Friday, July 2, 2021

The 2021 All-Star Starters, or The Bandwagoners Have Spoken


I've learned that when you let America choose things, sometimes they don't always choose correctly. 

...and yes, I see the irony of me posting that underneath a Blue Jays player the day after Canada day. Settle down, Mississauga, I'm not leaving you out of this one either. 

The initial experiment to whittle the All Star Game ballots down to three and let the fans revote on the leaders from there went well enough in 2019, and a lot of the time the final results corresponded with how the initial vote tally went. But...this year, there was some dissonance. Things changed kind of drastically in some cases, leading to some figures that I wasn't quite prepared for. 

So, as we wait for EPSN to trot out the rest of the rosters Sunday night, read slowly and strategically by a coked up Tim Kurkjian, I figured I'd analyze the stuff we do know, and pit them against the initial ballot leaders, and the choice I honestly would have gone with.


Catcher: Buster Posey
Regulation Leader: Buster Posey
Who would I have gone with?: I mean, I voted for Realmuto a bunch of times thanks to my Philly bias, but he was never gonna win out. 

1st Base: Freddie Freeman
Regulation Leader: Max Muncy. 
Who would I have gone with?: Muncy probably. Freddie Freeman's bandwagoner win seems more like a reflection of his 2020 MVP season than anything he's doing currently. He is hot, but he got hot very late, and some people, like Muncy, Anthony Rizzo and Rhys Hoskins, have been hot for longer stretches. You'll also notice that this MVP bandwagoning didn't work for the AL MVP from last year, as we'll get to.

2nd Base: Adam Frazier
Regulation Leader: Ozzie Albies
Who would I have gone with?: Jean Segura. This race surprised me, because, even taking my Philly bias out of it, Segura was outdoing most of the leaders, and deserved some merit for it. Adam Frazier is a phenomenal player having a great season, but...I never thought the All Star voters would actually recognize him for it. I was just thinking he'd be in as a backup. I'm actually cool with this pick, but it's completely irrational as far as an All Star pick is concerned. 

Shortstop: Fernando Tatis Jr.
Regulation Leader: Fernando Tatis Jr.
Who would I have gone with? Tatis. This was a foregone conclusion.

Third Base: Nolan Arenado
Regulation Leader: Kris Bryant
Who Would I Have Gone With: Bryant, cause he's having an outrageous season and should have been rewarded for it, despite missing brief time and having two excellent backup third basemen. Yes, Arenado is the big name, and the prospect of him starting in Colorado is not lost on me. But I just think Bryant has been better this year.

Outfield: Ronald Acuna, Jesse Winker, Nick Castellanos
Regulation Leaders: Ronald Acuna, Jesse Winker, Nick Castellanos
Who Would I Have Gone With: My Philly bias always voted for Harper over Winker in this matchup, but this is pretty spot-on. Acuna for the glamour, Winker and Castellanos cause they're hitting like crazy. 

Who Would I Pick for NL DH?: Bryce Harper. Okay, I'll do a sensible one for non-Philly people. Maybe someone like Anthony Rizzo or Kyle Schwarber. Probably the latter at this rate. 


Catcher: Salvador Perez
Regulation Leader: Salvador Perez
Who Would I Have Gone With?: Perez, cause he's still the best catcher in the AL, and because there was no way Martin Maldonado was gonna get it. Or Sanchez.

1st Base: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Regulation Leader: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Who Would I Have Gone With?: Vlad Jr. Come on now. 

2nd Base: Marcus Semien
Regulation Leader: Marcus Semien
Who Would I Have Gone With?: D.J. LeMahieu, cause I'm a sap and wanted some Yankees to get in here. Semien is a very valid pick though.

Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts
Regulation Leader: Xander Bogaerts
Who Would I Have Gone With?: Again, I voted for Torres, cause New York, but I think Tim Anderson, J.P. Crawford or Isiah Kiner Falefa would have been great choices too. Not to knock Bogaerts, cause he's doing great this year, but...I've gotta be the contrarian.

Third Base: Rafael Devers
Regulation Leader: Rafael Devers
Who Would I Have Gone With?: Honestly I was figuring Jose Ramirez would do better than he did. Somehow he didn't make the Top 3. But within the Top 3, I'd have also thrown some votes Moncada's way. To counteract the inevitable [Devers was a shoo-in, guys].

Outfield: Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Teoscar Hernandez
Regulation Leaders: Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Byron Buxton
Who Would I Have Gone With?: Okay, these three I have the most troubles with. Buxton missed the final vote because he's been injured, but how do you explain Trout staying in there despite still being on the 60-day? Hernandez probably wasn't the most obvious choice here, and I would have rather seen Cedric Mullins or Adolis Garcia in there. Judge is the one I should be okay with, because thank the gods a Yankee makes it, but even I'll admit he's not having the most pristine of seasons. Also, someone is gonna have to replace Trout, and knowing how these rosters work, it's probably gonna be a disappointment [Michael Brantley, I suppose]. 

DH: Shohei Ohtani
Regulation Leader: Shohei Ohtani
Who Would I Have Gone With?: I threw Stanton some votes back there, but it was never not gonna be Ohtani. 

Expect a similar rundown Sunday night for the other rosters. Hopefully I'll be in a good mood then. 


  1. See, I think absolutely Freeman should start. He was last year's MVP I've never understood why people think that it should be all based on the beginning of the current season and not take into account the previous season--or, at least, the part of the previous season after the All-Star Game--but it makes especially little sense this year since their was no ASG last year. I probably would have gone with Abreu, too, but Vlad Jr. is doing so well that it's understandable.

  2. With my Toronto bias in place - I see no problem with the voting this year. I kid - Hernandez wouldn't have even necessarily been my pick - but I am happy for him regardless.

  3. I was pretty pumped to see Buster get the starting nod. I can't stand the Giants... but I quietly root for him whenever he's not playing the A's or Padres.