You may have wondered to yourself ‘who actually votes for the All-Star Game?’ Two sprained thumbs pointing at this guy (it is a lot of typing to go through 25 validation codes).
I’ve always enjoyed casting my votes for the Mid Summer Classic since back when the only way you could let your voice be heard was if you punched out the tiny holes on a ballot at a major league stadium. I can actually remember a few years I’d keep a ballot and use it to learn who were the starting position players for each team in the league.
These days, voting online is the way to go, and having access to the stats while filling out the ballot has clearly helped baseball fans make more educated decisions. The polls closed last night so I stuffed the ballot box at the last moment. Here’s who I voted for in the National League:
Catcher: Carlos Ruiz, Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies are having a down year, but their catcher has played like an MVP. At the moment, Ruiz leads all of baseball with a .362 batting average, is third in on-base percentage (.429) and seventh in slugging (.588). Yadier Molina and Buster Posey would also be fine choices, but Ruiz has really separated himself this season.
First Base: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
The easiest pick of any position in either league. Not only does Votto have the best OPS in baseball (1.109), but the NL lacks anyone who can come close to comparing with Votto at first base. Adam LaRoche (.251, 15 home runs, 48 RBI), Corey Hart (.250, 15, 36) and Paul Goldschmidt (.286, 10, 32) look like the top options as reserves.
Second Base: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
Sometimes you vote for who deserves to start, sometimes you vote for who you want to see start. Aaron Hill, Dan Uggla and Brandon Phillips are all deserving of consideration, but I had to go with the 5-foot, 5-inch Astros dynamo. Altuve leads NL second basemen in batting average (.309) and stolen bases (12).
Third Base: David Wright, New York Mets
Wright was an easy choice at third, as he’s having a terrific year for the surprising Mets. Wright ranks second in all of baseball in both batting average (.361) and OPS (1.028). His 96 hits, 50 runs and 49 RBI lead all NL third basemen.
Shortstop: Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals
No one really stuck out at shortstop, and I felt obligated to get a National on my ballot. Desmond has power (13 home runs), some speed (eight stolen bases) and his hitting a respectable .276 this year. Most importantly for Washington, he’s stayed in the lineup. Their offense has endured a lot of injuries, and he’s been a steady force for the first-place Nats. Other strong options were Jimmy Rollins, Jose Reyes, Starlin Castro and Rafael Furcal.
Outfield: Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies | Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates | Carlos Beltran, St. Louis Cardinals
This is the most controversial part of my ballot. I left Ryan Braun off not based only on the fact that I believe he used performance-enhancing drugs, but it definitely factored in. Car-Go, Cutch and Beltran are all having superb seasons, and Braun’s blemish was enough for him to lose out. Other players with All-Star resumes include Melky Cabrera, Giancarlo Stanton and Hunter Pence. Matt Kemp is likely to be voted a starter, but is not expected to sit out.
Starting Pitcher: R.A. Dickey, New York Mets
They don’t let you vote for the starter, but they should. While there are plenty of other great choices, Dickey starting would make a great story. Dickey is seventh in the NL with a 2.31 ERA, second in WHIP (0.91) fifth in strikeouts and leads the league in wins. Other strong options to start include Stephen Strasburg, Matt Cain and Clayton Kershaw, but you could make a list 10 deep of great NL pitchers so far in 2012.
The MLB All-Star Game Selection Showairs 1 p.m. ET Sunday on TBS. Check out how I filled out my ballot for the American League All-Stars.