Posted June 10, 2013

Ballot-stuffing by Giants fans just most noticeable error in All-Star voting

All-Star Game
Pablo Sandoval, Giants

Pablo Sandoval should not be leading David Wright for the starting third base spot in the All-Star Game. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

With just under a month remaining in the All-Star voting, Major League Baseball released a list of the top five vote totals at each position (top 15 in the outfield) in the American League on Saturday and the National League on Sunday, and it looks like the fans have a lot of work to do to make this year’s NL starting lineup properly representative of the league’s top performers.

One thing the update revealed is that the Giants, Cardinals, Braves, Rangers and Orioles have been very successful at getting out the vote. San Francisco has a player in the top three in the voting at all four infield positions and catcher, and all three of its outfielders are in the top 11. St. Louis has a player in the top four at all four infield positions and catcher, and all three of its outfielders are in the top 14. Atlanta has a player in the top five at catcher and every infield position except second base (where the list released only includes four names), and both Upton brothers are in the top 13 in the outfield. Texas has a player in the top five at every infield position, catcher and designated hitter, and Nelson Cruz is sixth in the outfield voting. Baltimore has a player in the top two at catcher and every infield position but second base, and all three of its outfielders are in the top seven.

I personally loathe the get-out-the-vote campaigns around baseball, as they make All-Star voting about homerism rather than about actually selecting the best players in the league. As a result, Pablo Sandoval has a six-digit lead over the far more deserving David Wright at third base, and Carlos Beltran is one of the top three vote-getters in the outfield, while Carlos Gonzalez and Carlos Gomez linger at seventh and 12th, respectively.

Another aspect of the All-Star voting that drives me crazy is how early it starts. The All-Star voting begins in late April, which is surely part of the reason that Justin Upton, who led the majors in home runs that month but has hit .208/.329/.296 with two home runs since the start of May, leads all NL outfielders in votes. One side effect of starting the voting that early is that teams have to submit their starting lineups before the season starts, leading to a ballot that doesn’t even properly reflect the list of candidates. For example, you can’t find the Diamondbacks’ Gerrardo Parra, who is third in the NL in wins above replacement, on the ballot, but you can vote for ex-Astro Rick Ankiel, who was just designated for assignment by the Mets, to represent the AL. Personally, I wouldn’t start the voting until June. Given the ease of on-line voting, there’s no reason to have fans punching out ballots at the ballpark when the season is just three weeks old.

As for the vote totals released over the weekend, here’s a quick guide to where the work needs to be done to make this year’s All-Star game actually reflect what we’ve seen thus far in 2013.

Generally speaking, American League fans have done a far better job than their NL counterparts. Miguel Cabrera, Joe Mauer and David Ortiz are obvious choices, and the fans have done well to recognize Chris Davis at first base. I’d like to see Dustin Pedroia and Jhonny Peralta a bit closer to leaders Robinson Cano and J.J. Hardy at second base and shortstop respectively, but I have no complaints about Cano or Hardy leading their positions. The AL outfield is a tougher nut to crack. Adam Jones and Mike Trout currently have a big lead on the rest of the field, with Torii Hunter squeaking into the final spot ahead of Nick Markakis. Trout clearly belongs, and Jones is as good a choice as a handful of others, but Jose Bautista, who is currently fifth, should probably have that final spot. The good news is that he’s close enough in the voting that he very well could get there.

The National League is far more problematic. Troy Tulowitzki is an obvious choice at shortstop, and Joey Votto is a deserving pick at first base, even if Paul Goldschmidt, who only just slipped past Brandon Belt into second place, should be making that race much closer. Yadier Molina and Buster Posey are battling it out at catcher, and while Molina is having the better season, Posey is the defending NL MVP and having another strong season. The rest of the field is a mess, however.

The Giants’ get-out-the-vote campaign is the source of much of my ire here. Molina should be closer to Posey, whom he trails by nearly 300,000 votes. Belt shouldn’t have warranted mention in that previous paragraph. Sandoval should not be leading Wright by 200,000 votes (heck, he shouldn’t even be trailing him by 200,000 votes), and not that it matters with Tulowitzki the clear starter at the position, but Brandon Crawford should not be ahead of Jean Segura in the shortstop voting.

