2011 MLB All-Star Game Ballots: National League Vote Totals
Monday June 13, 2011
MLB reports: The MLB All-Star Game is coming up on July 12th from Phoenix, Arizona. With home field advantage on the line, fans literally start debating in April who should appear as the “best of the best” representatives for each league. With the American League dominating the All-Star game for so many years, I decided to start with the NL and find out who are the current vote leaders. Looking at the fan votes, the arguments center on whether the most deserving or most popular players end up being voted in. Some people question on whether first-half stats weigh too much in the voting, as the previous year’s body of work should possibly be factored in more. Home parks are also considered, given that teams that have high attendance rates will often see sharp spikes in All-Star Game votes for its players. Let’s take a look at the NL vote totals as of today to consider if the fans are getting it right:
Brian McCann, Braves: 1,646,822
Yadier Molina, Cardinals: 1,345,260
Buster Posey, Giants: 1,309,521
Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers: 807,588
Carlos Ruiz, Phillies: 797,450
Verdict: McCann is the best catcher in the NL, if not all of baseball. His numbers have been consistently there throughout the years and 2011 has been no different. Bravo to the fans, they scored well in the first position reviewed. Posey, despite his season ending surgery, is still sitting at 3rd. Surprising is that Lucroy is in 4th place, showing that Brewers fans know how to vote for their own. With such a void of quality catchers behind McCann and Molina though, it is apparent based on the vote totals that the NL catching situation needs an influx of new talent soon.
Albert Pujols, Cardinals: 2,081,590
Joey Votto, Reds: 1,773,348
Prince Fielder, Brewers: 1,371,296
Ryan Howard, Phillies: 1,109,487
Freddie Freeman, Braves: 457,926
Verdict: Always the most debated position, 2011 is no different for the NL first basemen. Albert Pujols is the 2nd highest vote getting in the NL and based on his past track history, deserves it. Many others at his position have had stronger seasons, including Votto and Fielder. Based on numbers alone, including this year and 2010, Votto should be leading the votes at first base and should have the highest totals of any player overall in the NL. This vote shows how much the All-Star Game is a popularity contest, as Fielder is over 700k votes behind Pujols at this point. Albert Pujols is a solid player and an All-Star, but not the best player at his position at this point in his career. Votto’s time will come, but not this year according to the fan. Thumbs down from this analyst.
Brandon Phillips, Reds: 1,754,872
Rickie Weeks, Brewers: 1,461,383
Chase Utley, Phillies: 1,281,190
Dan Uggla, Braves: 833,610
Freddy Sanchez, Giants: 791,457
Verdict: The best way that I can describe the second base vote situation is a “mess”. Utley has been injured for most of the year, Uggla has slumped all year and Sanchez is injured again, likely gone for the year. Yet these three players consist 3/5 of the top vote getting at second base. Phillips and Weeks are neck-in-neck for top spot. Based on numbers alone, I think Weeks should have a higher total. But a strong case can be made for Brandon Phillips, who has been very consistent for years. Again a fairly feeble crop of players overall to choose from, but the fans did not make a bad choice with their top two choices. One thumb up here as Phillips is a good choice, but not the best selection.
Placido Polanco, Phillies: 1,822,129
Chipper Jones, Braves: 1,197,332
Pablo Sandoval, Giants: 1,029,380
David Wright, Mets: 934,636
Scott Rolen, Reds: 824,656
Verdict: One word: huh? Is the NL third base crop this weak? I hate…no, loathe this top-five list. Between slumping and injured players, I don’t see an all-star in the bunch. But with Zimmerman injured, Aramis slowing down, Alvarez developing…there really isn’t much to choose from here. Pick your poison in this case but based on track history alone, I could have seen Wright easily taken here. Polanco is on top mainly based on Philadelphia Popularity. While a .300 average is nice, Polanco is steady but not a superstar. The All-Star Game is meant for the games elite players and Placido is not it. Another thumbs down.
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: 1,828,509
Jose Reyes, Mets: 1,241,553
Jimmy Rollins, Phillies: 999,537
Alex Gonzalez, Braves: 744,786
Stephen Drew, D-backs: 639,204
Verdict: An extremely difficult decision for the fans to choose their NL starting shortstop. Jose Reyes has been one of the best players in baseball this year, but has battled injuries and inconsistency for the last couple of seasons. Troy Tulowitzki on the other hand has been one of the steadiest shortstops in the game, when healthy. Tulo has shown better health and far better consistency than Reyes and deserves the nod in the category. Kudos to the fans. Kudos.
Ryan Braun, Brewers: 2,230,505
Lance Berkman, Cardinals: 1,878,314
Matt Holliday, Cardinals: 1,855,416
Andre Ethier, Dodgers: 1,468,537
Matt Kemp, Dodgers: 1,372,804
Jay Bruce, Reds: 1,201,224
Shane Victorino, Phillies: 1,001,749
Jason Heyward, Braves: 883,068
Carlos Beltran, Mets: 875,339
Justin Upton, D-backs: 719,937
Raul Ibanez, Phillies: 712,577
Martin Prado, Braves: 676,791
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies: 674,282
Corey Hart, Brewers: 652,737
Alfonso Soriano, Cubs: 649,093
Verdict: The criteria for All-Star voting has its greatest upheaval in the last position: the outfield. Lance Berkman, the 2nd highest recipient of votes in the position has been one of the best hitters in the NL for years. But last year Berkman had some very pedestrian numbers, to the point that some questioned how much he had left in the tank. The same goes with Carlos Beltran at #9, who was injured for so long that many expected him to never return. While Beltran has displayed a strong comeback, it is debatable if he is worthy of being an all-star. Matt Holliday has been an excellent player for years, but missed much of the 2011 campaign with an appendectomy. Yet Holliday sits as the #3 vote getting in the NL outfield voting. Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp have both excelled this year in Los Angeles, yet are only the #4 and #5 vote getter. Having Ryan Braun at the top spot is undisputable. The man has done it for years and deserves to be the king of the castle. I may not agree but respect Berkman getting a starting spot. But Matt Kemp should be starting in Arizona and is not even the highest vote getter on his own team in the outfield. Two thumbs up for Braun, one thumb up for Berkman and two thumbs down for Holliday. Digging further, the level of votes for the often-injured Heyward, decent Victorino and declining Ibanez are signs of voting popularity by the fans, not a reward for production by the players.
Overall, we found that the fans made decent selections in voting for its NL all-stars. But with better options on the board, it appears that in too many cases the local hero won out over more deserving players. Also, the 2011 statistics often weighed heavily in favor of the voting, ahead of the total body of work of a player including the previous year’s worth of statistics. Looking at the current vote leaders in the National League, I would give one thumb up and the other thumb down. In tomorrow’s edition of the Reports, we will review the American League Vote totals and analyze the projected All-Star Game starters. All coming up, stay tuned!
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Posted on June 14, 2011, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged allstar, baseball, berkman, braun, braves, brewers, cardinals, holliday, mccann, mlb, phillies, phillips, polanco, pujols, red, rockies, tulowitzki. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.