Major League Baseball began its annual All-Star Game voting on Thursday, June 3rd, and today, the league announced the first round of updates. While the Yankees’ pitchers (who are not voted on) will most likely outnumber any position player selections, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that one of the game’s most recognizable faces is in good shape to return to the Midsummer Classic for the first time since 2018.
Aaron Judge has been the lone consistent slugger in the Yankees’ lineup throughout 2021, and at .289/.388/.532 with 15 homers in 61 games, he leads all eligible American League outfielders in on-base percentage and wRC+ (154). Judge has been putting in the work like no other Yankee, and in the first round of All-Star voting, he ranks second among all AL outfielders:
- Mike Trout, Angels - 706,503
- Aaron Judge, Yankees - 538,448
- Byron Buxton, Twins - 383,178
Considering that Trout and Buxton are on the injured list, Judge is in pretty good shape. However, it is worth noting that simply finishing in the top three of outfield voting will not automatically put Judge in an AL All-Star uniform.
The league has adopted a relatively new voting system where the current phase of voting ends on June 24th. At that point, the top three vote-getters at each position — top nine for the three outfield spots — will move on to a new four-day voting period to determine the starters among the finalists. Judge would have to really plummet to fall out of the top nine (No. 9 is currently the Astros’ Michael Brantley at 166,298), so he’s basically a lock to at least reach Phase 2.
Due to this format, another Yankee might end up making it to the second phase: DJ LeMahieu. He’s stumbled to a rather-pedestrian .261/.355/.343 triple slash, but finishing in the top four for AL MVP in back-to-back years does automatically lend some recognizability among casual fans. Thus, he’s third among AL second basemen:
- Marcus Semien, Blue Jays - 561,326
- Jose Altuve, Astros - 329,783
- DJ LeMahieu, Yankees - 152,021
Nick Madrigal of the White Sox ranks only ~27,000 votes behind LeMahieu for the No. 3 slot, but given that the rookie might be out for the season, DJ might just hold onto that position.
The Royals’ Whit Merrifield is fifth, but LeMahieu sits at almost 52,000 votes ahead of him. Nonetheless, even if LeMahieu makes it to Phase 2, Semien and Altuve are both deservedly well in front of him, so he remains a long shot to actually make it to Denver (barring a 2020-esque run at the plate in the next few weeks).
As for the other positions? Well, the Yankees’ hitters just aren’t good enough. They’re all on the outside looking in. There are some who are at least on the top 10 leaderboards that I’ll mention, but I seriously doubt that they’ll make it to Phase 2:
- Catcher: Gary Sánchez ranks No. 7 in voting, ~25,000 behind No. 3, Martín Maldonado (Astros), and ~607,000 behind No. 1, Salvador Perez (Royals)
- First base: Luke Voit ranks No. 9 in voting, ~86,000 behind No. 3, Yuli Gurriel (Astros), and ~813,000 behind No. 1, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays)
- Third base: Gio Urshela ranks No. 6 in voting, ~91,000 behind No. 3, Alex Bregman (Astros), and ~348,000 behind No. 1, Rafael Devers (Red Sox)
- Shortstop: Gleyber Torres ranks No. 7 in voting, ~99,000 behind No. 3, Tim Anderson (White Sox), and ~424,000 behind No. 1, Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox)
- Designated hitter: Giancarlo Stanton ranks No. 6 in voting, ~61,000 behind No. 3, Yordan Álvarez (Astros), and ~444,000 behind No. 1, Shohei Ohtani (Angels)