Red Sox lacking support in latest batch of All-Star voting results
By Sean Penney
The Boston Red Sox surprisingly haven’t fared well in the 2019 MLB All-Star voting despite boasting several worthy candidates.
The Boston Red Sox have a star-studded roster but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the latest batch of ballot results for the MLB All-Star Game.
MLB is implementing a new selection process this year. The traditional ballots made up of club-nominated players is now considered the Primary Round. The top three at each position (top nine for outfielders) will then advance to an election round where fans can vote in the All-Star Game starters from those groups.
Designated Hitter J.D. Martinez is the only member of the Red Sox leading his position on the ballot. His team-leading 16 home runs and a .936 OPS that ranks fifth in the American League makes him a virtual lock to run away with the votes at a thin position.
Mookie Betts is the only other Red Sox position player currently ranked high enough to advance to the election round. Most would have expected the reigning MVP to be higher than fifth on the ballot, a placement that doesn’t bode well for his chances to start in the Midsummer Classic. Betts has seen his offensive production fall off sharply from last year but he remains an elite five-tool player who ranks 8th among AL outfielders with 2.0 WAR, per FanGraphs.
The rest of Boston’s position players will need more support from their fans if they are going to advance to the next round.
Rafael Devers is having a career year hitting .306/.362/.502. He leads AL third baseman with 52 RBI and he ranks third at the position with 2.2 fWAR. That apparently only gets him as high as fourth on the ballot at his position. Maybe fans are suddenly paying more attention to defense?
Christian Vazquez is having a strong season at the plate, hitting .290 with a .802 OPS, while also providing solid defense at the catcher position. It’s an encouraging bounce-back year but hardly All-Star worthy. He’s fifth among AL catchers and unlikely to crack the top-three before the voting period ends.
The biggest snub on the ballot is Xander Bogaerts, who ranks outside the top-five shortstops despite leading the position with 3.3 fWAR and 47 RBI. He’s also second at the position with 14 home runs and a .387 wOBA. Shortstop is a loaded position in the AL with plenty of competition for the starting spot but for Bogaerts to be outside of consideration for the election round is baffling.
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You would be hard-pressed to make a case for any of the other Red Sox position players. Mitch Moreland was on his way to leading a weak first base position but he’s missed too much time with a quad injury and his .225 batting average has casual fans overlooking him.
Michael Chavis came crashing back to Earth following the scorching start to his career. He’s starting to pick it back up again but his numbers aren’t in All-Star territory yet.
Andrew Benintendi just missed the cut on last year’s Final Vote ballot and seemed poised to take the next step to lock in an All-Star spot in 2019. Instead, he’s taken a step backwards, barely cracking the top-20 among AL outfielders with 1.2 fWAR.
At the moment, it appears Martinez and Betts will be the only Red Sox players advancing to the election round. Voting for the primary round ends on June 21 at 4:00 p.m. so time is running out to support the rest of the team’s position players. A late push can help get Devers into the next round. Bogaerts has an uphill battle to claim a spot but he certainly deserves it.
It’s not too late! Head on over to MLB.com and cast your vote for your favorite Red Sox players. A disappointing start to the season may have some frustrated fans hesitant to be supportive but come on – this is the reigning World Series champions! They deserve more than an All-Star or two but they’ll need your help to get there!