It’s a good time to be a third baseman. Fans of the MLB All-Star Game have spoken, and they believe Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner and Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas deserve the honor of playing in Miami.
Turner and Moustakas were announced Thursday as the winners of Major League Baseball’s Final Vote. As such, both players will join their respective All-Star teams for the festivities.
Kenley Jansen must have lit a fire under Dodgers’ fans, because it looks like they rallied in a big way to make sure Turner won the vote. Turner received 20.8 million votes, which is an all-time record. Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant finished second in the voting in the National League. Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon finished third.
Though Bryant and Rendon both had strong cases for coming out on top, it’s tough to deny Turner. The 32-year-old is hitting an incredible .384/.473/.571 over 259 plate appearances. Turner has played in roughly 15 fewer games than both Bryant and Rendon due to injury, but still leads all third basemen with a 3.9 fWAR. His success isn’t just small-sample batting average luck. He’s been phenomenal.
The American League results saw an old narrative resurface. Royals fans once again dominated the vote, making sure their guy beat out the competition to get to Miami. Royals fans had to contend with fans in New York, Boston and Texas, but still got the job done.
It’s the second time Moustakas has won the Final Vote. Royals fans also pushed him onto the All-Star team in 2015. He picked up 15.6 million votes this time around. Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts finished second. New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius wound up in third despite his last-minute campaigning.
Moustakas’ power has been impressive this year. The 28-year-old has belted 25 home runs, which ranks second in all of baseball and earned him a spot in the Home Run Derby. After playing in just 17 games in 2016 due to injury, Moustakas has bounced back to hit .275/.309/.570 in 320 plate appearances. His 1.8 fWAR actually ranked fifth out of all the players in the AL Final Vote. Royals fans came on strong here.
Just because Bryant, Rendon, Bogaerts and others missed out doesn’t mean they won’t eventually get the call. They can make the team as an injury replacement, or get on the roster replacing a pitcher who will not be available for the contest. The AL already knows it has to replace Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout, so that could provide an opportunity for Bogaerts to sneak his way in.
Don’t be too disappointed if your favorite player missed out. There’s a good chance you still see a number of these guys in Miami.
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