Yet, despite all of that, in the one place where the Giants’ ballot-box-stuffing might have come in handy, second base, they’ve fallen sort. The two best second basemen in the NL this season have been the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter and the Giants’ Marco Scutaro. Those two are hard sells as All-Star starters, but Scutaro also starred at the position for the Giants down the stretch last year with numbers very similar to those he’s put up so far this year. So, in the absence of a strong season from an established star, Scutaro would be an acceptable vote-leader, but he’s second and Carpenter is third while the Reds’ Brandon Phillips leads the pack. Phillips isn’t a terrible choice — he’s certainly a better one than Dan Uggla was last year — but he’s still been only the third-best second baseman in the league thus far this season.

Finally we get to the NL outfield, where Upton, Beltran and the injured Bryce Harper hold the top three spots, with Ryan Braun ranking fourth as a potential alternate to Harper. To my eye, the two best outfielders in the NL this season have been Carlos Gomez and Carlos Gonzalez. Gonzalez, who was an All-Star last year as well, should be an easy choice for the fans. Gomez might be a harder sell, but, like Scutaro, he’s building off a strong finish to 2012 and, unlike Scutaro, he’s young enough (27) that he might legitimately be making the leap to stardom.

After those two there are a variety of deserving candidates, including Shin-Shoo Choo, Domonic Brown, Parra (who can be written in) and Dexter Fowler. I understand the support for Harper, who was having an outstanding season before running into the Dodger Stadium wall, and for Braun, who is perennially one of the best players in baseball, but has been slowed by nagging injuries this season, but Upton and Beltran do not belong.

Gonzalez has been climbing on the list, but he is still out in seventh place, roughly 600,000 votes behind third-place Beltran. Gomez, meanwhile, is mired in 12th place between Gregor Blanco (0 home runs) and B.J. Upton (.158 average) of all people. The good news is that you can fix this. The voting doesn’t end until a minute before midnight on July 4. Vote on-line or at the ballpark, but don’t just vote for your favorite players, vote for the best players. It’s the All-Star game, not the All-Giants game.

72 comments
kifaru012
kifaru012

Wright is sooooOoooOoo much more deserving than WS MVP Sandoval, why? Last time I checked, Wright's numbers were down. Don't worry, KFP is injured, anyway.

Seems like the author is on Alderson's dole. I guess it's only okay if midwest teams stuff the ballot, which was an annual tradition. I also guess the Giants are the most popular team in the majors. :)

AndrewPridgen
AndrewPridgen

Corcoran needs to lay out his criteria better. It is unclear whether he feels all-stars should be voted based on this season's performance, last season's performance (including the post-season), being young, making a 'leap to stardom', or being born under the right sign. Seems whatever argument he can use to say 'I hate the defending world champs and west coast baseball' does the trick. If he'd have just written a column ripping giants fans (there is puh-lenty of material to mine there) I would've enjoyed that much much more. But leave the reigning World Series MVP (the guy who hit three bombs in game one of the fall classic - two off the heretofore untouchable Verlander) who is currently hitting around .290/40 RBIs in an injury-marred season, alone.



rtruong903
rtruong903

David Wright will never start another All-Star game because his team sucks.  Your team wins, your players will likely get voted.

DarrellStanaford
DarrellStanaford

Phillips is leading Scutaro in runs scored as well as battling for the league lead in RBIs. He is the best fielding second baseman in the game. He is contributing more to his team than Scutaro or Carpenter. And he is the most fun to watch, which should also be a consideration for the All-Star game. 

ThomasCox
ThomasCox

Here's an idea.


Let the fans keep the vote, BUT, omit the names off of the ballots at each stadium for the home team...that way...no ballot stuffing.  So, for instance, the ballots at Yankee Stadium would have no Yankee's on it..and so on.

It may get screwed up, but it can't be any worse than it already is.

Andy Crow
Andy Crow

Geez, maybe the Panda is leading the voting for NL 3B because he was the World Series MVP and hit 3 HRs in Game 1 and that resonated with voters.

