Pickard’s 2021 MLB All-Star Game Ballot 1.0

Pickard’s 2021 MLB All-Star Game Ballot 1.0

by June 9, 2021 0 comments

Believe it or not, the 2021 MLB season is already two months old. The arrangement of the league is starting to take shape as several teams and players emerge as the best of the best. Many of these players will be recognized at the annual All-Star Game in Denver, Co., on July 13. The two teams, managed by Kevin Cash and Dave Roberts, will consist of the league’s brightest stars as voted on by the MLB community.

Here, I’ll dive into my first ballot of the summer. In two weeks, I will release a second version because my stance on some players might change. A third version will come out in early July after the league opens voting for starters.

Keep in mind that all stats listed below were collected after the conclusion of games on June 8.

Don’t forget to submit your own ballot here. You can vote for your favorite players five times every 24 hours.

American League

First Base — Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Guerrero has been on a roll this season and it would take an insane turn of events to take him out of the All-Star Game. He leads all of baseball with 3.5 fWAR while owning the 10th-highest walk rate (14.6 percent) and 22nd-lowest strikeout rate (15 percent) among qualified players. In 2021, his exit velocity ranks among the top one percent in baseball, xwOBA in the top two percent, and xBA and xSLG in the top three percent.

Second Base — Marcus Semien

Second base has always been an interesting position in terms of talent fluctuation. In his first year with the Jays, Semien has been truly impressive. He ranks fifth among all American League hitters in fWAR, seventh in total bases, and ninth in hits. On the basepaths, the former Oakland Athletic has stolen eight bases on eight attempts. Meanwhile, in the field, he’s turned the most double plays among all MLB second basemen.

Third Base — Rafael Devers

Devers presents an intriguing case for All-Star, and he gets my vote. The young third baseman ranks 20th in baseball with a 1.9 fWAR while leading the league in RBI (48) and extra-base hits (33). He also ranks seventh in total bases (122) and homers (15), fifth in doubles (18). He’s not perfect, of course. Errors have been a long-time concern with Devers, and he’s logged an MLB-most 10 errors at the hot corner this year. With that said, he has still shown strides defensively in addition to his clear talent at the plate.

Shortstop — Xander Bogaerts

It’s time to start talking about Bogaerts as the top shortstop in the American League and one of the best players in all of baseball. He ranks third in the American League in fWAR (2.8) and has an incredible slash line of .321/.380/.532 to this point. Of course, he’s more than just a hitter. In the field, Bogaerts has been very reliable, racking up the fifth-most assists (146) in baseball and third-most double plays turned at shortstop (36).

Outfield — Byron Buxton

If not for a hip injury he suffered in early May, Buxton would be a lock for the All-Star game and a top candidate for MVP. Instead, he’s missed the last month and the Twins have fallen to the basement of the American League Central. Through 24 games, he slashed .370/.408/.772 with nine homers and five stolen bases. He also posted 2.5 fWAR, which would rank 10th in baseball if he met the minimum playing time qualifications. The 27-year-old is also a lethal weapon in the field with incredible glovework.

Outfield — Adolis Garcia

Garcia has flown under the radar this season, in large part due to the Texas Rangers’ struggles. Still, despite spending the first month in the minors, he has posted stats that rank top-10 in all of baseball. He has 1.9 fWAR, 16 home runs, 43 RBI, and a .276/.313/.548 slash line. Defensively, he ranks first in assists in center field and possesses a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. He’s also swiped 28 bags to this point.

Outfield — Mike Trout

Mike Trout is going to be named to the All-Star Game because he is elite. And, of course, he is Mike Trout. The best player in baseball may be hurt right now without a timetable for his return, but he’s still going to garner an insane number of All-Star votes. After all, getting the nod is about more than just playing in the game itself but also a recognition of talent. It’ll also be one more selection that can be added to his eventual plaque in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Catcher — Salvador Perez

Perez continues to find himself among the best catcher in baseball, an honor that has been quite familiar for the longtime backstop. He has launched 14 homers this year, ranking ninth in all of MLB. He has the third-most putouts, fifth-most assists, and second-most double plays among catchers. Overall, his 1.2 fWAR ranks first among qualified catchers in the AL.

