By Jon Weisman
… we’ll storm the barricades? I don’t know. The point is, Corey Seager deserves to start at shortstop for the National League in the July 12 All-Star Game, and no one really questions this. Just today, he was a unanimous pick among six ESPN sportswriters.
The fact remains, however, that Seager was 658,748 votes (yeah, I did the math) behind Cubs shortstop Addison Russell with under four days remaining before the fan vote ended. So fans of justice and the 22-year-old shortstop probably need to count on Seager being chosen as a reserve.
How exactly does that happen? Here’s a refresher course, courtesy of Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com …
Who picks the reserves and pitchers?
In short, it’s a group effort. The Player Ballot, the managers for each league (Terry Collins in the NL, and Ned Yost in the AL) and the fans all have a say in how the rosters round out.
How many Player Ballot selections are there?
Technically, it’s more than just a “Player Ballot,” because coaches and managers are also included in the process, but, anyway, the ballots gathered in all 30 clubhouses shortly before the roster announcements account for 16 players in the NL and 17 in the AL — eight pitchers (five starters and three relievers), as well as one backup for each position (including DH in the AL).
What if the players select a guy already voted into the starting lineup by the fans?
Next man up. The guy who was second on the Player Ballot at that particular position is selected as the backup. This doesn’t change the number of Player Ballot selections. The Player Ballot is basically used as a pecking order to fill the backup slot at each position.
How many manager selections are there?
The NL manager picks nine players: five pitchers and four position players. The AL manager makes seven selections: five pitchers and two positions players. The reason the AL manager has two fewer is because the fans pick the starting DH and the players pick the backup DH.
This also applies for the Dodgers’ other leading All-Star candidates, pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen. Kershaw should have enough votes, despite his recent injury, to officially earn his sixth All-Star selection, even if he misses out on that long overdue first All-Star start. Jansen, who has a 1.38 ERA, 0.67 WHIP and 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings, should finally get to make his All-Star debut.
If all else fails, there’s the All-Star Final Vote for fans to choose the player for the final spot on the roster, which would begin immediately after the original rosters are announced Tuesday.