The first vote count totals for the All-Star game have been released, and Trout is on top (as expected).
This is no thanks to me. I hadn’t cast a ballot, any ballot at all, until about ten minutes ago. My logic was similar to that of most millennials these days: “my vote couldn’t possibly matter.” Here, I saw Trout stretching for the ballot box top, and no other Angels would sniff anywhere near a starting position. Why would a vote from me matter?
But now Trout is injured. They can’t take away the votes he already got, but people will stop voting for him. We can’t let Trout not be an All-Star. I won’t let Trout not be an All-Star.
The most obvious reason is that Trout has probably had an All-Star season already. In fact, he could go 0-for-his-next-20 and still have a batting average over .300. He could go 0-for-his-next-36 and still have an OPS over 1.000, which would be the highest mark of his career. As 538 so kindly pointed out, Trout is so good that losing him for two months is tantamount to losing another “star” for the entire year. He’s worth that much. In fact, this is the same argument that allowed Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw to win the MVPs of their respective leagues, despite not appearing in more than 120 of the games that their teams played. That they changed the team dynamic that much.
Any fan of this team knows that Mike Trout has the same effect on the Angels lineup
(with his absence causing the Braves to throw the baseball around like butter). Gutting his bat from the lineup leaves Albert Pujols and Luis Valbuena as the “meat” of the order. Taking Trout out of center leaves a Cameron Maybin who seems afraid of the ball to navigate out there. If you need any more proof that Trout is having an All-Star season, he has 3.3 bWAR on the season to date. Jackie Bradley Jr., All-Star starter last year, had 5.3 bWAR the entirety of last year. Trout is nearly there.
The other reason is a bit more sentimental. All-Star Games are part of baseball legacy. Ten years down the road, we can look back and say, “Mike Trout has been an All-Star every single year he has played Major League Baseball.” Or we can say, “Oh yeah, Trout has been an All-Star in 14 of the last 15 years,” leaving the door open for a child to ask us why it wasn’t all fifteen. It’s a sticky situation. It’s a legacy on the line. And I intend to shut the door on any speculation that Trout is not the greatest player of this generation.
So, what will it take? Trout currently has 776,937 votes. The 2, 3, and 4 spots in the outfield, respectively, are taken by Aaron Judge, with 730,438, Mookie Betts, with 337,473, and Michael Brantley, with 337,473. Third place last year had about 1.9 million votes, which means we are about 40% of the way there. But it only gets harder from here on out, because people WILL stop voting for him.
If you haven’t voted this year, because, like me, you thought Trout was a lock, visit this link to vote now!