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PSA Community Poll: 2021 AL All-Star Starters

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Who do you think the fans should send to Colorado?

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Colorado Rockies Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow at 2:00 pm ET, the polls will close in this summer’s most important election. No, I’m not referring to the New York City mayoral primary, I’m talking about the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star Ballot.

Since it’s been two years since we had an All-Star Game (and because this system has only been used once before), here’s a brief refresher, courtesy of our very own Jake Devin:

This year, fans voted on position players, and the top three vote-getters at each position (and top nine in the outfield), would advance to Phase 2. From there, fans will chose All-Star starters among those who advanced.

We’re going to find out tomorrow at 9:00 pm ET, about seven hours after the polls close, who will be this year’s All-Star starters via ESPN’s 2021 Google MLB All-Star Starters Reveal. But, why should we wait? Let’s see which American Leaguers the Pinstripe Alley community would send to Colorado.

(Note: we will keep our polls here open until tomorrow 8:30 pm ET)

Catcher

Poll

Who should start at catcher for the AL?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Yasmani Grandal, Chicago (.177/.389/.415, 12 HR, 126 OPS+, 1.4 bWAR)
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Martín Maldonado, Houston (.173/.260/.291, 5 HR, 53 OPS+, 0.0 bWAR)
    (1 vote)
  • 97%
    Salvador Pérez, Kansas City (.273/.303/.503, 18 HR, 116 OPS+, 2.1 bWAR)
    (90 votes)
92 votes total Vote Now

In truth, this is a two-way battle, as the only way Martín Maldonado would win is if the Internet decided to completely troll Major League Baseball by having a guy with an OPS+ of 53 start the All-Star Game — since Maldonado plays for the widely-hated Houston Astros, however, I highly doubt that’s going to happen. Thus, it’s going to come down to Yasmani Grandal and Salvador Pérez. Pérez started five straight All-Star Games, from 2014 to 2018, until an elbow injury caused him to miss the 2019 season. Grandal, meanwhile, is looking for his first All-Star start and his third appearance overall.

First Base

Poll

Who should start at first base for the AL?

This poll is closed

  • 97%
    Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto (.342/.443/.684, 26 HR, 205 OPS+, 4.2 bWAR)
    (91 votes)
  • 0%
    Yuli Gurriel, Houston (.332/.396/.517, 10 HR, 151 OPS+, 2.1 bWAR)
    (0 votes)
  • 2%
    José Abreu, Chicago (.241/.348/.433, 12 HR, 109 OPS+, 0.6 bWAR)
    (2 votes)
93 votes total Vote Now

In a normal season, Yuli Gurriel and Jose Abreu would be strong candidates to start the All-Star Game, although to be fair Abreu received as many votes as he did due to name recognition and the fact that he’s the reigning AL MVP. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., however, is simply having a season for the ages, and is in fact performing better, relative to the rest of the league, than his father ever did (his father’s peak OPS+ was 162, which wasn’t in his MVP season).

Both Guerrero and Gurriel are searching for their first All-Star appearance, while the three-time All-Star Abreu is looking for his second start.

Second Base

Poll

Who should start at second base for the AL?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    Marcus Semien, Toronto (.281/.346/.519, 18 HR, 135 OPS+, 3.8 bWAR)
    (58 votes)
  • 9%
    José Altuve, Houston (.288/.368/.507, 17 HR, 140 OPS+, 2.9 bWAR)
    (9 votes)
  • 30%
    DJ LeMahieu, Yankees (.273/.345/.377, 7 HR, 103 OPS+, 1.2 bWAR)
    (30 votes)
97 votes total Vote Now

The last five All-Star games have been started by either José Altuve or DJ LeMahieu, with LeMahieu starting in 2019 in his first season with the Yankees. Both of them, however, have their work cut out for them, as 2019 MVP finalist Marcus Semien gave himself a big lead in the competition by posting a .368/.429/.702 slash in 28 games in May. In April and June, however, he has been much more pedestrian, with a .211/.290/.368 slash in the first month of the season and a .248/.306/.455 slash in June.

This is probably the matchup I’m going to be most intrigued by in the actual vote. While I’m pretty sure I know how this vote at PSA is going to go, at the national level, this position, along with the shortstop vote, might give us a clue as to how much fan outrage against the Houston Astros may have an effect in the polls.

Shortstop

Poll

Who should start at shortstop for the AL?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Xander Bogaerts, Boston (.329/.389/.556, 13 HR, 154 OPS+, 2.6 bWAR)
    (47 votes)
  • 27%
    Bo Bichette, Toronto (.281/.331/.476, 14 HR, 120 OPS+, 2.8 bWAR)
    (26 votes)
  • 22%
    Carlos Correa, Houston (.303, .400, .534, 15 HR, 157 OPS+, 4.1 bWAR)
    (21 votes)
94 votes total Vote Now

More than any other position, the AL shortstop position has been a revolving door at the All-Star Game, as nobody has started two years in a row since Derek Jeter did so in 2009 and 2010. Furthermore, in that time, Jeter is the only one to start multiple times at the position (2012 and 2014), although Manny Machado did have a start at third base prior to his start at shortstop in 2018.

