abreu having legit All-Star seasons, but Encarnacion at least deserves to be above Chris Davis and Mark Teixeira.
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3. VICTOR MARTINEZ
Martinez is currently third in the DH voting behind David Ortiz and Nelson Cruz. Cruz has the most homers in baseball, so that cements a spot for him in the conversation. But Martinez vs. Big Papi? Let's examine at this juncture:
Martinez: .341/.395/.609, 12 homers, 29 RBIs.
Ortiz: .270/.365/.517, 12 homers, 29 RBIs
And Martinez has 160,000 fewer votes. That's what having a big-name does for you, eh Big Papi?
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4. MICHAEL BRANTLEY
Brantley, like Encarnacion, is nowhere to be found among the top vote-getters and that's unfortunate. The Cleveland Indians outfielder is having an impressive early season, hitting .307/.377/.516 with nine homers and 39 RBIs. He has the same WAR as Miguel Cabrera, according to Fangraphs, and he actually has more homers than Miggy.
Brantley won't be an All-Star starter, of course, but it's laughable that Josh Hamilton (who has played eight games) is among the top 15 outfielders and Brantley isn't. Consider this: Brantley ranks in the top 12 of all AL players in hits, runs, homers, RBIs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. That's across-the-board production.
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5. BRANDON MOSS
Brandon Moss has 144,319 votes, putting him fifth among designated hitters. Of the 45 players listed as top vote-getters thus far, only Jed Lowrie, Moss' teammate with the Oakland Athletics, has fewer votes. Moss has played most at first base this season, but the competition is stiff there, just like it is at DH.
Moss deserves some more votes somewhere, though. He's fourth in WAR in the AL, according to Fangraphs. He ranks second in RBIs and fifth in homers. Since Donaldson is getting more attention from All-Star voters this season, Moss will have to fill his role as the A's star who isn't getting his due.
YOUR TURN: Which American League player isn't getting enough love from All-Star voters?
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