Our Esquina’s 2021 MLB All-Star Game ballot
With Phase Two of the 2021 MLB All-Star Game voting set to conclude July 1, we provide our ballot for the Midsummer classic.
Last season’s pandemic-shortened season robbed fans of an MLB All-Star Game. The Midsummer Classic is back, and there’s still time to vote for your favorite players.
As was the case in 2019, this season fans will determine the starting position players by casting votes from home. At this point, the voting process is currently in phase two, where only the top three players at each position – top nine for outfielders – remain. Today, I’m going to provide my pick at each position. Feel free to follow along with me as you cast your vote by visiting Google’s MLB All-Star Ballot.
MLB All-Star Game Ballot: Infielders
|TOR||Vladimir Guerrero Jr.*|
This one is a no-brainer. This season, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has taken sole position of the best offensive player in baseball. He leads all MLB with 66 RBIs, .344 AVG, .446 OBP, and 1.130 OPS. No first baseman has come anywhere near Vladdy Jr. statistically this season.
José Altuve has had to bear much of the burden for the sign-stealing scandal. Though much of it is unfair, he has responded by putting together his best season since the scandal was unveiled. Though Marcus Semien has an edge offensively, Altuve has shown more versatility at his position and is my pick for the MLB All-Star game.
Ever since Rafael Devers took Aroldis Chapman deep at Yankee Stadium back in 2017, the Red Sox knew they had a special bat at third base. Since then, he has been one of the best offensive infielders in the American League. He leads all AL third basemen with 19 homers, a .282 AVG, .570 SLG, and .924 OPS. Therefore, he is my pick at third base.
When the whole world came down on the Houston Astros, Carlos Correa put the team on his back. Despite being counted out in the 2020 MLB postseason, Correa carried his team to Game 7 of the ALCS. To top it off, he leads all AL shortstops with a 3.2 fWAR and with 15 homers. He trails only Xander Bogaerts in OPS .941 to .929.
Salvador Perez has been the best catcher in the American League by far. He leads all qualified AL catchers in every important stat, including home runs, average, and OPS. Therefore, similar to Vladdy Jr. at first base, this one is a no-brainer. Salvy is no question the AL All-Star catcher.
The NL race is much tighter. In the end, I have decided to go with Max Muncy. Muncy leads all qualified NL first basemen with a 3.2 fWAR. This is because of his versatility as a fielder. What’s more, his .973 OPS leads all NL first basemen.
Despite trailing San Diego Padres infielder Jake Cronenworth in fWAR 2.8 to 2.4, there’s no question that Adam Frazier has the offensive edge. So much so that he is my selection at second base. His .326 AVG, .395 OBP, and .860 OPS leads all National League second basemen. This despite only having four home runs so far this season.
When Nolan Arenado was traded to St. Louis, many questioned whether his play would translate. Not only has he been able to sustain his play away from the confines of Coors Field, but he has also been the best third baseman in the NL. His 2.5 fWAR and .520 SLG leads all NL third basemen. He has also staked his claim as the best defensive third baseman in the game.
|SDP||Fernando Tatis Jr.*|
Fernando Tatis Jr. staked his claim as the face of MLB at the start of the 2021 season. Such pressure can burst pipes or make diamonds. Tatis has proven to be a diamond. This season, he leads the NL with 25 home runs, 55 RBIs, 16 SB, and a 1.076 OPS. He leads all MLB with a .692 slugging percentage. There is no other choice but El Niño here.
Last season, Buster Posey opted out of the season because of COVID. It turns out, a year off is just what the doctor ordered for the 34-year-old veteran. This season, Posey leads all catchers with a 3.0 fWAR, a .330 AVG, .418 OBP, and .560 SLG. This has allowed the Giants to lead the NL West standings.
My MLB All-Star Game Ballot – Outfielders
I have to admit that when selecting Michael Brantley, I struggled a bit. Overall, Adolis Garcia has a better fWAR. Aside from home runs, however, Brantley simply just has better stats. In fact, Brantley is second only to Vladdy Jr. in batting average. He also has the fewest number of strikeouts (28) in the American League, tied with teammate Yuli Gurriel.
In the past, Aaron Judge received a lot of criticism for being unable to stay healthy. This year, all of that gets put to bed as he has logged more games played (75) than anybody on the New York Yankees. What’s more, he continues to tear the cover off the ball. His 18 home runs trail only Adolis Garcia, who has 20. Also, his 96.5 mph average exit velocity is tops in all MLB.
Cedric Mullins has been one of the best stories in the MLB this season. In fact, among all American League outfielders, nobody has a better fWAR (3.7). The closes player, Joey Gallo, has a 2.7 fWAR. Even though he trails Michael Brantley in batting average, he leads all AL outfielders with a .391 OBP and a .554 SLG. Not only is he a sure-fire All-Star, but he is also an MVP candidate.
Stout NL outfield
Ronald Acuña Jr. might very well be the best player in baseball, let alone the best outfielder. In fact, he has the highest fWAR (3.7) in MLB, tied with Cedric Mullins. He also has the most SB (16), and trails only Kyle Schwarber in home runs. For these reasons, Acuña is one of my starting outfielders in the 2021 MLB All-Star Game.
This season, Nick Castellanos is off to the hottest start of his career. He leads all MLB with 100 hits and 27 doubles. Also, he leads the National League with a .342 AVG and 174 total bases. Aside from Acuña, there simply hasn’t been a better outfielder in the NL. With an opt-out available at the end of this season, Castellanos is looking to possibly double his $16M base salary. He’d be well worth it.
Prior to this season, Jesse Winker was not considered an everyday player for the Cincinnati Reds. Now, he’s not only one of the best Reds players, he’s an elite MLB outfielder. He leads all NL outfielder with a .402 OBP and a .998 OPS, and he’s top three in home runs with 19. Though it pains me not to reward Juan Soto with the third outfield starting position, Winker earned it.
Babe Ruth of 2021?
Over a century ago, Babe Ruth solidified himself as the best MLB player that ever lived. Like Ruth, another two-way player has emerged and is throwing his name in the hat for the GOAT title. That player is Shohei Ohtani. As a pitcher, Ohtani boasts a sub-three ERA. As a hitter, he leads all hitters with 28 homers. Not only should Ohtani be an All-Star, if he continues at this pace, he is the AL MVP.
No Designated Hitter in National League
In all, of the 17 position players leading the All-Star vote, I disagree with five of them. In my ballot, Muncy, Altuve, Correa, Brantley, and Mullins deserve to start for their respective leagues. Either way, what this demonstrates is that MLB is in a good position with such talented players at every position.
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