MLB’s All-Star election has always been an election, through all its various structures and media formats. (Except for 1933 to 1945, when there wasn’t any voting from anyone at all, but, well, we don’t have to talk about 1933 to 1945.) For this year’s game, though, MLB has leaned further into the language of electoral politics than ever before—with a “primary” to kick things off, and, starting Wednesday, a general election to decide the starters.
To do justice to the theme, then, our ballot guide will share a handful of different party platforms. Sure, you could just vote for the “best” at each position… but voters can be famously irrational, in any context, and beyond that, even perfectly rational voters can have different priorities. Maybe you’re single-issue, and your issue is dingers. Maybe you vote straight-ticket, for your favorite team. Whatever your preference, we have a platform for you:
By The Numbers
This is the most efficient option, and it’s also the most plainly logical. Maybe you don’t want to wade into the messy grey area of your own subjective desires. Maybe you don’t want to make any judgment calls. You just want to vote for the best players, as determined by one measure. You want to use WAR. (Baseball-Reference’s WAR, here, for simplicity’s sake, but if your voting strategy calls out for the formula used at FanGraphs, adjust to your heart’s content.)
Who To Vote For, AL: James McCann (2.8 WAR), Carlos Santana (2.8), DJ LeMahieu (3.3), Jorge Polanco (3.8), Alex Bregman (3.7), Mike Trout (5.2), Mookie Betts (3.2), Joey Gallo (3.1)
Who To Vote For, NL:Yasmani Grandal (2.2 WAR), Freddie Freeman (3.1), Ketel Marte (3.6), Trevor Story (3.2), Nolan Arenado (3.2), Cody Bellinger (6.4), Christian Yelich (4.7), Ronald Acuna Jr. (2.6)
Of The Moment...
But maybe you’re not just interested in collecting the “best.” Maybe you’re interested in building the team that feels the most right now, the one that feels the most representative of baseball as a whole in 2019. So what’s the best way to do that? Looking at dingers, strikeouts, and walks. Baseball’s three true outcomes are at a record high—any given game will average a total of 13.4 Ks, BBs, and HRs, blowing away the previous record of 12.9, set just last year—so to find the players who are the best fit for this moment, there’s no value system than three-true-outcome percentage.
Who To Vote For, AL:Robinson Chirinos (47.1% three-true-outcomes), Luke Voit (45.9%), Jose Altuve (30.7%), Carlos Correa (38.3%), Alex Bregman (35.8%), Joey Gallo (63.5%), Aaron Judge (49.5%), Mike Trout (44.0%)
Who To Vote For, NL:Willson Contreras (43.1% three-true-outcome %), Josh Bell (36.6%), Mike Moustakas (34.7%), Javier Baez (40.6%), Josh Donaldson (42.9%), Kyle Schwarber (44.6%), Christian Yelich (40.3%), Ronald Acuna Jr. (38.4%)
...Or Not Of The Moment
Or you can go in the opposite direction. Maybe you want to keep it old-school, which means keeping the ball in play. Maybe you want to reward the players who are doing their best to do just that, and vote like it’s 1995… with batting average, and nothing else. So here’s your traditionalist ballot:
Who To Vote For, AL:James McCann (.326), Carlos Santana (.290), DJ LeMahieu (.333), Jorge Polanco (.326), Gio Urshela (.303), Michael Brantley (.318), George Springer (.307), Mike Trout (.307)
Who To Vote For, NL:Willson Contreras (.295), Freddie Freeman (.311), Ketel Marte (.313), Trevor Story (.294), Nolan Arenado (.321), Cody Bellinger (.353), Christian Yelich (.336), Charlie Blackmon (.329)
Perhaps these statistics aren’t the numbers you care about. Perhaps the most important number for you is age—the most experienced team possible, a group of grizzled veterans who’ve been around and seen it all (or, at least, as close as you can get, given that a few positions don’t have any finalists old enough to run for senate, let alone president).
Who To Vote For, AL:Robinson Chirinos (35 years old), Carlos Santana (33), DJ LeMahieu (30), Jorge Polanco (25), Hunter Dozier (27), Michael Brantley (32), Josh Reddick (32), George Springer (29)
Who To Vote For, NL:Brian McCann (35 years old), Freddie Freeman (29), Mike Moustakas (30), Trevor Story (26), Josh Donaldson (33), Nick Markakis (35), Charlie Blackmon (32), Jason Heyward (29)
Then, of course, there’s the flip side of experience—a youthful team, one full of first-timers and designed to bring a new perspective to the game. After all, how better to capture that crucial millennial vote?
Who To Vote For, AL:Gary Sanchez (26 years old), Luke Voit (28), Jose Altuve (29), Gleyber Torres (22), Alex Bregman (25), Austin Meadows (24), Joey Gallo (25), Mookie Betts (26)
Who To Vote For, NL:Willson Contreras (27 years old), Josh Bell (26), Ozzie Albies (22), Dansby Swanson (25), Kris Bryant (27), Ronald Acuna Jr. (21), Cody Bellinger (23), Albert Almora, Jr. (25)
The Chaos Ballot
You don’t have to use numbers, though. Be guided by your heart, or the memory of one especially sick play you saw from back in April, or the judgment on who has the best hair. Flip a coin. Nothing matters! Embrace the madness. Pick at random.