Readers of Talking Chop…we know you’re an intelligent bunch. We know you’re not one to fall victim to the type of blind homerism that clouds your judgment and prevents you from rational thought. And we know that when you vote in a poll or some other elective process, you take that vote seriously and won’t just throw your vote away just to get players from your favorite team in the Midsummer Classic. So I’m well aware that when I ask you to vote for all Braves on your 2019 All-Star Ballot, it is no small task. This is not a popularity contest. You are first and foremost about fairness and you are only going to vote for your favorite players if they deserve it. Having said all that, allow me to make a case for voting for Braves players at every position on this year’s All-Star ballot.
Admittedly, this is an easier task than in previous years. It had to be an unenviable task working for the Braves marketing team in 2015-2016, trying to get you out to the polls to vote for A.J. Pierzynski and Juan Uribe. This team is actually really good this year, and has what can end up being a prolific offense here in Atlanta. Here’s the lineup for the Braves this year, and why you should cast your vote for them.
Catcher: Brian McCann
With respect to Tyler Flowers and his pitch-framing goodness, the vote here has to go to McCann. Captain Dadbod has made his long-awaited return to the Braves and has somehow made most of us forget about JT Realmuto, which is in and of itself a tremendous feat. It’s the catcher position…who else you gonna vote for? Yadier Molina? Cleveland has enough neck tattoos.
First Baseman: Freddie Freeman
With all the young talent on this team, it’s amazing to think that Freddie Freeman is still Atlanta’s best hitter. He deserves your vote this year and every year until the day he retires, and then he deserves your write-in votes after that. If I can’t talk you into voting for Freddie Freeman, then what are we even doing here?
Second Baseman: Ozzie Albies
The second place votegetter among NL second basemen is Mike Moustakas. Mike. Moustakas.
Third Baseman: Josh Donaldson
Atlanta’s $23 million man is in an extremely tough race among third basemen, with guys like Nolan Arenado, Kris Bryant, and Anthony Rendon in the mix, which is exactly why a guy like Donaldson should have your vote. Odds are pretty good that these other guys are going to be picked to be on the squad anyway, and who doesn’t want to see a team with four third basemen on it? Donaldson himself would feel right at home. Maybe with that kind of team we will see Arenado and Rendon playing left field or second base or something, just to get everyone into the game.
Shortstop: Dansby Swanson
Atlanta’s shortstop has had a much improved year at the plate this year, and is far less annoying than the current leader in votes, Javier Baez. Dansby is better looking and has better hair than Baez, which is something that Ohio desperately needs.
Outfielders: Ronald Acuña, Jr., Nick Markakis, Ender Inciarte
Let’s set the record straight. Of these three, Acuña Jr. is probably the only one who deserves to be in the All-Star Game. But let’s look at the votes. As of the vote results that were released on June 17, Nick Markakis is less than 500 votes behind Jason Heyward for fifth among NL outfielders. If beating your old team in a sport is satisfying, then beating your old right fielder in All-Star voting should be pretty satisfying as well. But the guy who really needs your votes is Ender Inciarte. As of June 17, Inciarte, who has spent the past month on the IL with a back injury (rumor is that he fractured a bone that makes him good at baseball), has almost 30,000 more votes than Juan Soto. The same Ender Inciarte, who has not been playing baseball in weeks and prior to that, was playing some of the worst baseball on the team, has only 165,000 fewer votes than the $330 million man himself, Bryce Harper. I submit to you, the rational and level-headed Braves fan, that this should be our mission: that at the end of All-Star voting in 2019, Ender Inciarte finishes with more All-Star votes than Bryce Harper.
This is your mission, now go and bear fruit.