Notes: Astros in good spot in All-Star voting

Toro stepping up to the challenge

June 25th, 2021

DETROIT -- With All-Star Game finalists set to be announced Sunday, the Astros figure to be well-represented in the next phase of voting with all but two of their eight players on the ballot in line to advance in the American League, based on the voting totals released Monday.

Three finalists at every position (nine outfielders) for each league will be revealed live on MLB Network on Sunday as advancing to Phase 2 of the balloting, which begins Monday at 11 a.m. CT, and concludes Thursday, July 1, at 1 p.m. CT

In the latest voting, Martín Maldonado was third at catcher, Yuli Gurriel was second at first base, Jose Altuve was second at second base, Alex Bregman was second at third base, Carlos Correa was third at shortstop, Yordan Alvarez was third at designated hitter and Michael Brantley was sixth among outfielders (Kyle Tucker was 11th and Myles Straw was 18th).

“We got four or five people I think are deserving -- Altuve, Brantley, Yuli, Alvarez, Correa,” said Astros manager Dusty Baker, who also stumped for some of his starting pitchers. “Also, I think [Zack] Greinke. [Luis] Garcia’s in consideration. [José] Urquidy’s in consideration. Hopefully we have a lot and hopefully they take it as an honor and want to go. You also realize that some of the guys could probably use a break, too.”

Fans can vote at -- or on Google by searching "MLB All-Star vote" or "Vote" along with a player's name. You can vote daily on both platforms, including once per day on The All-Star starters will then be unveiled on Thursday at 8 p.m. CT, on ESPN, when the results of Phase 2 balloting are announced.

The rest of the 2021 All-Star rosters will be named on Sunday, July 4, at 4:30 p.m. CT on ESPN.

Toro stepping up
Injuries to Bregman (quad) and utility infielder/outfielder Aledmys Díaz (fractured hand) have opened the door for Abraham Toro to show the strides he’s made at the plate this year. Toro, like many of his Astros teammates, had a miserable 2020, hitting .149 with three homers in 87 at-bats last year.

Because the Minor League season was canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Toro didn’t have anywhere he could get more at-bats last year. Still, he’s looked much more confident at the plate this year and on Friday made his ninth start at third base. He came into the game slashing .282/.378/.426 in 45 plate appearances with two homers and 10 RBIs. He drove in four runs June 17 against the White Sox and on Wednesday against Baltimore.

“He has more of a comfort level,” Baker said. “He’s worked exceptionally hard on his defense. It’s more difficult when you’re a switch-hitter because you have to be ready on both sides. The guys in your hitting group, they’re not going to give you extra time from their swings just because you’re a switch-hitter when usually one side or the other is not right.”