A.L. All-Star Voting: Tampa Bay Should Represent Left Side Of Infield

Paul Swaney@@PaulSwaneySenior Analyst IMay 29, 2009

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 30: Shortstop Jason Bartlett #8 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates a run by infielder Evan Longoria #3  against the Boston Red Sox April 30, 2009 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

I finally felt ready to begin my all-star voting ballots today. I hate that the ballots were available in April, but usually by around Jun. 1, I feel like the sample size is enough to pass judgment.

All-star game voting is something I take very seriously. I believe in analyzing the numbers and selecting the most deserving players on a completely objective basis.

If I was going to pick sentimental favorites, then Brandon Inge would have certainly made my ballot. But in the end, both of the choices on the left side of the infield were easy.

Entering Thursday's games, Evan Longoria led all ballot-eligible third basemen in runs scored and RBI. He was tied with Inge with 12 home runs, and was second in batting average (.326) and on base percentage (.398).

Honorable mention goes to Michael Young, who has flawlessly transitioned to playing third base this season.

The even easier pick, when looking at the numbers, was at shortstop. The Rays' Jason Bartlett is far and away the best choice to serve as the starting shortstop on the American League squad.

Bartlett leads everyone else on the shortstop ballot in RBI, stolen bases, batting average, and on-base percentage. He is tied for the lead with seven home runs, and is second in runs scored.

There is no one even close to his dominating performance thus far.

Longoria will likely get the fan vote to start at third base, I just hope Bartlett gets similar consideration.