7 overlooked players worthy of All-Star votes

June 13th, 2019

Read our FAQ on this year’s revamped balloting format, which includes two phases of fan voting to determine the All-Star starters, and the ability to vote through Google Search.

One of the surest signs that your average baseball fan in the year 2019 is more educated and informed than nearly any other time in baseball history is the All-Star voting. For decades, one of the most slam-dunk, easy articles to write was the “here’s how fans got it wrong in the first round of All-Star votes.” (We would get quite smug about it.) For crying out loud, fans once voted in Kosuke Fukudome and Mark Loretta.

But no longer. Fans are paying attention. Players who have had low profiles in the past but are off to blistering starts are being rewarded in early voting. Josh Bell. Luke Voit. Tommy La Stella. Jorge Polanco. These are the most deserving All-Stars so far, and fans have noticed. It’s impressive. Fans are getting it right.

That doesn’t mean some great players couldn’t use a little push, though. Some guys are lower than they should be in the voting. Here are seven players who maybe deserve a little bit more love in your voting.

Byron Buxton, OF, Twins
According to Baseball-Reference's WAR, Buxton is one of the top 10 players in baseball, and he has been a revelation for the Twins this year, at last fulfilling much of the promise he showed as a top prospect for all those years. (That Buxton was leading the American League in doubles entering Wednesday is sort of amazing.) But not only is he not even in the top 10 of AL outfield vote-getters, he is in fact third on his own team. The Twins have played so well in the first half that it feels like their whole team should be All-Stars, but Buxton should receive more of that love than he’s currently getting.

Paul DeJong, SS, Cardinals
DeJong has been slumping considerably of late, not all that differently than the team he plays for. But he has still taken a big jump forward this year, not just offensively -- where he has improved his batting eye and pushed up his power numbers -- but also defensively. It might not always look that way in the field, but DeJong rates out as one of the better defensive shortstops in the game. But like many Cardinals players, he’s lagging in the voting, at sixth place on the National League shortstop ballot. There was a time that Cardinals players dominated the ballot, but that time has passed: The Cardinals only have one player in the top five at any position, Yadier Molina at fourth among catchers. St. Louis is in danger of not having a single player make the top three and reach the next round of voting.

Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Mariners
Encarnacion has never been a favorite of the voters: He has made three All-Star Games but never been voted in as a starter despite hitting more home runs over the last decade than any other player. (He’s seven ahead of Nelson Cruz and 17 ahead of Giancarlo Stanton entering Wednesday.) This year is no different: He’s leading the AL in homers, at the age of 36 no less, and he’s not even showing up in the top 10 of the AL first-base voting. We never appreciate Edwin enough.

Eduardo Escobar, 3B, D-backs
The D-backs have been better than almost anyone anticipated, and Escobar, traded to Arizona at the Deadline last year, is one of the primary reasons why. He’s slugging more than 150 points higher than his career average, and he’s already only six homers short of his career high. He even led the NL in triples entering Wednesday. But he’s seventh among third basemen in the NL voting, and even fourth in his own division.

Joey Gallo, OF, Rangers
Gallo has been one of baseball’s most exciting sluggers for a few years, but it has been tough to justify placing him on an All-Star team in the past: He’s never hit above .209! But this is the year he has put it all together, raising his batting average nearly 70 points without sacrificing a bit of power. He led the AL in slugging entering Wednesday and he's playing some excellent defense in the outfield. Should he be above Mike Trout in voting? No. But he sure belongs higher than eighth.

Brandon Lowe, 2B, Rays
It’s always difficult for rookies to get a ton of All-Star traction, but Lowe might be the best player on the best team in the AL East right now. Lowe has shown consistent power and contact skill, and he hasn’t faded as the season has gone on: June has in fact been his best month. He’s also a sturdy defensive second baseman. But he’s way down at seventh place in AL voting, more than 250,000 votes out of that key third-place position.

Marcus Semien, SS, A’s
The A’s shortstop has long been one of the more underrated players in baseball, one of the quiet reasons the A’s keep being a little bit better than you think they’re going to be. (He’s also the reigning AL Player of the Week.) But not only is Semien not near the top of the leaderboard in All-Star voting, he’s not even in the top 10 at his position. He’s not even listed! Semien hasn’t even notched the 60,392 votes of 10th place shortstop Willy Adames, which means, egads, he has fewer votes than Chris Davis. At least get him on the board, people.