MLB All Star Voting 2014: Last-Minute Predictions for Close Ballots

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MLB All Star Voting 2014: Last-Minute Predictions for Close Ballots
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Voting for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins, closes on July 3, and there are a few incredibly close ballots that will impact the outcome of the Midsummer Classic.

As the ballots stand right now, the American League looks to have a power-stacked lineup filled with guys that can jack it out of the ballpark if the National League pitchers make mistakes.

The NL roster is stacked too but in a different way. They'll likely run out a team filled with all-around players, with Andrew McCutchen and Paul Goldschmidt highlighting the list.

There's still time to vote, however, and the races will be close. Below you'll find my predictions for who the winners will be in three of the closest ballots.

*Note: All American League and National League vote totals are courtesy of ESPN.com on July 1.

 

AL SS: Derek Jeter vs. Alexei Ramirez

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Alexei Ramirez is having a fantastic season for the surprising Chicago White Sox, while Derek Jeter has only recently heated up for the disappointing New York Yankees. Below are their to-date stats:

Shortstop Comparison
Player Votes Slash Line Other Numbers
Derek Jeter 2,924,686 .273/.328/.329 2 HR, 20 RBI, 78 H, 27 R
Alexei Ramirez 2,325,527 .298/.329/.426 8 HR, 39 RBI, 95 H, 40 R

baseball-reference.com as of July 1

In any other year, the numbers would probably bode well for Ramirez.

Given that this is the last time fans will ever get the chance to see Jeter in the All-Star game, he basically has this vote locked up. Jeter doesn't like to think that way, however, as he told MLB.com's Bryan Hoch that he'll wait until the final results are announced before he prepares to go to Minnesota:

"You know me -- I don't think about that before it happens. I learned that a long time ago. I'll wait to see what happens."

Jeter has played in every Midsummer Classic since 1998 except for 2003, 2005 and 2013. He has been a staple of the American League lineup for more than a decade, and his impact on the game of baseball will ultimately make him the team's starting shortstop again on July 15.

Perhaps the AL manager, John Farrell of the Boston Red Sox, will look to send Jeter off in style. Whether that means leaving him in for the full nine innings or taking him out in the middle of an inning to ensure that he's given the proper send off remains to be seen, but I don't think Jeter will go away from the All-Star game quietly.

 

NL 3B: Aramis Ramirez vs. David Wright vs. Pablo Sandoval

USA TODAY Sports

This is a three-horse race in the NL, as Aramis Ramirez, David Wright and Pablo Sandoval aren't separated by all that much in the standings.

Ramirez, third baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers, has the best numbers of the three:

Third Base Comparison
Player Votes Slash Line Other Numbers
Aramis Ramirez 1,279,902 .292/.345/.495 11 HR, 40 RBI, 62 H, 27 R
David Wright 1,260,895 .277/.333/.396 6 HR, 41 RBI, 89 H, 20 2B
Pablo Sandoval 1,194,607 .267/.318/.419 9 HR, 34 RBI, 79 H, 38 R

baseball-reference.com as of July 1

Playing for the upstart Milwaukee Brewers should also help Ramirez's case, but we all know that the All-Star game is a popularity contest. That's why Wright and Sandoval are still in the mix. By all accounts, their seasons up to this point have been pedestrian. You can even say that they've been disappointing given the expectations.

Both the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants have enacted fan-voting tactics in the past for Wright and Sandoval, respectively. MLB.com's Big Apple Baseball Blog wrote about the Mets' voting strategies last season:

There was a lot made out of the Mets efforts to help promote Wright to potential voters. There was the whole cougar website debacle, which was blown out of proportion and became a bit of a joke. While I’m not entirely sure it was that bad of an idea to begin with, at worst it became a national story and I guess can fall under the “any publicity is good publicity” saying. Overall I felt the Mets did a good job with their #VoteWrightNow campaign as it was all over social media outlets and the stadium.

While Wright will likely receive overwhelming support again from his fans, this honor belongs to Ramirez. He deserves the distinction of being named the starter at third base for the National League, and I think the fans will get it right.

 

AL OF3: Yoenis Cespedes vs. Melky Cabrera

USA TODAY Sports

Yoenis Cespedes currently holds an oh-so-slim lead over Melky Cabrera for the opportunity to be the No. 3 outfielder for the American League, and this race is really a toss up in terms of production:

Outfielder Comparison
Player Votes Slash Line Other Numbers
Yoenis Cespedes 1,941,553 .273/.326/.497 14 HR, 55 RBI, 84 H, 50 R
Melky Cabrera 1,929,506 .299/.344/.465 11 HR, 42 RBI, 103 H, 52 R

baseball-reference.com as of July 1

Cespedes has the edge in the wow factor, however, as social media has been keeping fans up to date on his exploits in the field:

That kind of arm can keep fans on the edge of their seats, and that's why I think he'll win. Cabrera is a fine player with a pretty good arm in his own right, but Cespedes has been a human highlight reel this season.

Fans outside of Toronto and the American League East might not be up to speed with Cabrera's numbers given how quietly he has been producing, so that won't help his cause either.

Cespedes is the correct choice, though, and Cabrera will probably still make it as a reserve.

 

Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR

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