The All-Star game starters for both leagues were announced on July 2nd. The fans are the ones that get to vote on the All-Star starters, with the AL and NL managers filling out the reserves and the pitching staff. While it is a fun little gimmick that the MLB has here by letting the fans vote for the starters, it also is a flawed system that leads to undeserving or injured players making it as starters. Fanbases from each team cram their ballots with their biased voting, choosing their favorite players on their favorite teams instead of who deserves it the most. That's how we end up with players making the starting lineup that shouldn't actually be there, this especially happens to players in big market cities since the bigger the fanbase means the more votes they receive.
The All-Star fan voting is here and we will take a look here and see what the fans got right and what they got wrong. Here is the what the All-Star lineups in each league should look like:
CATCHER - Who made it: Salvador Perez
Who should have made it: Gary Sanchez
1ST BASE - Who made it: Justin Smoak
Who should have made it: Justin Smoak
This is a position that the fans couldn't go wrong here, Justin Smoak or Yonder Alonso would have both been perfect choices. They are nearly identical, Smoak just has a few more HR's, RBI's and batting average, so while either wouldn't have been an issue, Smoak deserved it just a little bit more.
2ND BASE - Who made it: Jose Altuve
Who should have made it: Jose Altuve
This was a simple and easy call here, no other 2B should really be in discussion here.
SHORTSTOP - Who made it: Carlos Correa
Who should have made it: Carlos Correa
The play at SS in the AL is very good with many deserving players, but Carlos Correa was the correct choice. Correa leads all AL shortstops in every major statistical batting category and is a MVP candidate, he has to be the starting SS for this team.
Who should have made it: Jose Ramirez
While Maguel Sano and Mike Moustakas are worthy players and have more HR's than Ramirez, the Cleveland Indians 3B is having the better season. Despite the HR numbers favoring those 2, Ramirez still leads them in slugging % and OPS, and his batting average of .330 is nearly .040 points higher than any other 3B.
OUTFIELD - Who made it: Aaron Judge, Mike Trout (replaced by Mookie Betts), George Springer
Who should have made it: Aaron Judge, George Springer, Avisail Garcia
Aaron Judge is the current MVP of the AL and running away with the award, and George Springer is putting together a great season so far. Both are correct picks by the fans and deserve to start, the selection of Trout is where I have an issue though. Had Trout been healthy and playing this game, then it looked as though he would easily make the starting lineup. But Trout has not played since May 28th and his timetable for return was after the all-star game, yet fans voted for him anyway. So Trout gets voted in as a starter even though he's been injured for a month and not able to play in that game, which then gets doubled down as a bad decision when Mookie Betts is named his replacement.
While it's not egregious that Betts made it, he does have more doubles, home runs, walks and stolen bases than Garcia so I can see where the decision is coming from. But Garcia still has a better batting average, OBP, slugging% and OPS than Betts, so even if Betts is hitting for more power and walking more often, he still is statistically behind Garcia in those categories. When in doubt, always go with the guy that gets on base more and Garcia is that guy.
CATCHER - Who made it: Buster Posey
Who should have made it: Buster Posey
The bright spot on a last place San Francisco Giants team, the fans were right in voting Posey as the starter. There's no catcher that's even close to him this year, Yasmani Grandal is the only one that is matching his home run power but everything else is Posey in a landslide.
Who should have made it: Paul Goldschmidt
This was a close call, but Paul Goldschmidt is currently the NL MVP and cannot be left out of the starting lineup. Their home runs and batting averages are practically identical so going to the tiebreaker of OBP, OPS and slugging and it all favors Goldschmidt. He hits just as many HR's and bats for the same average, but gets on base more frequently, by drawing walks and has 13 stolen bases compared to Zimmerman's 1. Again, it's close but Paul Goldschmidt should be the starter.
2ND BASE - Who made it: Daniel Murphy
Who should have made it: Daniel Murphy
Daniel Murphy was really the only choice at 2B here. He's far and away having the best season of any 2B in the NL, easily deserves the start in the All-Star game.
SHORTSTOP - Who made it: Zack Cozart
Who should have made it: Zack Cozart
This was a big toss up, but ultimately the fans got it right by voting Zack Cozart. It came down to Cozart or Corey Seager and the debate over traditional batting stats compared to advanced batting stats. Seager has more doubles, home runs, RBI’s and walks while Cozart has the better batting average, slg %, OBP and OPS so the argument can be made for either player depending on what someone values more. But in the end, Seager’s lead in those categories are a bit deceiving considering he’s had nearly 100 more at bats than Cozart, which means that Cozart is likely hitting for the same type of power as Seager is, but is just behind in those categories due to less at bats. With taking that into consideration, Zack Cozart was the right choice here for NL SS.
3RD BASE - Who made it: Nolan Arenado
Who should have made it: Jake Lamb or Travis Shaw
OUTFIELD - Who made it: Bryce Harper, Charlie Blackmon, Marcell Ozuna
Who should have made it: Bryce Harper, Charlie Blackmon, Cody Bellinger