7 toughest choices on All-Star ballot

May 29th, 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.

Kris Bryant or Nolan Arenado? As All-Star Game voting begins, that’s one of the toughest calls on the National League ballot. Only, it’s not even that simple, since Anthony Rendon should be in this discussion as well. And Eugenio Suarez is tied for the home run lead among NL third basemen with 14.

Don’t all four of these guys deserve to play in the All-Star Game? Problem is, if you can only vote for one of them, who do you have? Good luck with that one.

Here’s another one: Second base in the American League. Brandon Lowe is having a wonderful rookie season for the Rays. But Whit Merrifield, Tommy La Stella and Jonathan Schoop are all going to get votes. Again, no real right answer.

See where we’re going with this? All-Star Game voting gives all of us a chance to review the first half of the season and to compare rookies and breakout stars to the game’s biggest names.

Here’s are look at seven of the toughest ballot decisions.

1) Third base, NL

This may be the tightest race and toughest call of all. They are virtually tied in fWAR and close in almost every other category, as well. Rendon has a slight lead in OPS, Arenado has more home runs and Bryant is close in every category.

2) Third base, AL

Bregman, who was the 2018 All-Star Game MVP, is having his best season, leading all AL third basemen in fWAR, home runs, walks and OBP. No AL third baseman has been better defensively. Dozier is having a breakout season and is No. 1 in OPS. Chapman is having his best season. Devers has taken a step forward in virtually every area, especially defensively.

3) Shortstop, NL

Leading candidates: , , Javier Baez

Is the All-Star Game for the biggest stars or for the players having the best season? That’s going to be the debate at this position. Manny Machado is a fill-in at short until Fernando Tatis Jr. returns and is on the ballot at third. Seager is a two-time All-Star who is not having his best season. Meanwhile, Baez is as productive at his new position as he was at second. But DeJong appears to be a cut above everyone else, having emerged as a bona fide star.

4) Shortstop, AL

This is the season lots of people have long projected for Polanco, who has helped the Twins take a commanding lead in the AL Central. That it came five years after his Major League debut should only make it that much sweeter. Problem is, this is a position chock-full of household names. Bogaerts and Correa have been core parts of the last two World Series winners, though Correa heading to the DL with cracked ribs won't help his candidacy. Lindor and Torres are familiar faces in the postseason, as well. There’s a case to be made for all of them. None is as strong as Polanco’s.

5) First base, NL

Leading candidates: , ,

This might be the strongest position in the game. Pete Alonso and Christian Walker are having nice rookie seasons. Paul Goldschmidt is a six-time All-Star. Rhys Hoskins is in the middle of Philadelphia’s baseball renaissance. All four of them could have the support of their hometown fans. But Rizzo, Bell and Freeman have been better. Rizzo and Bell are virtually tied in fWAR, and Bell’s .338 batting average will get the attention of voters. Freeman, a three-time All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner, is having arguably his best season.

6) Second base, AL

Lowe has a slight lead over La Stella and Merrifield in fWAR. LeMahieu has the highest OBP and has been so important to the Yankees' improbable season that he probably is the favorite.

7) Outfield, AL

Trout is a lock, and after that it gets complicated. Gallo and Brantley’s numbers hold up, but Betts is the defending AL MVP. Gordon has been very good, Pham is one of the best players on one of the best teams and his teammate, Meadows, actually leads all AL outfielders in OPS.