Kansas City Royals fans have been known to passionately come out in droves and support their players during All-Star voting season. It wasn’t long ago that Omar Infante was in line to start at second base despite some highly questionable numbers.
Those same fans are at it again. Eric Hosmer saw a significant surge in the latest American League All-Star update. In one week, he passed both Yonder Alonso and Miguel Cabrera to take over the top spot at first base.
The biggest AL All-Star race is at first base, where Eric Hosmer of the Royals has passed both Yonder Alonso and Miguel Cabrera. pic.twitter.com/ai8NQF1LdU
— Big League Stew (@bigleaguestew) June 20, 2017
Hosmer ranked third at the position in last week’s update, though he wasn’t too far off the lead. Over the last seven days, he received 309,951 votes to jump both Alonso and Cabrera. The surprising Alonso leapfrogged Cabrera for the first time last week, but his grasp on a starting spot was brief.
In fairness, this is far from an Infante situation. Hosmer’s numbers are strong this year. The 27-year-old is hitting .308/.366/.468, with eight home runs, in 290 plate appearances. That’s a pretty solid line.
Problem is, Alonso has been better in almost every way. In 223 plate appearances, the 30-year-old Alonso has hit .301/.395/.622, with 17 home runs. Alonso is tied with Logan Morrison for the AL lead with a 2.2 fWAR. If you saw that coming before the season, we want your lottery number predictions immediately.
Hosmer’s line ranks him seventh among AL first basemen with a 0.7 fWAR. He’s actually tied with Cabrera for that spot.
It makes sense that both Hosmer and Cabrera would outperform their fWAR rankings. For one, fWAR still isn’t fully embraced by every fan. Teams have made strides to normalize the stat, but some fans prefer to cling to other measurements. And that’s fine, because fWAR isn’t infallible. Fans shouldn’t simply vote players into the All-Star Game based on fWAR rankings. There are other factors to consider.
On top of that, the All-Star Game is a popularity contest. Hosmer and Cabrera are huge names. Both have started in the contest before. Alonso, on the other hand, doesn’t have the same track record, and doesn’t play for a team that gets a ton of publicity.
There’s still time to change that, though. Oakland Athletics fans have until June 29 to submit their votes on MLB’s website. The league will provide one more public update on June 26. After that, fans will have three days to make a final push for their favorite players.
In the AL, first base is probably the one spot to watch closely. In the latest update, that was the only position that saw a change at the top. All the other position leaders carried over from last week. New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge remains the top vote-getter in the AL.
Things are a bit closer in the National League. A fair amount of the races are pretty tight, and could provide drama as the voting gets down to the wire. Surprisingly, Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart extended his lead over Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager. Fans must really want Cozart to get that donkey.
Cozart’s surge should help comfort A’s fans. If he can topple Seager, why can’t Alonso overtake Hosmer to earn a starting spot? Alonso’s numbers speak loudly, but overcoming persistent Royals fans will be tough. Alonso might need an extra boost to prop him up among voters.
Maybe Stephen Vogt should promise him a puppy or a giant bag of Skittles or something? Or maybe the A’s should vow to re-name Falcon McFalconface in Alonso’s honor if fans get him to the game? A little bribery isn’t going to hurt anyone in this instance.
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