Mike Trout leads first round of American League All-Star Game voting
It's like 10,000 votes when all you need is a functioning ulnar collateral ligament in your thumb. The same week that Mike Trout learned he would miss the next six-to-eight weeks of the season thanks to a hand injury, MLB released its first set of vote totals for the American League All-Star squad (the day after we got our first look at the NL numbers), and wouldn't you know it, it's Trout leading all players in ballots cast in the Junior Circuit. With 776,937 boxes ticked in his favor, Trout has a slight edge over Yankees slugger Aaron Judge for No. 1 honors, though it's a lead that will likely disappear soon thanks to the injury that will keep the two-time AL MVP out of this year's Midsummer Classic.
Elsewhere around the diamond, Yankees and Indians are prominently placed at every position. For New York, both Judge and Starlin Castro are currently holding down starting spots, with the former second in the outfield voting and the latter leading the way at second base over Houston's Jose Altuve by an Altuve-sized margin; Chase Headley (third base), Didi Gregorius (shortstop), Gary Sanchez (catcher) and Matt Holliday (designated hitter) are all in the top five as well.
As for Cleveland, superstar Francisco Lindor is far and away the champ at shortstop, outdistancing fellow Puerto Rican and Astros star Carlos Correa by nearly 400,000 votes at the position. Other Indians in the running for a starting spot include Edwin Encarnacion (second behind Nelson Cruz for the DH role), Carlos Santana (third at first base, where Miguel Cabrera leads), Jose Ramirez (third at third base, where Manny Machado is barely ahead of Miguel Sano), Yan Gomes (a distant fifth at catcher, which once again belongs to Salvador Perez) and Michael Brantley (fourth in the outfield behind Trout, Judge and Mookie Betts).
There are a few surprises among the early tabulations. Royals fans have once again put Perez atop the catching totals despite his average numbers and better seasons to date from Welington Castillo (in second place) and Brian McCann (in third), to say nothing of resurgent Tigers backstop Alex Avila (who isn't on the ballot). Cabrera is comfortably in front at first base, but it's nice to see voters recognizing second-place Yonder Alonso in Oakland for his career season; he leads all AL first basemen in WAR and is tied with the Rays' Logan Morrison for No. 1 in home runs at the position with 14. And while there are a few early good starts being unrecognized by the fans—Avila, Morrison, Rays DH Corey Dickerson, A's second baseman Jed Lowrie and Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo (who isn't on the ballot) are nowhere to be found in the top five—there's still plenty of time for the voting to shake out.
The next AL All-Star voting update will come in a week, by which point Trout will likely have been passed in the voting and our sadness over his absence from the league will only be more acute.