Pick your All-Star: Yordan vs. Shohei

July 5th, 2022

Phase 2 of the Chevrolet MLB All-Star Ballot has arrived, and that means some of the most exciting players in MLB going head to head for the right to start the 92nd All-Star Game on July 19 at Dodger Stadium.

The Phase 1 results were announced last Thursday, leaving two final candidates per league at each position except for outfield, where four finalists will battle it out for two spots. (The Yankees' Aaron Judge and the Braves' Ronald Acuña Jr. clinched automatic starting spots by virtue of being their respective leagues' top vote-getters in Phase 1). In each case, vote counts start over from zero rather than carrying over from Phase 1.

Fans can vote once per day in Phase 2, which began on Tuesday and continues until 2 p.m. ET on Friday. Unsure of which box to check? MLB.com is here to help, with breakdowns of some of the more intriguing one-on-one ballot showdowns.

One of the toughest matchups to call is at designated hitter in the American League, with Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez going up against Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani, the reigning AL MVP. Here is what you need to know:


Yordan Alvarez, Astros
Born: June 27, 1997 (Age 25)
Birthplace: Las Tunas, Cuba
Signed: June 15, 2016 (with LAD)
Debuted: June 9, 2019 (with HOU)
Bats/throws: Left/right
Jersey number: 44

Shohei Ohtani, Angels
Born: July 5, 1994 (age 28)
Birthplace: Oshu, Japan
Signed: Dec. 9, 2017 (with LAA)
Debuted: March 29, 2018 (with LAA)
Bats/throws: Left/right
Jersey number: 17


Alvarez: .490 expected wOBA
You could really take your pick here, as Alvarez ranks among MLB’s best in a number of key metrics. We’ll go with xwOBA, which factors in his quality of contact, in terms of exit velocity and launch angle, plus strikeouts and walks. Alvarez not only has the highest xwOBA in MLB, he was 38 points ahead of the next-closest hitter (min. 100 plate appearances), the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, through July 3.

Ohtani: 40 barrels
A year ago, Ohtani led all players with 78 barrels -- batted balls with the optimal combination of exit velocity and launch angle, typically resulting in homers and extra-base hits. He had only six barrels in April but produced 33 across May and June, tying him with Kyle Schwarber for the second-most barrels in MLB behind Judge through June 30.

Alvarez: The Astros lost George Springer and Carlos Correa to free agency in consecutive offseasons, but Alvarez’s continued growth as a hitter has helped the club remain an AL powerhouse. Houston completed June with an 11 1/2-game lead for first place in the AL West thanks in part to Alvarez’s .310 average, 23 homers and MLB-leading 1.051 OPS. The 25-year-old went deep nine times and had a 1.346 OPS in June, winning the AL Player of the Month Award as a result.

Ohtani: After hitting .234 with four homers and a .676 OPS over his first 28 games this season, Ohtani has looked awfully close to the hitter he was in 2021. In 47 games from May 7 through the end of June, Ohtani put up a .284/.379/.580 slash with 13 dingers. Meanwhile, he looks better than ever on the mound, recording a 2.68 ERA and a 5.94 K/BB ratio in 74 innings.


Alvarez: Although Alvarez didn’t make his MLB debut until June 2019, he went on to win the AL Rookie of the Year unanimously that season after recording 27 homers and a 173 OPS+, tying him with José Abreu for the highest AL/NL rookie-season OPS+ in the modern era (since 1900). He also was named the 2021 ALCS MVP after hitting .522 (12-for-23) with six RBIs in the Astros' six-game series win over the Red Sox.

Ohtani: In addition to a long list of rare (and often unprecedented) accomplishments, Ohtani has won an AL Rookie of the Year Award and was named the 2021 AL MVP unanimously. His awe-inspiring 2021 season also earned him a Silver Slugger Award, and he was voted the All-MLB First Team DH and one of the Second Team starting pitchers.


Alvarez: This would be Alvarez’s first All-Star nod, as he debuted too late in 2019 to receive serious All-Star consideration and saw Ohtani, J.D. Martinez and Nelson Cruz all make the AL team as designated hitters in 2021, leaving him without a spot. (There was no All-Star Game in 2020, and Alvarez missed most of the shortened season anyway while recovering from multiple knee surgeries.)

Ohtani: After becoming the first player to be selected to an All-Star roster as both a pitcher and a position player, Ohtani made more history at the 2021 Midsummer Classic itself when he started the game on the mound and also led off for the AL. It was all part of a busy couple of days in Denver for Ohtani, who participated in the Home Run Derby as well.


Alvarez: Air Yordan isn’t flashy, but who doesn't like watching big dudes hit the ball really far? Earlier this season, he mashed a pair of taters a combined 913 feet in a single game at the Coliseum in Oakland. That's more than three football fields' worth of distance.

Ohtani: Calling him a video-game character might even be underselling his impact, considering two-way players didn’t even exist in MLB The Show until Ohtani came along and forced the developers to rewrite the code. He’s a joy to watch, whether he’s hitting 119 mph rockets, throwing 101 mph fastballs or playing pranks on opposing fans. He even steals bases. This guy can truly do it all, and he's probably the measuring stick when it comes to fun players across the sport.