Fan voting for the July 17 MLB All-Star Game — or showcases in any major sport, for that matter — don’t always select the season’s top players as starters. But this year, with voting ending Thursday, the fans are doing a pretty good job.
Most of the best players at each position, in both leagues, appear poised to start in Washington, according to the latest voting figures released Monday. While most races are all but decided at this point, it can’t hurt to familiarize with who the best players of the first half have been. Read on for a breakdown. (All statistics through Sunday)
J.T. Realmuto (Marlins) sports a .309/.366/.542 slash line, making him the obvious choice in the National League. His counterpart deserves to be Wilson Ramos (Rays), whose .290 batting average leads the American League.
Likely starters: Ramos; Buster Posey (Giants)
The clear pick, even at a strong NL position, is Freddie Freeman (Braves) with his .315 batting average, 16 homers and 56 RBIs. Mitch Moreland (Red Sox) is having a more well-rounded year than power-hitting Matt Olson (Athletics), but either would be a good AL choice.
Likely starters: Jose Abreu (White Sox); Freeman
Reigning AL MVP Jose Altuve (Astros) is tearing it up again, outshining an impressive first half by Jed Lowrie (A’s). The NL competition is tight between league batting leader Scooter Gennett (Reds) and young Ozzie Albies (Braves), so there’s no wrong answer here.
Likely starters: Altuve; Albies
The AL rep is simple: Jose Ramirez (Indians) and his .607 slugging percentage is far and away the best choice. In the NL, it’s a virtual tie between Nolan Arenado (Rockies) and Eugenio Suarez (Reds), who lead the league in homers and RBIs, respectively.
Likely starters: Ramirez; Arenado
Manny Machado (Orioles) is a stud on an awful AL ballclub, with his .310/.377/.564 slash line and 59 RBIs. Brandon Crawford (Giants) is batting .315 with 10 HRs, and he’s got little NL competition.
Likely starters: Machado; Crawford
AL MVP candidates Mike Trout (Angels) and Mookie Betts (Red Sox) have to start. Eddie Rosario (Twins) and .313 average with 18 HRs belongs with them — sorry Aaron Judge (Yankees), who still shines with a .279 average and 22 homers.
The NL pool is comparatively weak, but Nick Markakis (Braves), the NL hits leader, probably is the safest choice. Lorenzo Cain (Brewers) and teammate Christian Yelich are strong candidates, too. If anyone wanted to swap one of the Brewers for Matt Kemp (Dodgers), Odubel Herrera (Phillies) or even Brandon Nimmo (Mets), there’s a good argument for it.
Likely starters: Betts, Trout, Judge; Markakis, Kemp, Bryce Harper (Nationals)
Only J.D. Martinez (Red Sox) makes sense, with his .324 average and league-best 25 homers and 67 RBIs.
Likely starter: Martinez