While the back-to-back starter streak will not be broken, we might see a repeat starter for the first time in years, as Xander Bogaerts started in 2016 and Carlos Correa in 2017. Attempting to keep the streak alive is Toronto’s phenom Bo Bichette, who is putting together a strong campaign but has been overshadowed by his teammate’s case for the AL MVP.

Third Base

Poll

Who should start at third base for the AL?

This poll is closed

  • 83%
    Rafael Devers, Boston (.280/.348/.571, 19 HR, 145 OPS+, 2.9 bWAR)
    (76 votes)
  • 1%
    Alex Bregman, Houston (.275/.359/.428, 7 HR, 118 OPS+, 1.5 bWAR)
    (1 vote)
  • 15%
    Yoán Moncada, Chicago (.275/.403/.393, 5 HR, 125 OPS+, 2.1 bWAR)
    (14 votes)
91 votes total Vote Now

Alex Bregman is the most recent starter at third base for the AL, as he started in 2019 in his second All-Star appearance, en route to a season in which he was the runner-up for the AL MVP. Although he is still a finalist, Bregman is definitely the underdog here, as both Rafael Devers and Yoán Moncada have put in strong bids to start in their first All-Star appearance.

Outfield

Poll

Who should be a starting outfielder for the AL?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Michael Brantley, Houston (.344/.388/.502, 4 HR, 145 OPS+, 2.1 bWAR)
    (8 votes)
  • 21%
    Adolis García, Texas (.279/.318/.550, 20 HR, 134 OPS+, 2.7 bWAR)
    (18 votes)
  • 3%
    Teoscar Hernández, Toronto (.301/.343/.498, 11 HR, 129 OPS+, 1.3 bWAR)
    (3 votes)
  • 61%
    Cedric Mullins, Baltimore (.315/.383/.537, 13 HR, 152 OPS, 3.4 bWAR)
    (52 votes)
  • 2%
    Alex Verdugo, Boston (.276/.341/.436, 9 HR, 111 OPS+, 1.5 bWAR)
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    Randal Grichuk, Toronto (.267/.297/.469, 14 HR, 107 OPS+, 1.1 bWAR)
    (1 vote)
84 votes total Vote Now

A little bit of housekeeping first. Yes, I know that there are nine outfielders on the ballot, and that it is a position where you vote for three. However, we can only create polls where you choose one option, which presented me with a decision to make — do I arbitrarily split them up into three different categories (as dividing them by position is an imperfect science), or do I find some way to put them into one poll?

As you can tell, I chose the latter. To do this, I cut three candidates: Mike Trout and Byron Buxton were removed from the poll because they are injured and will not be able to start the All-Star Game, which might cause them to lag in the polls (though Trout is popular enough that he might be voted into a spot regardless and replaced by the AL when full rosters are announced). I also removed Aaron Judge, because this is a Yankees blog and I expect him to receive so many votes that he would render the entire poll meaningless; in essence, he gets a “free pass.”

The rest of the ballot is, as the outfield position always ends up being, a mixed bag. You’ve got youngsters in the midst of a breakout season like Cedric Mullins and Adolis García, who would probably have received more votes if they played on teams that were actually good, or even simply mediocre. You’ve got solid players like Alex Verdugo and Randal Grichuk who probably wouldn’t have received All-Star consideration if they weren’t playing for big market teams like the Red Sox or the Blue Jays. You’ve got solid veterans like Michael Brantley and Teoscar Hernández, the former of whom is a four-time All-Star, the latter seeking his first.

Even by pulling out arguably the three biggest superstars from the poll, there’s a lot to choose from at the outfield position.

Designated Hitter

Poll

Who should be the starting DH for the AL?

This poll is closed

  • 92%
    Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles (.276/.360/.670, 26 HR, 172 OPS+, 3-1 W/L, 2.58 ERA, 5.6 bWAR)
    (81 votes)
  • 6%
    J.D. Martinez, Boston (.297/.360/.535, 15 HR, 140 OPS+, 2.2 bWAR)
    (6 votes)
  • 1%
    Yordan Álvarez, Houston (.297/.366/.526, 13 HR, 144 OPS+, 1.9 bWAR)
    (1 vote)
88 votes total Vote Now

Perhaps more so than any other season, the designated hitter vote is ... complicated. From a purely-numerical standpoint, Shohei Ohtani probably deserves the nod. But is he a designated hitter or a pitcher who also hits? That is the question for voters to decide.