Designated Hitter — J.D. Martinez

This was the hardest category to vote on because, although Martinez has put up insane numbers at the plate, Shohei Ohtani has emerged as one of the faces of the league. Still, the former has been a key member of the Boston lineup, producing a .319/.387/.563 slash line with the ninth-most hits, ninth-most doubles, and 10th-most total bases in all of MLB. The race between the Red Sox slugger and the Los Angeles Angels’ two-way phenom continues to be neck-and-neck.

National League

First Base — Max Muncy

Muncy has been on a roll this year with his 2.7 fWAR ranking third among all players in the National League. He’s slashing .267/.422/.524 with an NL-most 45 walks. He’s also been flawless at first base, posting a 1.000 fielding percentage. Muncy and Guerrero have emerged as top first basemen in baseball and they will both be rewarded with All-Star selections this summer.

Second Base — Ryan McMahon

The crop of National League second basemen isn’t amazing, but it’s clear that McMahon headlines the group. He may rank 49th in total fWAR (1.3), but his dWAR ranks sixth in all of MLB (4.5). He’s appeared in all but one of the Rockies’ 61 games this year while contributing 13 home runs. His average exit velocity is among the top 11 percent in baseball while his xSLG is in the top 14 percent. He’s filled a huge role in the Colorado lineup with Nolan Arenado shipped away and Trevor Story on the injured list.

Third Base — Kris Bryant

Bryant has been incredible as of late, posting the ninth-most fWAR in all of baseball (2.6). So far, he has slashed .307/.383/.575 with 122 total bases (seventh-most in MLB) and 16 doubles (ninth-most). He’s also accrued a .361 BABIP, which checks in at sixth among all players in the National League. Bryant is a legitimate MVP contender and undoubtedly belongs in this year’s All-Star Game.

Shortstop — Fernando Tatis Jr.

One of the brightest stars in baseball, Tatis is essentially a lock for the All-Star Game at this point. Despite missing over a dozen games and committing an MLB-most 15 errors in the field, the newly-extended shortstop has posted 2.4 fWAR to this point. That would rank 10th among qualified players if Tatis himself were qualified. He has proven that he can hit (.284/.365/.654), run (13 stolen bases), and slug (17 homers), making him clearly deserving of selection to the All-Star Game.

Outfield — Ronald Acuña Jr.

As fun as players like Tatis and Bryant have been this year, Acuña has been the best player in the National League. Among qualified players in the NL, he ranks first in fWAR (3.1), first in home runs (18), first in runs scored (48), third in total bases (123), fourth in stolen bases (11), and sixth in extra-base hits (29). Miraculously, he’s made just one All-Star appearance through three-plus seasons in the Majors, though that should change this year.

Outfield — Nick Castellanos

Acuña has been elite this year and Castellanos isn’t too far behind. He has 3.0 fWAR (second in NL) and leads all of baseball with a .357 batting average. He also ranks fourth in on-base percentage (.412) and slugging percentage (.624). Castellanos has the second-most hits, second-most doubles, and third-most total bases. He also has the second-most putouts and third-most assists among National League right-fielders. There’s no question that the 29-year-old deserves to be an All-Star this year.

Outfield — Jesse Winker

Let’s keep talking about the Reds’ outfielder. Winker ranks fifth among NL players in fWAR (2.0). He’s in the 98th percentile for xBA, 97th percentile for hard-hit percentage, and 96th percentile for both xwOBA and xSLG. He’s slashing .346/.407/.654 while his batting average ranks second to only Castellanos, his outfield-mate. He hits for both contact and power, the latter of which is on display as evidenced by his 17 homers (second-most in NL).

Catcher — Buster Posey

Look out, NL West. The Giants are good and Buster Posey is back. After opting out of the 2020 season, Posey returned in 2021 and is slashing .336/.441/.577 with 10 home runs. His 2.3 fWAR ranks first in all of baseball among catchers (minimum 50 plate appearances). He’s also had an impact defensively, posting 4.1 dWAR. The six-time All-Star should get his seventh selection this year.

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Andersen is a teenage sportswriter and reporter whose articles have appeared across the Prime Time Sports Talk, Sports Illustrated Kids, FantasyPros, and SB Nation platforms. He has also received credit from RotoWorld, CBS Sports, ESPN, Bleacher Report, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, The Athletic, SB Nation, NBC Sports, NY Post, and dozens of other sports sites for his reporting work.

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