The third scheduled check-in for fan voting for National League starters in Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game is here, and the Chicago Cubs still don’t have a player leading at his position.
As has been the case in the previous two updates on June 11 and June 18, the Cubs have several players in second place, but only two of them are hanging around close enough to have a fighter’s chance on the ballot:
— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) June 25, 2018
Willson Contreras trails Giants catcher Buster Posey by 92,021 votes. That hotly-contested race has the slimmest margin between first and second place.
It’s conceivable that Contreras can catch Posey, who has long been the gold standard of NL catchers. But he will need to pick up the pace offensively if he is to earn his first invitation to the Mid-Summer Classic. Both players have been worth 1.7 WAR by FanGraphs’ standards, but Posey has a better average, OPS, wOBA, wRC+, and more RBIs than Contreras.
Javier Baez is hanging tough with the Braves’ Ozzie Albies at second base. Albies has a 222,226-vote advantage over Baez, while Reds second-sacker Scooter Gennett is hot on the trail with just 19,955 fewer votes than Baez. Haven’t the Reds done enough to ruin our collective moods over here?
While the races at second base and catcher are too close to call right now, the same can’t be said for what’s going down at the corner infield positions. Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman is the NL’s leading vote-getter with 2,199,904 and has a sizable lead over second-place Anthony Rizzo and the rest of the competition. Over at third base, Nolan Arenado of the Rockies has a 646,456-vote lead over Kris Bryant.
The Cubs’ trio of Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, and Ben Zobrist are hanging in with the 7-8-9 spots in the voting for All-Star outfielders, where Nick Markakis of the Braves leads with 1,829,276 votes. Cubs shortstop Addison Russell is in the top-5 voting at his position, but trails Brandon Crawford of the Giants by nearly one million votes.
Losing four straight games to the Reds isn’t good for anybody, but this ill-timed slump isn’t great for All-Star voting either, to the extent that’s important to you. The Cubs had the NL’s best winning percentage when they woke up on Thursday after taking two of three from the Dodgers at Wrigley Field last week. If the Cubs can start this week by taking another series from Los Angeles and put together a winning stretch before the final votes get tabulated, we could see some of Chicago’s best get some recognition.