When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do was go to the ballpark and pop the circles out of an All-Star ballot. I wouldn’t just vote for the players on my favorite team either. I’d vote for the best players in the league, the ones who deserved it.
Things are different these days. Paper ballots don’t exist in the ballparks anymore. Everything is online. The polls are open now and fans can vote multiple times per day — virtually stuffing their ballot box for players from their favorite teams. Heck, a national radio show is trying to vote in a guy who’s hitting well under the Mendoza Line as a joke.
I come to you today as but a humble baseball fan asking you to do the right thing when it comes to All-Star voting. Don’t be a homer. Or, in political terms, don’t just follow the party line — although that’s the easier thing to do. Vote for the players who deserve it.
And yes — players like Mike Trout, Aaron Judge and Mookie Betts certainly deserve it — but there are plenty of other under-the-radar players and non-household names who deserve a chance to go to D.C. this year for the All-Star game. So on this week’s installment of my Open Mike video series, I’m giving you a few of them. And I’ll add a few below that aren’t in the video.
• Nick Markakis, OF, Atlanta Braves: Markakis — 34 — has never played in the All-Star game before despite being a pretty well-known MLB vet. This might just be the year. The Braves are the surprise team of the season and his .328/.392/.498 slash is a big reason they are.
• Ozzie Albies, 2B, Atlanta Braves: Another Brave, another worthy All-Star, but a different story. Albies is just 21 and looks like he might have an All-Star game or two ahead of him. Right now, his 14 homers and 51 runs scored are legit. The second mark leads the NL.
• Scooter Gennett, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers: Sure, his name makes him sound like a cute 4-year-old, but Gennett is actually second in the NL with his .344 batting average.
• Jed Lowrie, 2B, Oakland Athletics: Another second baseman? Yep. Lowrie is basically the AL version of Markakis. He’s 34, been around quite a while, never been to the All-Star game. Get this: He’s the 11th most valuable player in the AL this season according to fWAR, ahead of guys like J.D. Martinez, Giancarlo Stanton and Carlos Correa.
• Odubel Herrera, OF, Philadelphia Phillies: Maaaan, people hated on Herrera pretty hard for a while— even Phillies fans. But the 26-year-old outfielder has been great this season. He’s hitting .306 and getting on base nearly 37 percent of the time.
• Matt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers: Is it fair to call Matt Kemp under-the-radar at this point? A couple teams just gave up on him. Nobody expected anything this year. And now? He’s leading the NL in batting average at age 33. Ten homers and 40 RBIs aren’t bad either.
• Eddie Rosario, OF, Minnesota Twins: He’s been really hot lately, but there’s nothing wrong with great timing. Let’s just consider the number: .312/.351/.568 with 14 homers, 43 RBIs. That’s quite good — from a guy who isn’t close to a household name.
Apologies to Brandon Belt, who deserves to be on this list after his fantastic start. But he needed an emergency appendectomy and will now miss three weeks. Many Giants fans will still vote for him — and deservedly so — but missing that chunk of time makes it harder to give him my endorsement.
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