It’s April, the season is about 10% completed, and sample sizes across the league are small. So of course, the MLB has released the All-Star ballot for you to vote on already.
I remember when I was a kid, the ballots would come out in May. I’d go to games at Veterans Stadium with my dad, and grab a handful of paper ballots from the kiosks that were set up around the park. They were nearly impossible for a kid to vote on at the park, due to the tiny little holes that you’d punch out from each one. I had nothing sharp on me to poke through the holes…so it would take a solid 20 minutes to vote for your favorite players.
Things are different nowadays. The paper ballots are still in stadiums, but considering you can vote online (up to 25 times, too), many people just prefer to do it that way as opposed to needing to go to the park and vote there. But seriously, putting the ballots up during the third week of April? If you’re going to vote based on three weeks worth of stats, I completely expect to see Omar Infante and his 1.116 OPS starting at second base for the National League, Albert Pujols to have fewer votes at AL 1B than Chris Davis, and Michael Cuddyer to trot into the outfield as a starter in the National League.
Some of the ballot choices are interesting too. I realize that the teams have to submit a candidate for each position at the beginning of the year, but there are some interesting names at the positions that I wouldn’t have thought of. Brandon Belt has been turned into a platoon player for the Giants (again), and is on the ballot at first base, while Aubrey Huff is listed as an outfielder, and Nate Schierholtz isn’t even on the ballot. Mark Trumbo is raking for the Angels, and is listed on the ballot at third base…but he’s played less than half as many innings at third as Alberto Callaspo, who isn’t on the ballot. Ben Revere has been in AAA for a week and a half, and Ryan Doumit isn’t on the ballot at all for the Twins. Marlon Byrd is on the NL ballot, and isn’t even in the league anymore after a disastrous start to the year. Carlos Gomez has an OPS more than600 points higher than Nyjer Morgan, his platoon-mate in center for the Brewers this year, but its Mr Beast Mode himself that’s on the ballot.
Injured players are all over the place too. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Sal Perez, Michael Morse, and Carl Crawford haven’t played in a game yet this year, but you can vote for all of them! Injured players like that have hurt the chances of guys like Freddy Galvis, Humberto Quintero, and Ryan Sweeney, who are having varying degrees of success, but need to be written in because of the presence of star players that the teams KNEW wouldn’t be ready for Opening Day. Hell, out of the three Mariners outfielders on the ballot, only Ichiro has gotten an at bat this year!
I realize that these complaints are largely insignificant, but it’s just sloppy all-around for the MLB. The casual fan is going to see Howard on the ballot and give him a vote, despite his lack of games played this season. The casual fan is going to see the ballot live after 16 games and give votes to the mediocre players who have been aided by a brief hot streak. Why not release the ballot a month later, when things have calmed down a little bit and allow teams to tweak their submissions later in the process as opposed to making decisions before a game has been played? It’s just silly to have voting open this early.