The fans have spoken. In the first round of Major League Baseball All-Star balloting updates, it wasn’t Mike Trout or José Altuve or Aaron Judge who led the way in voting. It was Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts.
Betts has received 748,872 votes early on. That gave him a slight edge on Altuve, and a nice lead on Trout — who trails Betts by more than 100,000 votes.
And here is the full list of AL All-Star vote-getters: pic.twitter.com/QiP8y45znz
— Yahoo Sports MLB (@MLByahoosports) June 12, 2018
Why is it surprising?
Let’s get this out of the way right now: It’s surprising because you expect Trout and Altuve to dominate the voting. They have long track records of success in the majors and have done well in All-Star voting before. Judge doesn’t have the track record, but he took the league by storm last season, so he was also a candidate to lead the way.
We’re not surprised when looking at Betts’ performance. The 25-year-old Betts has hit .359/.437/.750 to start the season. Trout only nudges him out in on-base percentage right now, and by a slim margin. Betts is more than deserving of his All-Star votes based on what he’s done thus far.
A common complaint about All-Star voting is that it’s a popularity contest. Players from the most popular teams tend do well in voting because they have the largest number of fans to vote for them. While Boston is a large, popular and devoted fanbase, you can’t use that excuse here. Betts isn’t getting votes because he plays in Boston. He’s getting votes because he’s good.
There’s still time
Betts might be leading the way now, but that may not continue. This was just the first of three All-Star balloting updates the league will issue as the game approaches. The final updates will happen June 25 and June 26.
Will Betts still be leading the way by then? We wouldn’t bet against it, but we wouldn’t doubt Houston Astros fans either. This should be a nice rallying cry for them.
Over on the NL side
The National League vote totals were released Monday, and the Atlanta Braves lead the way there. Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies and Nick Markakis are all currently in starting spots, and pretty much every other member of the Braves roster is near the top of the voting at their positions.
Freeman is the top vote-getter in the NL with 633,342 votes. Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado trails him by 100,000 votes for that honor in the NL. They both have some work to do to catch Betts as the overall leader.
Here are the full NL All-Star standings: pic.twitter.com/mrve9Dkplc
— Yahoo Sports MLB (@MLByahoosports) June 11, 2018
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