When the five names for the National League All-Star Final Vote were initially released, I thought Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig would undoubtedly earn the most votes, but I’m happy to say that I was wrong.
The ballot, which also includes San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence, Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond and Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, is currently being led by Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman.
With each day’s update, I have been baffled by the fact that the 23-year-old, who is in his third full season in the big leagues, continues to lead Los Angeles’ rookie phenom.
“I didn’t know people knew about me,” Freeman told Mark Bowman of MLB.com on Wednesday. “I just go out there and try to win baseball games. Just to have people jump on my side and start voting for me is just incredible.”
People certainly know about Puig, but they obviously respect Freeman’s .304 batting average, nine home runs, 56 RBIs and .385 on-base percentage, which he has compiled while primarily serving as Atlanta’s cleanup hitter.
With the first month-plus of his major league career, Freeman has taken Major League Baseball by storm, hitting .401 with eight homers, 19 RBIs and a .435 on-base percentage entering Wednesday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, placing him on a short list of all-time greats who have done that well at the beginning of their career.
But Freeman has put up his numbers throughout the entire first half of the season, which is why he deserves to play in Tuesday’s All-Star Game before the 22-year-old Cuban.
No matter what happens over the final 17 hours of balloting — it closes at 4 p.m. ET on Thursday — I’d be willing to bet they’ll both make several trips to the Midsummer Classic before all is said and done.