Amidst the roughest portion (back to back home losses to the Pirates by a combined score of 24-2) of the roughest patch of the season so far (nine losses in their last eleven games), the Houston Astros received a bit of good news on Thursday night, as an MLB-leading three of their everyday players were voted by fans to start in the MLB All Star Game on July 9th in Cleveland.
Third baseman Alex Bregman, along with outfielders George Springer and Michael Brantley, were selected by fans in a 28-hour online election that ran from Wednesday morning though Thursday mid-afternoon. The Starters Election included four other Astros — second baseman Jose Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa, catcher Robinson Chirinos, and outfielder Josh Reddick — who were among the top three vote getters in the first round of voting (for Reddick, as an outfielder, top nine), which was enough to qualify for the Starters Election.
This will be the second consecutive All-Star appearance for Bregman, and his first start, after being named named MVP in last year's game when he hit the go-ahead home run in the 10th inning of the 8-6 American League win. While his average has dropped in recent weeks (.264 on the season), Bregman leads the Astros in home runs (22) and RBIs (52). Bregman received 49.1 percent of the vote to run away with the selection over the Royals’ Hunter Dozier (27.6 percent) and the Yankees’ Gio Urshela (23.3 percent).
Springer was named to the All Star Game for the third consecutive year and second time as a starter, having started two seasons ago in 2017. Springer returned on Tuesday from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for a month, but was still voted in on the strength of his .315 batting average and stout power number (18 home runs, 44 RBIs in 51 games).
Brantley, who is, without a doubt, GM Jeff Luhnow's best free agent signing after inking a two-year deal with the Astros this past offseason, was selected to his fourth All-Star game and will be making his first start. Brantley is hitting .316 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs, and will be starting the game in front of a crowd in Cleveland, where he played the first ten years of his career. Brantley and Springer will join Angels outfielder Mike Trout as the starting trio in the outfield, with Trout leading the outfield voting with 25.5 percent of the vote, followed by Springer at 15.7 percent and Brantley at 10.8 percent.
Of the other four Astros on the Starters Election ballot, Reddick and Chirinos were each vying for their first All Star Game, and given their numbers, each might have an outside shot at being selected as a reserve. Jose Altuve will likely be missing the All Star Game for the first time in six years, having missed several weeks with leg injuries, and Carlos Correa will likely be sitting at home, as well, having suffered a broken rib during a massage.
Reserves and pitchers will be named on Sunday night, and expectations are that the Astros will land at least one pitcher, Justin Verlander, on the team, and perhaps a couple more from among a small pool of Gerrit Cole, Ryan Pressly, and Roberto Osuna. The All Star Game takes place on Tuesday, July 9 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, and will be carried by FOX.