Not sure why the outrage, their stats look pretty similar to me:

Wright  -  .275 8 34

Sandoval  -  .289 8 37

mrvitta
mrvitta

Yeah dunno your right ! 3400 hits 5 world championships , 7 ws appearances ,16 playoffs in 17 seasons ,why would anyone vote for Derek Jeter! Cough cough

Kalzy
Kalzy

It's clear you haven't followed the game closely. Phillips is the runaway best 2nd baseman in the game. Period. 

BobbyBangin
BobbyBangin

I love how San Fran fans keep using last years all-star game as an example of how it 'worked'. Last year the Juicing Giant, Melky Cabrera, was MVP of the all-star game. The Giants probably wouldn't have even made the playoffs if not for his all-star performance up to the point of his suspension.

Hiren Prem
Hiren Prem

let the cards and the giants keep voting. They should realize that when they put there team on the field instead the " all stars",  National league is going to lose the all star game and home field advantage

Topazinator
Topazinator

These people re-elected Obama, remember?  Quit wringing your hands and get in step.

byurcan
byurcan

You can't blame the precious, little hipster Giants fans for their enthusiasm, after all they just started following baseball 3 years ago, so they're very excited.

OUBobcat
OUBobcat

Mr. Corcoran loses credibility with me when he unequivocally states that Carpenter and Scutaro are both having better seasons than Brandon Phillips.  Kalzy is right on.  Sure, those other two are having nice years from a batting average standpoint.  But BP was leading the league in RBI up until a week or so when he missed a couple games after getting HBP - I believe he is still 2nd in the N.L. He has twice as many HR as Carpenter, 5x as many as Scutaro.  Oh yeah, his defense is absolutely unparalleled.  He is as good defensively at 2B as Ozzie was at SS.  BP SHOULD have been in the AS game last year, but some arrogant, know-it-all, "I'm smarter than you" retired manager decided to purposely snub him.  But hey, that's why the AS game is kind of a joke.

GYK86
GYK86

Since the All-Star game "counts" (home field in the WS), I actually agree.  1) The best players should be on the field and 2) not every team should be represented.

Now, the real problem is that the game should not impact the World Series at all.  If that were the case, the ASG would be for the fans and by the fans.  Let 'em pick who they want and watch their favorite players.

Since Bud Selig intervened, the ASG has been an absolute mess that is stuck between being fun and important.

Nuke37
Nuke37

This Cliff Corcoran guy is clueless!  Do you want to take David Wright to the Prom, Cliff?  I can't believe that you get paid to write about baseball.  You should be washing lettuce at the grocery store, dumbo!

Kalzy
Kalzy

Yes, Is this cat out of his mind?  Phillips is the runaway All Star at 2nd. Apparently this guy can't stand the Reds. Talk of the pot calling the kettle black. The article is illegitimate based on his assessment of Brandon Phillips. BTW. Run away Gold Glover this year  and was robbed last year. And 2nd or third in the n.l in RBI.    Snap out of it.

ChrisWilson1
ChrisWilson1

Brandon is the 3rd best choice at 2b?  He's the best defensive 2b in the National League, is in the top 5 in the NL in RBI, and his OPS is right up there with Carpenter's and Scutaro's.  I think the NL has it right at 2B.


John NoLastName
John NoLastName

So what do you expect? All the teams, encouraged by MLB, push their fans to vote for their hometown players. Online voting is beyond absurd when there's no way to determine who's voted more than once.

I know the All-Star game is for the fans and all, but this is what happens when you allow fans to vote for anything.

