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All-Star Game would be better with Stanton

Yankees slugger makes last push in Final Vote ballot
MLB.com @MikeLupica

It's called the All-Star Game for good reason. It isn't just supposed to be about guys who had a half-season of really good numbers, even if they're breakout numbers. It's supposed to be about the biggest stars in baseball. Giancarlo Stanton, now of the Yankees, is one. He ought to be in Washington next Tuesday night.

VOTE: 2018 Camping World 2018 Final Vote

It's called the All-Star Game for good reason. It isn't just supposed to be about guys who had a half-season of really good numbers, even if they're breakout numbers. It's supposed to be about the biggest stars in baseball. Giancarlo Stanton, now of the Yankees, is one. He ought to be in Washington next Tuesday night.

VOTE: 2018 Camping World 2018 Final Vote

Stanton nearly hit 60 home runs for the Marlins last season. He might chase 50 with the Yankees this season. Stanton has 22 right now. Aaron Judge has more. Yanks fans like Judge better. We've gone over this. They think of Judge as theirs at Yankee Stadium. They will probably always be sweeter on him than Stanton.

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It doesn't change the fact that Stanton, in a home run world, is one of the home run stars of his sport, and someone people want to see. He has survived the period of adjustment that almost all newbies have to endure in New York, at Yankee Stadium. Now take a look what Stanton has done lately:

Stanton is hitting .333 with three homers and six RBIs over his past 10 games. He is hitting .377 with four homers and 10 RBIs over his past 15. Stanton is hitting .316 with eight homers and 19 RBIs over his past 30. So he might just be getting started. Stanton has worthy competition, of course, in the Final Vote balloting. Sitting in third place, he is up against Andrew Benintendi, a wonderful young player, and Andrelton Simmons, one of the best shortstops you will ever see, and Jean Segura, who is leading the Ameircan League Final Vote, and Eddie Rosario.

Video: NYY@BAL: Stanton slugs 22nd HR of '18 in 2nd inning

Nothing against those other guys, who will all have the support of their own fan bases, but Benintendi's most passionate because of Red Sox Nation. Giancarlo Stanton, home run guy, Yankee, star player, already in the middle of what might be one of the great Yankees-Red Sox summers of them all, deserves to get at least one swing in the All-Star Game.

Stanton was asked the other day about being on the Final Vote ballot, and he said, "It's cool, especially after the super slow start ... but I still got a lot more to do."

There were times when Stanton got booed at Yankee Stadium after that super slow start, including the home opener, a miserable weather day and a truly miserable day for him that saw him strike out five times. Now here he is, just three home runs behind Judge, the real people's choice in the Bronx. Here is the current comparison for the new imagining of Mantle and Maris:

Stanton: .272, 22, 52 RBI, .864 OPS (his lifetime numbers are .269 and a .910 OPS).
Judge: .281, 25, 60 RBI, .965 OPS.

Even with Stanton's slow start, and even with that period of adjustment, Judge and Stanton now look exactly like the combination we thought they would be, wanted them to be, wanted to see. They still might hit 100 home runs between them, in this American League East season when it looks like either the Yankees or the Red Sox are going to win more than 100 games and still have to play a Wild Card Game.

Neither one of them is the batting star in their league, or in the Yanks-Sox rivalry, right now. That distinction and, boy, is it ever a distinction, belongs to J.D. Martinez, whose own numbers are off the hook. Martinez, who lost another one against the Rangers on Monday night at Fenway Park, is hitting .331, with 28 home runs, 77 RBIs and an OPS of 1.047. If you're keeping score at home, he has now hit 56 home runs over his past 162 games. It is as if the Red Sox have now placed a young, and right-handed-hitting David Ortiz in the middle of their batting order.

Video: TEX@BOS: Martinez belts a 3-run homer to left

So in the season when Judge and Stanton were supposed to be the guys who made AL pitchers want to hide in the clubhouse, it is Martinez with the bigger numbers, and the one with as big an All-Star resume as Mike Trout.

Martinez will start in Washington, so will Trout, so will Judge, so will Mookie Betts, someone else who has been a rocket to the moon this season. There is no way that Stanton's resume is better than Martinez's, Trout's, Betts' or Judge's. The game next Tuesday night is just another referendum on how much young talent there is in this sport, at this time; how many young stars there really are.

Video: NYY@TOR: Stanton's rocket is hardest-hit ball of 2018

Stanton is one of them. He's the guy who chased 60 last season until his final at-bat. Stanton is now a Yankee not just hitting home runs at Yankee Stadium, but hitting line-drive singles so hard you have to see them to believe them. He's a baseball star, by any measure. Tuesday night is about showcasing stars. Stanton ought to be in Washington.

Mike Lupica is a columnist for MLB.com.

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton