MLB All-Star Game voting is flawed. First, fans can vote for the game two months before they have all the information needed to make the correct choices. Second, many fans don't vote for who they think is the qualified choice, but rather choose their favorites.
So, yes, Derek Jeter and his 86 wRC+ will be starting for the American League at shortstop. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. Jeter should be there in his final year, but technically the best players are not always voted in. We know the system is flawed, but it's still fun for fans because this is the time of the year where they have a say.
You can already vote online, or just find the ballots in your nearby MLB or MiLB ballpark.
Now let's all be real. When we get our hands or mouse on a ballot ,we will likely at least do one ballot where we vote all Astros. Even if one of the candidates has more at-bats at AAA than the big leagues (we'll get to that in a sec). And when I say we, I mean you the readers and commenters, and also the writers of TCB. We are unashamed homers too.
But for every 30-year old fan acting like an kid looking for the word "Astros" everywhere on the ballot, there are the well-educated baseball fans who feel they must vote for the deserving candidate.
So let's say we're going to be Astros fanboys, but we also know a lot about the success of other MLB players. How ridiculous is it to vote for all Astros this year? Remember it is currently May 21 and voting goes on until July 3. There is a lot of time for the candidates to take their campaign to the next level.
Or the candidates could have their seasons go like this:
Time to break it down.
Astros first base candidate: Jesus Guzman
Not a good start here. First of all, Guzman doesn't have enough at-bats to even qualify for the MLB league leaders. Guzman has played almost exclusively against left handed pitching, slashing .209/.269/.314 with two home runs and four RBI. Guzman's platoon-mate, Marc Krauss, actually has eight more plate appearances. But, yeah, you go ahead and feel like a true baseball fan and vote for this lefty-killer. You'll want him in the lineup if the NL starts Kershaw!
Astros second base candidate: Jose Altuve
Alright, here we go. Altuve leads all AL 2B with 61 hits and 15 stolen bases. He's second with 15 doubles, third in on-base percentage (.355) and is second in strikeout percentage (8.1%) heading into Wednesday night's game with the Angels. He has been brilliant in the leadoff spot for the Astros, htting .331 as the first batter in the Houston lineup. Although the advanced metrics won't tell you so, Altuve has been very good at second base this season.
But there is competition. The Twins' Brian Dozier has 11 home runs and 25 RBI - both tops of AL 2B. Howie Kendrick has a .388 OBP, Ian Kinsler and Robinson Cano are both hitting over .315, while Ben Zobrist and Dustin Pedroia have a higher WAR than Altuve.
But the moral of the story here is Altuve undoubtedly deserves votes and as an Astros fan you should feel no shame in punching his ticket.
Astros shortstop candidate: Jonathan Villar
The good: Villar's five home runs and .190 ISO are second among AL shortstops.
The bad: a 30.7 strikeout percentage and a .279 on-base percentage.
Villar's breakout start has been slowed to a halt following as he has gone 6-for-38 with no extra-base hits over the last two weeks.So far, it's been all Alexi Ramirez at this position with his six homers and 32 RBIs.
If we did this exercise a few weeks ago, Villar easily would have deserved attention from the voters, but now Astros fans are beginning to reach with a vote for Villar.
Astros third base candidate: Matt Dominguez
Only Evan Longoria has appeared in more games at third base this year than Matty D. Dominguez' year has been basically the opposite of Villar. Following an April that saw Dominguez slash .231/.304/.407, he has turned it on in May with a .296/.329/.479 line. Matty D currently has a .282 BABIP as well, so this could get even better for him.
With that being said, Josh Donaldson and Yangervis Solarte both have a 141 wRC+ - 34 points higher than Dominguez. (Side rant, quick. Really?! Solarte is slashing .312/.384/.493 as A-Rod's replacement?! Good for him, I guess.)
Those two are a head above the rest of the AL 3B, but Dominguez is as good as anyone else. You're wrong if you vote for Dominguez, but you should be able to sleep at night with your choice. Keep hitting, Matty D.
Astros catcher candidate: Jason Castro
We get around to the Astros lone All-Star from last season, who has slightly disappointed in 2014. But Castro still should be in the mix for the spot. Brian McCann will likely get the spot because of his name and he's a Yankee despite him being dreadful so far.
Castro is one of only two AL backstops who have over 150 plate appearances, and he's beginning to come around. He is tied for the lead among AL catchers with six home runs and is second with 23 RBI. Derek Norris has absolutely raked in only 115 plate appearances due to injury for the A's and Yan Gomes has had a solid year for the Indians, but Castro is certainly a viable option.
Let's see everybody else catch up to the playing time of Castro and see where there at. Right now, go ahead and check Jason's box.
Astros designated hitter candidate: Chris Carter
He has no business being in the All-Star game. We don't even need to get into it.
A TROGDOR home run derby campaign needs to be started. I still fall in love every time I see him swing with what appears to be no effort, and then hits the ball 450 feet. Plus, it would be hilarious if he happened to whiff on a BP fastball during the derby.
Astros outfield candidates: Robbie Grossman, L.J. Hoes and Dexter Fowler
Oh, Robbie. 55 plate appearances with the Astros and 137 trips to the dish with AAA Oklahoma City. It's not like Hoes has a chance either, but Grossman being voted into the All-Star Game as a AAA outfielder would be amazing.
Fowler on the other hand would make it if sabermetricians were the only ones voting. The dude is getting on base at a .470 clip in the month of May. That absurd mark has pushed Fowler's season OBP to .380, fourth among AL outfielders. His three home runs and 13 aren't attention grabbing, but if you want to see someone have a good at-bat and maybe draw a hard-fought walk in the All-Star game, then Fowler is the guy for you!
Go ahead and vote Fowler. You're good. But if you vote Grossman and/or Hoes I don't have an argument to back you up. Unless you're trying to start the grass roots campaign to put a AAA player in the All-Star. In that case, let me know.
Pitchers aren't voted in, but if Dallas Keuchel isn't on the team, heads will roll (on Twitter).
By my count, Astros fans can vote for three Astros (Altuve, Fowler and Castro) right now and have a pretty good argument about it. Otherwise, you're shamelessly voting the Astros because you're the biggest and best fan.
And there's nothing wrong with that.