April is almost over and that can only mean one thing: The MLB All-Star Game is right around the corner! News flash: We’re actually not at all close to the midpoint of the Major League Baseball season (22 games in, 140 to go), but MLB unveiled its All-Star ballot yesterday, thus launching the 2013 campaign.
It’s never too early to conjecture about players whose statistics are bound to change in the next month and a half, but I’ll indulge.
Aside from the Buster Poseys and Miguel Cabreras of the world, who practically clinch a spot before the season, the 2013 season has thus far taken notice of some new All-Star contenders.
Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis could punch his first ticket. He’s sporting a .356 average, a figure 100 points above his career average. This could be a fluke or his five years of experience paying off. But with all the same AL East favorites usually clogging the ballots, a new face is more than welcome.
Mike Napoli, Joe Mauer and Matt Wieters are always favorites for catcher. On a revitalized Blue Jays team however, J.P. Arencibia is slowly inching his way into the picture. He leads the AL in home runs and has a .308 batting average over the past week.
An All-Star Futures Game participant, rookie Jean Segura of the Brewers might see a real All-Star Game in his future. He’s among the top five NL hitters in batting average, alongside some other possible candidates in Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt and Pittsburgh’s Starling Marte. Goldschmidt was recently booed by the Giants after lighting up some of their aces, while Marte is known for knocking the first pitch of his first career at-bat out of the park.
Something else to consider is that fans always tend to count the number of players that represent each team. It’s a bit sad when some teams only send out one guy you’ve never heard of, but quite possibly even sadder to watch a team send out half its starting lineup. Expect to see some of the same guys that are always in the All-Star dugout, but this time in different uniforms.
Although the cream generally rises to the top, the final lineups are dictated by the fans. Last year, 40.2 million ballots were cast, proving that there is amply opportunity for fans to stack teams with established crowd-pleasers and underperforming household names. The teams with the largest fan bases can ultimately monopolize the voting.
The race is off, so cast your vote or start crafting a slogan for your favorite under-the-radar slugger. Voting ends July 4. Don’t panic. There’s plenty of time.