Jose Abreu heading to Washington for this summer's All-Star Game wouldn't have been much of a surprise considering he's in the midst of one of his typically excellent offensive seasons.
But Abreu being voted in as the starter? That would qualify as a surprise, and if the first round of balloting updates are any indication, it could most definitely happen. Abreu is leading American League first baseman in voting, per Tuesday's balloting update from Major League Baseball.
Abreu is obviously deserving of receiving the most votes at his position, as he has far and away the most impressive offensive statistics among AL first basemen. Abreu has a .290/.350/.512 slash line with 10 home runs, 25 doubles and 38 RBIs. He leads AL first basemen in slugging percentage, OPS, doubles, RBIs and hits and ranks near the top in many other categories.
The production comes as no shock to the White Sox or their fans, who have watched Abreu be one of the most consistent hitters in the game ever since arriving from Cuba ahead of the 2014 season. Last year, he became the third player ever to start his big league career with four seasons with at least 25 home runs and 100 RBIs, the other two being all-time greats Albert Pujols and Joe DiMaggio.
In his White Sox career, Abreu owns a .300/.358/.524 slash line with 134 homers and 448 RBIs in 676 games.
What is a tad unexpected is that fans across the country would bypass typical voting favorites from teams like the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees - or the world-champion Houston Astros - in favor of the deserving Abreu. That's a welcome sight.
Whether eventually elected or just picked as a reserve, this would be Abreu's second career All-Star appearance. He hasn't been since his rookie season in 2014.