Sean Pendergast

Houston Astros In The Mix at Several Spots For 2021 MLB All Star Game

Jose Altuve is the closest Astro to an All Star game berth.
Jose Altuve is the closest Astro to an All Star game berth. Photo by Jack Gorman
One of the big questions in the wake of the Astros sign stealing scandal was "Will fans punish the Astros by refraining from voting for them to start in the MLB All Star Game?" In 2020, because of the pandemic, we didn't really get an answer because there was no All Star Game. In 2021, we are getting back to normal, there will be an All Star Game, and there are several deserving Houston Astros.

The first round of reporting the ballot count came out on Monday afternoon this week, and it appears that people are (a) still inclined to acknowledge the fact that several Astros are great at baseball, but (b) not enough are acknowledging this fact that would allow any of them to currently start the MLB All Star Game, set for July 13 at Coors Field in Denver.

Before we get to the latest results, here is what you need to know about why the voting is meaningful, and how the teams will be selected:

Fans can cast their votes exclusively online and via mobile devices at MLB.com, all 30 club websites, the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps and on Google Search in the U.S. and Canada until the voting period for Phase 1 concludes at 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 24.

The final Phase 1 results will be announced on Sunday, June 27, at noon p.m. ET on the 2021 Google MLB All-Star Ballot Finalists Show on MLB Network. Phase 2 will last for four days, concluding on Thursday, July 1, at 2 p.m. ET. Later that night, the starting teams will be announced at 9 p.m. ET on the 2021 Google MLB All-Star Starters Reveal on ESPN.

(Fan voting determines the starters at first base, second base, third base, shortstop, catcher and the three outfield spots in each league, plus the designated hitter spot in the AL. Pitchers and reserves for both teams will be determined through a combination of Player Ballot choices and selections made by the Commissioner’s Office.)
Now, here are the latest results of the first round of voting, which concludes on June 24:

AL FIRST BASE
1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR, 51%
2. José Abreu, CWS, 9%
3. Yuli Gurriel, HOU, 8%


AL SECOND BASE
1. Marcus Semien, TOR, 34%
2. Jose Altuve, HOU, 20%
3. DJ LeMahieu, NYY, 9%


AL THIRD BASE
1. Rafael Devers, BOS, 28%
2. Yoán Moncada, CWS, 13%
3. Alex Bregman, HOU, 12%


AL SHORTSTOP
1. Xander Bogaerts, BOS, 31%
2. Bo Bichette, TOR, 15%
3. Tim Anderson, CWS, 11%
Next up: Carlos Correa, HOU, 10%; Adalberto Mondesi, KC, 8%

AL OUTFIELD
1. Mike Trout, LAA, 15%
2. Aaron Judge, NYY, 11%
3. Byron Buxton, MIN, 8%
4. Adolis García, TEX, 7%
5. Teoscar Hernández, TOR, 5%
6. Randal Grichuk, TOR, 4%
7. Alex Verdugo, BOS, 4%
8. Randy Arozarena, TB, 4%
9. Michael Brantley, HOU, 3%

AL CATCHER
1. Salvador Perez, KC, 43%
2. Yasmani Grandal, CWS, 9%
3. Martín Maldonado, HOU, 7%

AL DESIGNATED HITTER
1. Shohei Ohtani, LAA, 33%
2. J.D. Martinez, BOS, 18%
3. Yordan Alvarez, HOU, 9%

OK, now here are my takeaways:

There is still a lot of respect for the Astros on these streets
While there are no Astros in line to start the All Star Game, they are 1 percent of the vote at shortstop away from being the only team with a player in line for the runoff vote at every position right now. So the Astros are not being excommunicated entirely from All Star consideration. There are still plenty of fans voting for them, which is appropriate.

I actually think this is fairly accurate
OK, here's the thing — I have no problem with any of the Astros trailing right now at their respective positions. Gurriel has been awesome, but Guerrero is in contention for a triple crown in Toronto. Altuve has gotten his groove back after a wretched 2020 season, but Semien has been very good in his move over to second base. Devers being ahead of Bregman at third base? No problem there. Ironically, the one position where you could argue an Astros should be starting is at shortstop, where Carlos Correa is one of the few Astros off the grid.

So how many of these guys will make the All Star Game?
My hunch is that there will be no Astros starting the All Star Game, but I think we could see a handful selected to the game as reserves, and possibly a couple pitchers selected, as well. If I had to guess, Gurriel makes his first All Star Game, Altuve and Correa make it as reserves, and then the Astros get at least one pitcher selected from among Zack Grienke, Ryan Pressly, and if he is able to string together a few more great starts, Framber Valdez.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast