Sean Pendergast

Three Houston Astros Among Finalists for MLB All Star Game Fan Balloting

Kyle Tucker has a chance to go to his third All Star Game.
Kyle Tucker has a chance to go to his third All Star Game. Photo by Jack Gorman
Since their dismal 12-24 start to the season, the Houston Astros seem to have figured a few things out. They've worked themselves back into the playoff conversation, and looked far more like the team that's earned seven consecutive ALCS berths. So that makes the individual player accolades a little more fun to enjoy.

With July now upon us, the most prominent individual accolade available to an eager MLB player these days is being named to the MLB All Star Game, something to which Houston Astros players have become quite accustomed. The Astros have had at least three players named to the All Star Game every season since 2017 (except 2020, when COVID canceled the All Star Game).

This season, they are on track to have three starters, as the first round of fan voting ended last Thursday, and we are now into the run off phase, where the top two vote getters at each position (top six in the outfield) square off in one more round of fan voting for a starting berth.

The second phase of the 2024 MLB All-Star voting actually began at 11 a.m. yesterday, and concludes at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 3. Later that night, MLB will announce the winners on ESPN at 7 p.m. during the All-Star Starters Reveal. The rest of the All-Star rosters, including the pitching staff (Ronel Blanco alert!) will be announced during the All-Star Selection Show on Sunday, July 7 at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Here are the "second phase" matchups involving the Astros

SECOND BASE: Jose Altuve vs Marcus Semien (TEX)
These two have dominated fan voting at this position for nearly a decade now, with one of them winning in seven of the past eight seasons. For Semien, it would probably be a cool experience to get introduced as a starter in his home ballpark. However, the cool story I'm here for is Altuve's closing in on some of the all time greats, when it comes to All Star accolades. If Altuve wins, it would be his sixth time starting, and he would join Roberto Alomar, Ryne Sandberg, Joe Morgan, Rod Carew and Chase Utley as the only second basemen to reach that total since voting returned permanently to a fan ballot in 1970. Also, Altuve is looking for his ninth All Star Game in total (as either a starter or reserve), which would put him one short of Sandberg's total of ten. In short, Altuve is heading into some "first ballot Hall of Fame" level stuff here.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Yordan Alvarez vs Ryan O'Hearn (BAL)
The big story are is that, for the first time since 2019, the path is cleared for someone new stating at DH for the American League, since Shohei Ohtani has taken his talents over to the NL to play for the Dodgers. Thank God! This should clear the way for a nice decade long run of starting berths for Alvarez, who is having, by his standards a so-so season, and still ha an OPS of nearly .900. He is a machine. O'Hearn is a great story, as he was basically cut by the Royals two seasons ago, and has put together a nice season for the Orioles, with an OPS of just over .800. Alvarez should win this contest fairly comfortably, but we shall see.

OUTFIELD: Kyle Tucker vs Juan Soto (NYY), Steven Kwan (CLV), and Anthony Santander (BAL)
I know I said earlier that the runoff in the outfield is voting among the top six Phase 1 finishers to marrow it down to three starters. So you're probably asking "Why only four names here, Sean?" Well, the one caveat in all of this is that the leading overall vote getter in Phase 1 gets into the starting lineup automatically. In the American League, the leader in votes received was Yankees OF Aaron Judge, so that sews up one outfield berth. The rule, from there, is that the runoff for the final two spots will contain the next four highest vote getters. If the Phase 2 voting mirrors Phase 1 voting, Tucker should get in. Missing nearly the entire month of June with a shin bruise won't help, but Tucker's OPS of .979 is top five in the American League.

For what it's worth, five other Astros also appeared among the top vote-getters in MLB’s Phase 1 update: 3B Alex Bregman (4th), SS Jeremy Peña (6th), 1B Jon Singleton (6th), C Yainer Diaz (7th) and OF Mauricio Dubón (13th).

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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 the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast