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Under-the-radar All-Stars? The players' picks

June 7, 2017

We've gotten our first two Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot updates of 2017, and these results are an interesting window into what player performances are resonating with the average fan in advance of the July 11 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard at Miami's Marlins Park.But here at, we were

We've gotten our first two Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot updates of 2017, and these results are an interesting window into what player performances are resonating with the average fan in advance of the July 11 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard at Miami's Marlins Park.
But here at, we were curious to find out if there are players who possibly aren't resonating enough. And who better to ask than the players themselves?
So we went to one player from each team with the following request: Name one position player from a club other than your own who doesn't get the attention he deserves.
Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for #ASGWorthy players
Pretty simple assignment. Or was it? Some guys had trouble limiting themselves to just one.
"You can probably name one or two for every team," Giants infielder Aaron Hill said.
Others had trouble with the concept of anybody getting less credit than their due in today's analytically advanced environment.
"It's hard to go underrated," said Nationals reliever Shawn Kelley, "because even if you hit .240 but you're unbelievable at defense with WAR and UZAR and all that stuff, you're going to know it."
Ultimately, our 30-player voting body, some of whom picked multiple players, came up with 26 guys they deemed underratedly #ASGWorthy.
To the results!
Charlie Blackmon, OF, Rockies
Entering Tuesday, Blackmon had a whopping 47 RBIs and 79 hits out of the leadoff spot. Those who voted him as underrated will be heartened to hear Blackmon, an All-Star reserve in 2014, is currently second only to Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper among NL outfielders in the fan voting.

"He's a guy who is as consistent as they come," Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier said.
Zack Cozart, SS, Reds
It seems like the only category where Cozart, who has never been an All-Star, doesn't rank first among NL shortstops is in All-Star votes, where he's trailing the Dodgers' Corey Seager. But our player pool has taken note of his ridiculous .348/.433/.620 slash through 49 games.

"He's hitting like .350 and no one talks about him," Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said. "He's having great at-bats, he's playing solid defense. I feel like he really doesn't get any credit."
DJ LeMahieu, 2B, Rockies
More love on the Rox here. LeMahieu was an All-Star reserve in 2015 and had the highest average in the Majors (.348) last year, but how many people would spot him on a street other than Blake Street? He's currently a distant fourth in the fan vote at second base.

"He's like 6-foot-4 and makes every play," former teammate Thomas Pomeranz said. "He jumps, he'll dive this way and that way and run and throw. He's about as solid as they come."
Added Astros outfielder Josh Reddick, who was with the Dodgers for the tail end of 2016: "He robbed me of about four or five hits last year in a month-and-a-half period."
Michael Conforto, OF, Mets
The 24-year-old didn't even have a guaranteed spot on the Mets' Opening Day roster in Spring Training, which is why he's not on the All-Star ballot. But Conforto's been the Mets' best player, with a .308/.410/.628 slash line.
"It's not as big and sexy of a name as some other guys at this point in his career," Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said. "Personally, I think he's one of the best left-handed hitters in baseball."
Adam Frazier, UT, Pirates
Another guy not on the ballot, Frazier came out of nowhere to seize the opportunity created by Starling Marte's suspension. He had a .308/.380/.429 slash through 37 games.
"I know he's kind of young [25] and everybody is just kind of, 'Let's see how he does down the road,'" said Angels outfielder Ben Revere, "but he's got a really good swing, he can pull for home runs. Nice little line drives to left, steal bases and good defensively. I'm definitely going to keep my eyes on him."
"He pinch-hits a lot, too," added Orioles rookie Trey Mancini. "He does a good job in that role. He can be utilized a lot of different ways."
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, D-backs
Can a four-time All-Star and two-time National League MVP runner-up known in some circles as "America's First Baseman" really classify as underappreciated? A couple players surveyed thought so. And perhaps they're right, because Goldschmidt still ranked fourth among first basemen in the latest ballot update.

"That guy's unbelievable," said Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp. "Being in a smaller market, I don't think he gets the credit he deserves. But they're playing really well this year."
J.D. Martinez, OF, Tigers
Martinez, an All-Star reserve in 2015, opened the year on the disabled list with a foot injury, affecting his standing in the voting (he's not listed among the top 15 in the AL outfield). But he rolled out of the trainer's room and churned out a 1.201 OPS and 10 homers in his first 72 at-bats. With 83 homers between 2014-16, he was a game-changing waiver find for the Tigers.

"I saw him early [in his career] in Houston," said Pirates third baseman David Freese. "I don't think mechanically he was where he is now. I think he learned a lot and found himself as a hitter. If you look at his numbers over the last three or so years, he hides with the best power hitters in the game. He gets it done."
Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros
From Nelson Cruz: "He should be talked about more. All the things he does daily, every year. He's a great player."
Kole Calhoun, OF, Angels
From Turner: "Check at the end of the year, he has the homers, top three in outfield assists, way above-average defender. But he's in Anaheim, and whatever attention they get goes to [Mike] Trout."

Starlin Castro, 2B, Yankees
From Eugenio Suarez: "Nobody talks a lot about him. Maybe it's because Aaron Judge is there."
Brandon Crawford, SS, Giants
From Neil Walker: "Ever since he ruined the [2014] Wild Card Game, hit a grand slam against us in Pittsburgh, I've had a love-hate relationship with him."

John Forsythe, 2B, Dodgers
Avisail Garcia, OF, White Sox
From Eric Hosmer: "I remember when he was a rookie and he was taking BP in the same group with [Jose Cabrera] when he was a rookie with Detroit and we couldn't tell the two apart."

Brett Gardner, OF, Yankees
Marwin Gonzalez, UT, Astros
Ian Kinsler, 2B, Tigers
Nick Markakis, OF, Braves
Mitch Moreland, 1B, Red Sox
Chris Owings, UT, D-backs
From Hill: "He changes a game. Throwing arm, speed, power, everything."
Jose Ramirez, 3B, Indians
From A's catcher Stephen Vogt: "Just a solid, everyday player, a switch-hitter and someone that's often overlooked."
Mark Reynolds, 1B, Rockies
From Goldschmidt: "Seeing what he's done this year, his numbers aren't going to be underrated. But I feel like a guy that wasn't guaranteed to make their team right away that's come out and been one of the best first basemen in the league, that kind of sticks out in our division."
Jonathan Schoop, 2B, Orioles
From Kinsler: "He turns a great double play, he's got a good arm. He's obviously a bigger-sized second baseman. He hits toward the bottom of their order because they have a lot of power hitters that sit in the middle, but he picks up a lot of two-out RBIs."
Jean Segura, SS, Mariners
George Springer, OF, Astros
From Zach Davies: "He's just not all that conventional. The way he plays looks different from other people. It's not quite as drastic as Hunter Pence, but it's kind of similar. It doesn't always look fluid and completely natural like other players do. And he probably doesn't get as much notice because of the other players there."

Devon Travis, 2B, Blue Jays
Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.