Dreballs
Dreballs

why are people hating on Giants fans for getting Giants players in? the all-star game determines home field advantage so you want the most players from the best team which is the world champs. Worked pretty well last year as I recall

pfcarini
pfcarini

I'm not getting the hate with Beltran. Have you looked at his numbers? You seem to put importance on what players have done in the past (Braun) or their future prospects (Gomez), as if either of those should matter when deciding the present, yet contradict that theory when it comes to Beltran. The guy could finish his career with a 70 war, which would put him in pretty select company.

dunno
dunno

Wait so this whole fan voting thing, it's just a popularity contest? Giant's fans shouldn't vote for their own players? The All Star game determines home field advantage in the World Series? That's the biggest joke of them all. 

joseph.stegall
joseph.stegall

You're a smart guy, but you should probably cover a sport other than baseball. Carlos Beltran "doesn't belong." What have you been smokin'? He's hitting .305 with 14 HR and 42 RBI's and a .862 OPS. So Gomez and Gonzalez have slightly better numbers -  Beltran's a borderline HOFer. And by the way, the Giants have won two of the last three World Series - is it such a bad thing to have some of those people at the All Star game? 

Ray1950
Ray1950

Allowing fans the chance to vote 25 times online proves how foolish the whole concept is.

RomarioDelLago
RomarioDelLago

OH NO!  What a travesty!  This is SO important in life!  HOW WILL WE EVER SURVIVE THIS NATIONAL DISASTER?  Oh wait.  That's right, this isn't even remotely important.  Who cares?  Answer:  No one, really.

PatPatterson
PatPatterson

@rtruong903 Which is exactly the problem. The All-Star game profiles the best individual players, not the best teams (the World Series does that, so stay tuned). If an individual has elite stats, I don't care if his team hasn't won a game, he deserves to go to the All-Star game. Duh.

Michael10
Michael10

@Andy Crow

Yeah, maybe that's why David Freese was voted to start last year's ASG over Sandoval--because he was World Series MVP the year before...no wait, he wasn't voted to start. Sandoval started last year, too, despite missing more than a month's worth of games and lagging behind Freese (13 HR, 51 RBI at the break) and especially Wright (11 HR, 59 RBI, .351 BA).

I guess that theory doesn't hold water, either...

Michael E
Michael E

@mrvitta Are you serious? no one should get in based on performances in past seasons, that's what last years all star game is for

Michael10
Michael10

@mrvitta Because he's not the best shortstop in the league...or even his own team at the moment. But as an NL fan, I'd love to see the AL lineup filled with has-beens and also-rans. So vote it up, Yankees...

Michael10
Michael10

@Kalzy

Period? It's clear that you don't follow any of the 29 MLB teams outside Cincinnati, or you'd know that over the course of Phillips career (2002-2013), Utley, Cano, Pedroia, Kinsler, Zobrist, Polanco, Ellis, Hudson and Roberts have all been more productive second basemen (the most comparable player to Phillips in terms of overall value has been Aaron Hill, who debuted three years later).

Even if you only look at Phillips' last five seasons, he still lags behind the first five guys on that list. He's never even been the best second baseman in any single season; this year alone, he lags behind both Carpenter and Scutaro in his own league (Carpenter alone has scored as many runs as Phillips has driven in this season and is smoking Phillips in all three slash stats--including slugging despite being a leadoff man). Phillips is a solid second baseman, but he's a far cry from the best...

Michael10
Michael10

@Hiren Prem The way the Cards are playing, they might be able to take the AL All-Stars on their own...

Jesse Bernal
Jesse Bernal

Seemed to work out last year or maybe you forgot?

Kalzy
Kalzy

@Topazinator  San Francisco re-elected Obama?  Wasn't aware we wheeled so much political clout? The Rednecks need to jump in the pickup and head down to the church and cast there votes.

Michael10
Michael10

@OUBobcat From a batting average standpoint? Carpenter is smoking Phillips in average (hitting ability), on-base percentage (avoiding outs), AND slugging (extra base power). He's also scored as many runs as Phillips has driven in.

As for his All-Star "snub," if Phillips was overlooked, it was by the fans (who select the starters) and the players and coaches (who select the reserves). LaRussa's job with the last few selections was to balance positions (he already had a pair of second basemen) and make sure every team was represented (four were not represented in either vote and the Reds' Votto and Chapman were already in). He did select another Red (Bruce) but none of his own Cardinals (they were all voted in by fans or players). Just thought I'd clear that up...

Oh yeah, one more thing. Last time I checked, Ozzie won 13 consecutive Gold Gloves and ranks as the #1 defensive player in the history of...history. Phillips has put together three in 12 years (his last two years ago) and suddenly he's better than Alomar or Sandberg? Mazeroski or Morgan? Frank White? Really?


