Have you seen the updated vote totals for the National League All-Stars? Apparently, Phillies fans have been stuffing the ballot boxes en masse. According to mlb.com, as of June 15, seven of their eight starters rank in the top five in receiving votes at their respective positions. Only Raul Ibanez (who was hitting .250 with 4 HR and 28 RBI entering last night’s game) failed to rank in the top five, coming in at #8 among National League outfielders.
Here is where each Phillies’ position player ranks among his peers in the voting for the 2010 All-Star Game, along with each player’s vote tally and stats through Tuesday night’s games:
1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals (2,093,649 votes)
2. Ryan Howard, Phillies (941,134 votes)
3. Prince Fielder, Brewers (614,703 votes)
4. Troy Glaus, Braves (559,290 votes)
1. Chase Utley, Phillies (1,992,180 votes)
2. Martin Prado, Braves (895,458 votes)
3. Dan Uggla, Marlins (603,822 votes)
4. Rickie Weeks, Brewers (507,187 votes)
1. Placido Polanco, Phillies (933,229 votes)
2. David Wright, Mets (754,455 votes)
3. Chipper Jones, Braves (702,702 votes)
4. Casey McGehee, Brewers (657,982 votes)
1. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins (1,190,685 votes)
2. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies (992,887 votes)
3. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies (702,165 votes)
4. Jose Reyes, Mets (493,913 votes)
1. Yadier Molina, Cardinals (1,047,411 votes)
2. Brian McCann, Braves (959,033 votes)
3. Ivan Rodriguez, Nationals (805,089 votes)
4. Carlos Ruiz, Phillies (745,844 votes)
1. Ryan Braun, Brewers (1,422,598 votes)
2. Jason Heyward, Braves (1,419,753 votes)
3. Andre Ethier, Dodgers (1,348,662 votes)
4. Jayson Werth, Phillies (1,124,831 votes)
5. Shane Victorino, Phillies (1,029,700 votes)
6. Matt Holliday, Cardinals (955,411 votes)
7. Matt Kemp, Dodgers (770,145 votes)
8. Raul Ibanez, Phillies (694,911 votes)
There are 14 players in the National League who have received at least 900,000 votes. Six of them are Phillies.
Chase Utley deserves his spot at second base and Ryan Howard deserves to be second behind Albert Pujols. But how can you explain Jimmy Rollins being second in the shortstop voting with almost one million votes when he has only played in 12 games this season? Are the fans related to the voters who gave Rafael Palmeiro the 1999 Gold Glove Award at first base despite the fact that he was the Rangers’ designated hitter for all but 28 games that year? Troy Tulowitzki (.305, 17 doubles, 9 HR, 33 RBI, leads all major league shortstops with 45 runs scored) is a far more deserving candidate at shotstop than Rollins.
Mets fans should be up in arms at the vote leader for third basemen. Apparently, baseball fans believe Placido Polanco is having more of an All-Star season than David Wright. This is the same Placido Polanco that is hitting .311, with 5 HR, 23 RBI and three stolen bases. David Wright is hitting .291, with 12 HR and an NL-leading 52 RBI. He also leads all NL third basemen in stolen bases with 11. No other National League third baseman has more than five.
Also, how does Carlos Ruiz have more votes at the catcher position than Rod Barajas? These are Ruiz’s numbers (.267, six doubles, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 14 runs scored) compared to Barajas’ numbers (.257, 10 doubles, 11 HR, 30 RBI, 26 runs scored). Barajas leads all National League catchers in homers and RBI and is in the top five in doubles and runs scored. Ruiz isn’t even in the top ten in homers, RBI, doubles and runs scored.
Here’s one final argument for Barajas that should open some eyes among voters. As noted above, Ruiz’s stats for the entire season, regardless of opponent are as follows: (.267, six doubles, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 14 runs scored). These are Barajas’ numbers against ONLY divisional rivals: (.341, nine doubles, 6 HR, 19 RBI, 17 runs scored). Barajas’ cumulative numbers against the teams in his own division are better than Ruiz’s numbers against EVERY TEAM on the Phillies’ schedule. Yet somehow, Ruiz appears to be the more worthy candidate if you look solely at the All-Star voting.
The way fans have stuffed the ballot boxes and online voting is reminiscent of something that happened more than half a century ago.
In 1957, fans of the Cincinnati Reds went on an All-Star voting frenzy. Seven of the eight position players voted by fans to start the All-Star Game were members of the Reds. Major League Baseball conducted an investigation of where the votes were being cast and found out that more than half the votes came from Cincinnati.
Commissioner Ford Frick decided to replace two of Cincinnati’s players who were voted to start the All-Star Game with the more worthy Willie Mays and Henry Aaron. In addition to replacing Cincinnati’s players, Frick decided that fans were no longer going to vote for who they wanted to start in the Midsummer Classic. That privilege was given to managers, coaches and players. This rule stayed in effect until voting privileges were given back to the fans in 1970.
Should Bud Selig step in whenever fans of one particular team stuff the ballot boxes and online voting? I’m not sure that should happen. But something must be done to prevent scenarios that would send players to the All-Star Game who have spent the majority of the season on the DL (see Jimmy Rollins) or players who are barely registering on the radar (see Carlos Ruiz).
The Midsummer Classic should be about the best players in baseball, not whose fans can click on their mouse the fastest. Let’s send the right players to the All-Star Game!