There are only two-and-a-half weeks left for fans to vote players into the All-Star Game. For the fans that only pay attention to who’s on the actual ballots, this article may not apply to you. Like the national elections, though, there’s a select group of people that take advantage of writing in the player’s names, hoping maybe their players will get the nod to be in the All-Star Game.
The write-in is a nice addition for the ballot but like American elections, they’re overall useless in electing people to office, or in this case a trip to the All-Star Game. Here, we’ll look at players from both the AL and NL that are worthy of getting voted into the Midsummer Classic via the write-in vote. In order for a player to qualify, they cannot be on the original Camping World Ballot, so don’t expect to see Aaron Judge!
1 Catcher: Max Stassi
2018 stats: 7 HR, 21 RBI, .264 AVG
The Houston Astros are in first place once again in the AL West after a perfect 10-0, ten-game road trip that concluded yesterday. The Astros took a hit when veteran catcher Brian McCann hit the disabled list at the end of May, but backup catcher Max Stassi took advantage of a golden opportunity when he was in the lineup before McCann went down. Stassi hit .340 in May with three home runs and though June got off to a rough start, in which he started the month 0 for 16, Stassi has gotten going once again, registering five hits in his last 16 at-bats in his last four games with two homers.
Perhaps a case can be made for the Astros' other catcher, Evan Gattis, but Stassi in a small sample size has done more for the Astros over the course of the year. He’s posted a .336 OBP with seven home runs and 21 RBI in his first full season and could be the starting catcher next season when McCann hits the open market.
2 First Base: Jesus Aguilar
2018 stats: 13 HR, 42 RBI, .293 AVG
Jesus Aguilar was a primary player off the bench for Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell last season but had he been on any other team, he would easily be a starter. Thanks to injuries to players like Eric Thames and Ryan Braun, Aguilar has had little trouble getting in the lineup this year. His success at the plate has been a huge credit for the Brewers success this season, with the club sitting in first place by half a game in the division.
The Brewers recently got Thames back from the disabled list but as long as Aguilar is producing, Thames and Braun will have to platoon in the outfield daily. Aguilar’s .357 OBP is second on the team among players with 100 at-bats or more and he is second to Travis Shaw on the club in home runs. It’s a shame that Aguilar isn’t on the Camping World ballot but for the fans that like to write in players, he should be the number one guy on everyone’s list to vote for at his position.
3 Second Base: Hernan Perez
2018 stats: 4 HR, 14 RBI, .273 AVG
Another Brewers bench player in Hernan Perez is making a case for fans to vote for him in the write-in portion. Perez is hitting .329 over his last 30 games and again, the Brewers are sitting in first place in the NL Central. With Perez's ability to play all parts of the field, it's hard to start him at second base. But since he's listed as a second baseman, we'll insert him here.
Perez has come into his own over the last two seasons and after a rough start to 2018, he's figuring things out at the plate again. He may not be the star player on the Brewers but every year, it seems like MLB puts a utility player similar to Perez on both rosters, like Josh Harrison or Eduardo Nunez. Perez's recent surge offensively should be noted with voting, which is why he'd be the perfect write-in player at almost any position on the field.
4 Shortstop: Adeiny Hechavarria
2018 stats: 2 HR, 16 RBI, .287 AVG
Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria has been a decent surprise this year for a club amid a rebuild. Hechavarria was traded to the Rays from the Miami Marlins last June and since joining the Rays, he’s made himself a worthy starter for the club. Hechavarria recently returned from the disabled list last week, but his .287 batting average is something the Rays should be pleased with as should fans who take advantage of the write-ins.
Hechavarria could be overachieving to an extent, especially with a month-long DL stint on his 2018 resume, but the Rays have one All-Star worthy player in all if Hechavarria doesn’t get put in the mix. With his success on the horizon now, it’d be a good time for the fans to give him some votes hoping he could make his first career All-Star Game appearance this summer.
5 Third Base: Daniel Descalso
2018 stats: 8 HR, 39 RBI, .281 AVG
In my article on why Daniel Descalso is an All-Star, I brought up his ability to help teams win while he’s with a club. Though Descalso’s been a bench player during his career, he’s given the Arizona Diamondbacks reason to put him in the starting lineup every day, just like he did at the end of last season. His .281 batting average is the best on the team for a club that’s hitting .227 overall, and his 39 RBI are the most on the team.
The Diamondbacks are sorely underachieving as a club even though they’re in first place in the NL West. With starting pitcher Patrick Corbin’s struggles becoming more clear, Descalso might be the only All-Star worthy player for the Diamondbacks as we get closer to the All-Star Break. It’s amazing that he too isn’t on the Camping World ballot, but his numbers should give fans a reason to write him into the All-Star Game in three weeks.
6 Left Field: Brandon Nimmo
2018 stats: 10 HR, 18 RBI, .274 AVG
Brandon Nimmo seems to be the only player on the New York Mets that has consistently performed at the plate this year. Nimmo has seen small sample sizes of the majors since 2016 but now it looks as if he’s here to stay, especially after his dominant weekend series against the Diamondbacks last week. Nimmo had six hits with two home runs last weekend, including a go-ahead two-run shot in the ninth inning on Father’s Day that sealed the Mets' split and a 5-3 win.
With the Mets hitting a brick wall since their hot start to the season, Nimmo has been the only worthy player outside Jacob deGrom worth mentioning to appear in the All-Star Game. His .402 OBP this season has also shown that Nimmo will take his walks for a guy who has 10 home runs in a small sample size this year. If fans are trying to put a Mets player on the ballot, writing in Nimmo’s name is the best way to go.
7 Center Field: Gorkys Hernandez
2018 stats: 7 HR, 14 RBI, .283
With the San Francisco Giants in the thick of the playoff race, it’s worth bringing up a player who’s been under the radar good for the team, and that’s centerfielder Gorkys Hernandez. Hernandez has earned his right to start in center field every day over veteran Austin Jackson and he continues to show why he’s All-Star worthy. After finishing last season with zero home runs, Hernandez has already set a career high in homers in 60 games this year, and that number should only go up with every start he gets.
The 30-year-old has a strikeout rate of nearly 30%, but a .374 BABIP shows Hernandez can make contact with the ball. He also has a .339 OBP to go with his .283 average which means the gap in batting average and BABIP could partly be bad luck, but he’s been a force to reckon with in the Giants lineup. Hernandez isn’t well known around the league, but he’s quietly made himself an everyday force in the lineup and would be a nice choice to write into the ballot before the polls close.
8 Right Field: Albert Almora Jr.
2018 stats: 2 HR, 19 RBI, .325 AVG
Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. may be the fourth outfielder on the roster, but he’s making it more difficult for manager Joe Maddon to keep him out of the lineup every day. Almora’s .325 batting average is the best on the team and his .384 BABIP is third in all of baseball behind hopeful All-Stars Matt Kemp and Scooter Gennett. Almora has pop in his bat too, hitting 11 home runs in his first two seasons in the majors, but he’s better known for his glove.
In 56 games this year, Almora has committed one error and two in all 193 career games. Like hopeful first-time All-Star Nick Markakis, Almora has a spectacular fielding game and according to FanGraphs, he’s made 50 percent of the plays he’s been deemed unlikely to make in the outfield in his career. If the bat doesn’t convince fans to write him into the ballot, get on YouTube and watch highlight reels of his defensive game.
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