The first batch of voting results for the American League All-Star team is out, and it’s not all bad news for the Texas Rangers.
Center fielder Adolis Garcia is fourth in voting for outfielders, only 20,000 votes out of third, and if that holds he would make the cut for second phase of voting in which starters are selected.
The rest of the news, though, is pretty terrible.
No Rangers player is ranked in the top 10 at the other nine positions, including designated hitter (pitchers are not on the ballot). That isn’t sitting well with one Rangers player in particular.
Shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa took to Twitter to express his sentiments, calling the results “a joke.” The shortstop 10th in votes is Elvis Andrus, the former Rangers shortstop who was traded in February and had already lost his job to Kiner-Falefa.
Andrus had 32,432 votes, and Kiner-Falefa couldn’t even beat that.
But he isn’t ticked to be behind Andrus. Kiner-Falefa is ticked to not be in the top 10, and with good reason.
Kiner-Falefa entered Monday leading all AL shortstops in hits (78) and stolen bases (15). His .294 average was third, and his 26 RBIs were fourth.
Defensively, only one AL shortstop (J.P. Crawford) has more defensive runs saved (8) than Kiner-Falefa (6).
Fan voting is conducted online and via the MLB app. Phase 1 ends June 24, when the top three at each position (top nine outfielders) advance to Phase 2, which from June 28-July 1.
The rest of the team, pitchers included, is selected via a combination of player voting and input from the commissioner’s office. Every team will have at least one player.
The All-Star Game was canceled last season because of COVID-19, and MLB moved this year’s game from Atlanta to Denver as response to new voting laws in Georgia that critics say suppresses Black voters.
Hunter Pence, Joey Gallo and Mike Minor were selected for the 2019 game, but only Gallo participated. He hit a home run in the seventh inning in the first All-Star at-bat of his career.
The Rangers have, arguably, four solid All-Star candidates this season for the July 13 game at Coors Field — Garcia, Kiner-Falefa, right-hander starter Kyle Gibson and closer Ian Kennedy.
Xander Bogaerts of the Boston Red Sox is the top vote-getter at shortstop, followed by Bo Bichette (Toronto Blue Jays), Tim Anderson (Chicago White Sox) and Carlos Correa (Houston Astros). Bogaerts leads by a large margin and seems like a shoo-in to be the starter, so Kiner-Falefa would have to fare better in player voting than Bichette and Anderson.
That’s not impossible, and it’s his best path to the Midsummer Classic.
In fan voting, Kiner-Falefa (and all other Rangers position players outside of Garcia) have hit a dead end.