Longliveyadi
Longliveyadi

I agree. By now their are teams who know they won't be playing in the post season, so how much will they really care about the outcome? And letting uneducated fans who probably don't watch every team with any kind of regularity (I know I don't) decide the lineup for a game that has actual consequences is ridiculous. Either make the game a meaningless accolade or let the organizations choose the players..

Michael10
Michael10

@Nuke37 If you knew anything about Corcoran, you'd know his man-crush is Mike Trout.

And if you know anything about baseball, you'd know Wright is a much better third baseman than Sandoval...

franco101
franco101

@pfcarini

You complain about him putting so much stock into past production and then brag up Beltran for his potential to end his CAREER with a 70 war?  Nice...

As for their actual current production, both Gomez and Braun have better or equal stats across the board than Beltran, but with better defense.  Braun will probably fall because of his current injury, but there is no reason for Gomez not to be a starter in the all-star game as he has produced the best all around season in MLB so far this year...

dunno
dunno

@joseph.stegall You're right about Beltran. He is probably going to the HOF and even though Gomez and Gonzalez have better numbers, at least he wasn't like another player who got in the All Star Game just because of his name..cough Derek Jeter..cough..

And it doesn't even mater about the Giants players. Bochy is going to put them in anyway.

Michael10
Michael10

@RomarioDelLago Who cares? Well, I'm not a philosophy major, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say baseball fans.

And you obviously care enough about it to troll sports articles pointing out their insignificance in the context of the cosmos...

Michael10
Michael10

I think you meant "wield" so much political clout and cast "their" votes. 

But what do I know...I'm just a redneck.

pfcarini
pfcarini

@franco101 @pfcarini  You obviously have a problem with reading comprehension.

I was pointing out that if he's putting stock into past performance, than why didn't he with Beltran? Comprende?

Michael10
Michael10

@dunno @joseph.stegall The players and coaches vote for All-Star reserves. Bochy will only make 2-3 selections of his own, but he may need to use them to make sure every team is represented (he'll probably have to pick a Marlin and a Cub at least). 

Posey and Sandoval will likely be voted in by fans (the more deserving Molina and Wright by their peers). Phillips will probably be voted in at 2B and the players will send Carpenter--the only Giant I could see Bochy trying to sneak in is Scutaro as a third second baseman; none of his pitching staff can be justified as All-Stars this season.

Jesse Bernal
Jesse Bernal

hey carl sagan, leave the cosmos out of it.

Michael10
Michael10

@akamikedavid @Michael10 @dunno @joseph.stegall If you look only at saves, Romo is among the top 10 in the league, but the peripherals show he's been nowhere near as dominant as the rest of the field. 

Mujica has yet to blow a save in 18 opportunities and actually has more saves than baserunners allowed--thanks to the fact that he's walked only a single batter (for a ridiculous 25-1 K/BB ratio). Mujica is also second among ALL players to Paul Goldschmidt in Win Probability Added--and way ahead of any other pitcher. 

Among pitchers, Jason Grilli, Rex Brothers and Mark Melancon are the only other relievers in the top 10 in WPA. Brothers has a 0.31 ERA in 31 appearances; Grilli's is 0.98 in 30 and Melancon's is 1.15 in 32. Craig Kimbrell also has a sub-2.00 ERA and is second on the saves leaderboard. Even Aroldis Chapman's has better numbers than Romo, whose 2.52 ERA and 16 saves are respectable for a closer, but not spectacular. There are at least a half dozen relievers with a clear edge over him this time around. 

Then again, the last few picks will be Bochy's...

akamikedavid
akamikedavid

@Michael10 @dunno @joseph.stegall I'd dare say that Romo would get some consideration.  Granted i haven't broken down exactly what the RP crop looks like and with the current trend of AS Game bullpens actually looking like bullpens instead of "take ALL the closers," but Romo has had some good numbers and been about as consistent as you can get closing.  I dare say he's almost better than Wilson was back in the day, at least he's better for my blood pressure.