On Wednesday, Major League Baseball released its first update of voting totals for the National League of which players would be selected to the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati if voting ended today. Right now, it seems as though the Washington Nationals will have some history happen in a couple of months.
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Bryce Harper, who has captured the attention of baseball fans across the country with his red hot start, has the most votes of any player in the Nationals League (1.16 million). If Harper were to be voted as a starter, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted
that it would be the first time in the history of the Nationals that they would have a player to start in more than one All-Star Game.
Harper has been one of the favorites, if not the favorite for the NL MVP. He is hitting .331 with 18 home runs and 43 RBI’s on the season. Plus, he has a .745 slugging percentage and a 1.215 .OPS. If the voting ended today, Harper would be selected as a starter for the second time (2013) and would be on the team for the third time (2012).
The other aspect of the voting that stands out in its early stages are the lack of Nationals, other than Harper, near the top at their respective positions. In fact, the Nats do not have a player in the top five besides Harper. If the voting ended today, four Cardinals would make the team (Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter, Matt Holliday, and Jhonny Peralta).
People will question the fan voting sometimes because it could be seen as a popularity contest and other than Harper, the Nats don’t have many stars. However, the Nats have one of the top offenses in the game, at least for this month. What hurts some of these players is that the National League is stacked at certain positions, which makes it hard for everyone to get in.
For example, let’s look at first base. Ryan Zimmerman has 32 RBI’s, which is seventh in the National League. However, it’s tough to put Zimmerman over Adrian Gonzalez, Anthony Rizzo, and Paul Goldschmidt, who are arguably three of the best first baseman in the game. Yunel Escobar has 52 hits at third base this year and is hitting .311, but it’s also hard to give him the nod over Carpenter (.314 batting average) and Kris Bryant, who is having an excellent rookie season for the Chicago Cubs.
The Nationals have had Harper carry them at times this season, but players like Zimmerman, Escobar, Denard Span, Wilson Ramos, and even Danny Espinosa, give them small contributions. While it’s not a group of All-Stars on this squad, this is a team that knows their roles and is able to compete at a high level every day. When people outside of DC turn on the Nats, the one player they are looking to see hit is Harper.
Not to mention, you have to think starting pitcher Max Scherzer and maybe closer Drew Storen are going to get in as pitchers if their success keeps going. You can vote for your Nationals players to make it to Cincy for the game on July 14 by clicking here.