Every season, since the start of this championship window that began for the Houston Astros in 2017, the All Star roster portion of the season has been highly relevant, with at least half a dozen Astros routinely in the call for roster through midsummer classic. This season is no different. However, the way the starters are selected for the game is slightly different.
The fans are still voting for the players in the starting position – players and the commissioner’s office select pitchers and reserves – but it’s in two phases. The first phase is designed to reduce each position to a two-player run-off (six-player run-off for the three outfield spots). Voting started a few days ago and we got our first update this week on how things are going with the first voting phase closing on June 30.
And as usual the Astros are very relevant. This is the current state of the All Star voting:
Altuve and Alvarez are leading All-Star voters in their positions in AL pic.twitter.com/saRJLd1aG1
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) June 21, 2022
Okay, here’s what you need to know:
Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez are on track to start for the AL
Listening to the social media echoes, you might think Jose Altuve is the ultimate baseball villain, despite not participating in the Astros scam in 2017. as an echo chamber for an enraged swath of society, Altuve leads all second basemen by nearly 200,000 votes. Meanwhile, Alvarez, who has skyrocketed in the league’s MVP talk, leads Shohei Ohtani, the reigning AL MVP, by nearly 300,000 votes. Unless voters for the remaining players in that position make a concerted effort to vote for the Astros opposition in the second round, Altuve should start in his eighth All Star Game and Alvarez in his first. Bonus points if one or both boys participate in the Monday night home runerby!
Other Astros are doing well, but not well enough
Each of the remaining Astros are all within a respectable screaming distance of the leaders in their positions, but it would take a miracle for any of them to make it into a run two to be selected as the starter. Here’s the summary of the non-Altuve, non-Yordan Astros and where they stand:
CATCHER: Martin Maldonado, 4th place
FIRST BASE: Yuli Gurriel, 5th Place
SHORT STOP: Jeremy Pena, 4th place
THIRD BASE: Alex Bregman, 5th Place
OUTER FIELD: Michael Brantley, 9th place; Kyle Tucker, 10th place; Chas McCormick, 14th place
Interesting All Star Storylines for Some Former Astros
The most interesting of the current Astros, in terms of where they stand in the All Star voting, is clearly rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena, who has been everything the Astros could have hoped for and more in his replacement of Carlos Correa, moving on to the Minnesota Twins in free agency in March. Ironically, Pena’s 4th place in a charged shortstop position is TWO PLACES HIGHER than Carlos Correa’s! Correa is currently in 6th place in the voting. Other former Astros appearing on the ballots:
CATCHER: Max Stassi, LAA, 8th Place
SHORT STOP: Carlos Correa, MIN, 6th place
DESIGNATED HITTER: JD Martinez, BOS, 3rd Place
OUTER FIELD: George Springer, TOR, 3rd Place; Teoscar Hernandez, TOR, 8th place
Then there is the pitching staff
As previously mentioned, the pitching staff will be selected by a vote of the players with input from the commissioner’s office. Right now, despite his worst performance of the season last Saturday, Justin Verlander has a good chance of starting in the All Star Game. He is a lock to make the pitching staff. Framber Valdez is also in the mix to create the game. The Astros have the best bullpen in baseball, so a representative from that group might be appropriate. Probably a long shot, but the most deserved is probably Ryne Stanek, who is in the middle of an 18 consecutive scoreless series of innings and has a 0.75 ERA.
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