2011 MLB All-Star Voting: The Five Thinnest Positions in All-Star Balloting
From Albert Pujols and Troy Tulowitzki in the National League to Jose Bautista and David Ortiz in the American League, this year's All-Star Game from Chase Field in Phoenix should be full of talent and may prove to be the best All-Star Game in years.
But which positions in both the American and National league may not have as much talent as we'd hoped?
National League Catcher
The current leader at catcher for the National League is the Braves' Brian McCann, who's holding a slim lead over Buster Posey of the Giants. You read that right, Buster Posey. It won't be long before Yadier Molina of the Cardinals takes over second place, but after that, it's slim pickins'.
Carlos Ruiz of the Phillies is third, and Ramon Hernandez of the Reds is fourth. McCann and Molina are two of the best catchers in Major League Baseball now, with McCann hitting .302 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs, and Molina is hitting .321 with four home runs and 24 RBIs.
Other than these two, can you really find a catcher worth an All-Star bid in the National League?
National League Third Base
Placido Polanco is currently leading all National League third basemen with nearly 750,000 votes. He is by far the best candidate.
His competitors at the hot corner are Chipper Jones of the Braves, Pablo Sandoval of the Giants, David Wright of the Mets, and Scott Rolen of the Reds. All are having solid years, except for Sandoval, but none are having an All-Star worthy year.
With a .319 average, three home runs, and 32 RBIs, Polanco is clearly the best choice at third for the National League, and will most likely earn his first NL All-Star bid come mid-July.
American League Shortstop
I'll give you two guesses as to who is leading American League shortstops, and the first one doesn't count. Derek Jeter (.260, two home runs, 16 RBIs) of the Yankees is leading (by a lot) all other American League shortstops.
Why he's leading is a mystery to all.
Who is his competition, you ask? The Indians' Asdrubal Cabrera (.308, 12 home runs, 32 RBIs), the Rangers' Elvis Andrus (.277, three home runs, 26 RBIs), the Blue Jays' Yunel Escobar (.284, seven home runs, 24 RBIs), and the Tigers' Jhonny Peralta (.371, eight home runs, 31 RBIs).
Other than Cabrera and maybe Peralta, who has the power and popularity to compete with Jeter in the AL?
National League Second Base
Brandon Philips of the Reds (.288, five home runs, 33 RBIs) is leading all National League second basemen by almost half a million votes. Rickie Weeks (.288, 11 home runs, 26 RBIs) of the rival Brewers, Chase Utley of the Phillies (.231, one home run, four RBIs) is third after an injury-plagued season so far, Dan Uggla (.170, 7 home runs, 16 RBIs) of the Braves is fourth, and finally, Freddy Sanchez (.296, three home runs, 24 RBIs) of the Giants is fourth.
Now, is anyone with numbers like these worthy of a prestigious All-Star bid? Unfortunately, no one else is stepping up at second in the National League.
American League Catcher
Russell Martin is leading the American League catchers in All-Star voting. You read that right, Russell Martin. He's having a solid year at .236, nine home runs, and 27 RBIs, but it's just surreal that he's leading catchers in any league in All-Star voting.
His closest competition? Joe Mauer of the Twins. The same Joe Mauer that's played in nine games in 2011. Alex Avila of the Tigers (.280, nine home runs, and 32 RBIs) is a more solid candidate for first place, but the Indians' Carlos Santana (.224, six home runs, 24 RBIs) and Yorvit Torrealba of the Rangers (.217, three home runs, 10 RBIs) simply do not belong on this list.