MLB All Star Voting 2019: Predictions for AL and NL Starting RostersJune 23, 2019
The new MLB All-Star Game voting system has narrowed the number of possible starters at each position to three players in each league.
A second round of voting set to take place Wednesday and Thursday will determine which players start July 9 at Progressive Field.
In the first round of voting, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger received the most votes of any player, and he was one of three to receive over three million votes.
Some of the All-Star Game starters, like Bellinger, Christian Yelich and Mike Trout, appear to be locks based on the first set of votes, but plenty of positions are still up for grabs.
MLB All-Star Game Starter Predictions
C: Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees
1B: Carlos Santana, Cleveland
2B: Jose Altuve, Houston
SS: Jorge Polanco, Minnesota
3B: Alex Bregman, Houston
OF: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
OF: George Springer, Houston
OF: Michael Brantley, Houston
DH: J.D. Martinez, Boston
The voting races to watch in the American League will be at the infield positions.
In the first batch of voting, Luke Voit of the New York Yankees led Cleveland's Carlos Santana by 25,000 votes, while Angels second baseman Tommy La Stella had a sizable lead over Houston's Jose Altuve.
But a collection of factors could send those positions in different directions by the time the final results are announced Thursday night.
Santana is the only Indians player on the final voting ballot, which allows Cleveland fans to make a push to get one of its players in the starting lineup for the All-Star Game on its field.
In terms of statistics, Santana matches up well against Voit. The Cleveland first baseman has a better batting average, the same amount of RBIs and one fewer home run than the Yankees slugger.
At second base, Altuve could receive a voting boost from his recent return to the field. Even though his numbers can't match La Stella's first-half production, he is still a fan favorite and could make a push to start alongside teammate Alex Bregman in the AL infield.
While Altuve is expected to receive some type of bump in voting from his return, La Stella is more than deserving of a starting spot with 15 home runs and 41 RBIs. In 43 games, Altuve has nine home runs and 21 RBIs with a .247 batting average.
The other positions in the AL lineup look like they are easy to predict, with Trout and the Houston pair of George Springer and Michael Brantley in the outfield, Gary Sanchez of the Yankees at catcher, Boston's J.D. Martinez at designated hitter, Minnesota's Jorge Polanco at shortstop and Bregman at third base.
If those are the starters, three of the top four home-run hitters in the AL would start, as well as two of the top three in hits and batting average.
If you were to mock up a lineup out of the predicted starters, Polanco and Brantley, who are first and third in average in the AL, would likely start at the top and then the power hitters would go in some order, with Trout, Bregman and Sanchez likely in the middle.
C: Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs
1B: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta
2B: Ozzie Albies, Atlanta
SS: Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs
3B: Nolan Arenado, Colorado
OF: Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
OF: Christian Yelich, Milwaukee
OF: Ronald Acuna, Atlanta
The final two days of voting in the National League could be much less dramatic than some of the AL races.
Most of the first-place finishers from the first three weeks appear to be in good shape to lock up starting spots based off the separation between first and second at their respective positions.
If the voting numbers remain the same, Atlanta and the Chicago Cubs will dominate the NL starting lineup with a combined five players.
If that is the case, Chicago's Willson Contreras and Javier Baez and Atlanta's Freddie Freeman would be back-to-back All-Star Game starters, and the same could be said about Colorado's Nolan Arenado.
In the outfield, Bellinger and Yelich have to be locks due to the tremendous seasons they have put together at the plate.
The two power hitters have combined for 54 home runs and 123 RBIs through the first three months of the season and there is no signs of them slowing down any time soon.
The NL will likely build its starting lineup around the core of Bellinger and Yelich, who would have Freeman and Arenado right behind them because of their power.
A year ago, Arenado hit second behind Baez in the NL lineup, which is a possibility again if Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna can be used in the eighth and ninth spots in the order.
Getting on base should not be an issue for this collection of players, as six of the current NL vote leaders rank in the top 10 in the NL in hits and four rank in the top seven in batting average.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from MLB.com.