Major League baseball released another round of updates for the All Star voting on Monday, and the results are pretty much what you'd expect. Those familiar with the All Star voting process are aware that it's a popularity contest as much as anything, meaning that the best players aren't always the ones chosen by the voters, because there are a lot of folks out there who would rather see their favorite player represent the National League instead of the best player at any given position. But I suppose it's too much to ask for a meritocracy to win out over pure, unadulterated fandom.
The usual suspects are leading the way in most of the categories, including Buster Posey (catcher), Joey Votto (first base), and Troy Tulowitzki (shortstop). Unlike years past, the Phillies are few and far between on these ballots, with Chase Utley (fourth in voting) and Domonic Brown (14th) as the only position players to be within spitting distance of heading to the midsummer classic.
And to be honest, I'm not sure what is more puzzling: that Chase Utley is so high, or that Domonic Brown is so low. Utley, despite not having played a game in nearly a month, is still among the top vote-getters at his position. To be fair, second base isn't exactly a deep position, so an injured Chase Utley is quite likely more useful to the All Star team than say, a health Daniel Murphy.
But what I think is more alarming is the fact that Domonic Brown has so few votes, considering how great he's been over the past month. While Brown isn't the best hitting outfielder in the NL, he's seventh in OPS, second in home runs, and fourth in slugging among all outfielders. To boot, his recent onslaught on opposing pitching should have curried him enough favor among even the most casual voters who would surely recognize him when they fill out their ballots.
Here is the current breakdown of National League outfielders and their votes. Those with an asterisk next to them have lower OPS than Brown.
Carlos Beltran, Cardinals 2,385,240*
Justin Upton, Braves 2,054,225*
Bryce Harper, Nationals 1,981,030
Ryan Braun, Brewers 1,645,094
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies 1,508,355
Matt Holliday, Cardinals 1,330,471*
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates 1,319,419*
Hunter Pence, Giants 1,286,163*
Shin-Soo Choo, Reds 1,274,755
Angel Pagan, Giants 1,131,176*
Carlos Gomez, Brewers 1,027,684
Gregor Blanco, Giants 934,174*
Jon Jay, Cardinals 884,323*
Domonic Brown, Phillies 837,748
B.J. Upton, Braves 733,744*
So, what does this mean? Well, nothing, because the All Star game is lousy with players who were voted in because their fan base is perhaps more motivated to stuff ballots for their favorite ballplayers. That's all well and good, but considering that the ASG determines who gets home field advantage in the World Series, I'd appreciate it if the fans took it a bit more seriously.
If you want to make your voice heard, you can do so by heading over to MLB.com. Voting closes on July 4.