Francona pulling for Kipnis to gain ASG votes
Indians manager impressed by support Royals fans are showing their club
CLEVELAND -- Terry Francona would surely like to see second baseman Jason Kipnis getting more votes in All-Star balloting right now, but the Indians manager is not going to complain too much about how Royals fans have dominated the process.
In fact, Francona took the chance on Wednesday to praise the efforts of Kansas City's fan base.
"Part of this game is made for the fans and that part is voting in the starters," Francona said. "Since those are the rules, I guess I would say that I would commend the Royals' fans. They kept saying for years and years, 'Hey, we want a winner and when you do, we'll back you.' Well, they got a winner, and I'll be darned, they're blowing it away."
In the most recent Esurance All-Star ballot results, the Royals accounted for eight of the American League's nine starters, with Angels outfielder Mike Trout serving as the lone projected starter not from Kansas City's roster. Royals players Eric Hosmer, Omar Infante, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, Kendrys Morales, Salvador Perez, Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon are leading in voting at their respective positions.
Fans can vote for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- until Thursday, July 2, at 11:59 p.m. ET. For the first time, voting is exclusively online.
The ballot can also be received by fans by texting VOTE to 89269 (USA) or 101010 (Canada). Or text VOTA for a ballot in Spanish. Message and data rates may apply. Up to five messages are allowed and no purchase is required. Reply STOP to cancel or reply HELP for info.
Infante (.221 average and a .536 OPS through 55 games) currently leads at second base with 4,518,765 votes. Houston's Jose Altuve (.290 with a .724 OPS through 62 games) is second with 4,209,702 votes and Kipnis (.333 and a .909 OPS through 62 games) ranks third with 1,859,756 votes.
Kipnis entered Wednesday leading all AL batters with a 3.9 WAR, according to Fangraphs.com.
"I can't do anything about it except for vote," Francona said. "But, I know how Kip's playing. The bigger markets, or the teams that have won, are probably going to dominate the voting. I think that's the way it goes. That's the way it's set up. But I would be surprised if Kip's not selected by his peers, because of the way he plays the game."
As for the AL's starting lineup, Francona did not sound overly concerned about it for now.
"Things like this," Francona said, "probably have a way of maybe allowing baseball to react to something or make it better."