All-Star voting has been a big topic this season as the Kansas City Royals have thoroughly dominated. Royals fans have banned together in an attempt to get every one of their players to Cincinnati to start the game.
At one point a Royals player was in the lead for eight of the nine American League starting spots. The only position that has not seen a Royal is the third outfield spot where Mike Trout has been able to hold off Alex Rios who has only played in 37 of the teams 78 games.
In the latest update below, there are now just five Royals in the lead at their respective positions. Absent from the list is Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu.
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Abreu has been the lone bright spot on one of the AL’s worst offenses. He leads the team hits, runs, home runs, RBIs, batting average and slugging percentage.
Overall, he is hitting .294/.343/.505 with 14 home runs, 44 RBIs and 46 runs scored in 74 games. Strong numbers but not quite the major league leading 29 home runs that got him to the game a year ago.
When analyzing his chances, there are two obstacles in the Cuban sluggers way of being an all-star this season.
The first of which are the fans.
The fans vote for who they want to see, not exactly who deserves the honor of being named an all-star. Just look at the current first base votes. Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer has been either first or second all season despite inferior numbers.
And now all of a sudden, Justin Smoak is fourth in the voting.
Justin Smoak…. Yes. There are over 2.4 million people that want to see the .254 average, seven home runs and 24 RBIs of Smoak start for the AL in this year’s All-Star game.
On the merit of just White Sox fans alone, Abreu doesn’t stand a chance. The team currently has the worst record in the AL and their fans are screaming for changes across the board.
In addition to that, Abreu is in his second year in the league and still is a bit of an unknown to the casual baseball fan. I was recently in a barbershop in Chicago talking to a Chicago Cubs fan and the only person he could name on the White Sox was Chris Sale.
If this is the case in Chicago, image how it is in a place like Pittsburgh or Seattle.
The second is his position.
Every year, first base is full of all-star worthy candidates and half of them end up getting snubbed because the competition is too stiff.
This may be the case this year for Abreu.
Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols and Mark Teixeira all have higher OPS than Abreu and have also driven in more runs. Their teams are also doing considerably better than the White Sox in the standings.
With the fan vote out of the question, it is up to the players and Royals manager Ned Yost to vote Abreu on as a reserve. Best case scenario, three first baseman make the team.
Jun 18, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (35) connects for a double in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
One recent event that may work in the Abreu’s favor is the calf strain that will keep Cabrera out for four to six weeks. Yost could very well decide that since his own first baseman Hosmer is second in the fan vote, he is deserving to be chosen in his place, despite inferior numbers.
His last shot if still not chosen will be the final fan vote. A list of five players will be put together and the fans will get the chance to vote via the internet who gets the final roster spot of each league.
If he is apart of that list, then he has history on his side.
The White Sox have also had 11 players nominated during its 14 years of existence.
Could White Sox fans make it two years in a row and five of the last 10? It may be Abreu’s only chance.