The MLB All-Star ballot is nearing its release. Will they forget to add New York Mets leading hitter Jeff McNeil?
Nearly one year ago, the hottest buzz for the New York Mets and the All-Star vote was the glaring omission of one of the league’s best hitters at the time, Brandon Nimmo. Absent from the selections we could make, Nimmo had no shot at making it as a starter. His odds to earn enough votes nationally weren’t good, but to leave him off the ballot entirely was sports-criminal.
This year, I fear the same thing may happen to Jeff McNeil. As a utility player, the ballots may overlook him. Since they tend to limit the ballot to one player per team at each position, I’m anxiously worried the Mets will have Nimmo, Michael Conforto, and Juan Lagares as their three outfielders. At third base, we’ll see Todd Frazier’s name.
It’s an unnecessary sports-concern of mine. McNeil, however, deserves a trip to the All-Star Game as much as anyone in baseball. He’s not putting up historic numbers, but he is playing nearly every game and among the leaders in hits, batting average, and a few other categories.
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In the past, it made sense to see MLB leave players off the ballot. I remember going to the ballpark in the 1990s and filling out ballots by hand while dreaming of a world in 2019 when there were flying cars, mandatory spandex clothing, and up-to-date All-Star ballots. These days, where everything is instant, there’s no excuse for not having current ballots.
MLB All-Star ballots are often outdated and don’t consider changes to the roster or a player’s injury. In an era where voting occurs online, how can they not adjust quickly?
Along with making sure ballots are as up to date as possible, it’s essential players like McNeil have their own category. If the American League has a DH, there also needs to be a section for men without a single position who may have been otherwise overlooked.
Anyone with enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title by the time ballots are produced should go there. Heck, knock it down a few more just for those who got a late start.
I’ve typed the name “Jeff McNeil” plenty over the last year when I first learned of his magnificent bat down in Double-A last year. When voting begins, I have a bad feeling I’ll have to type out his name plenty.
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Remember kids, it’s Jeff McNeil, not Geoff McNeal. And he’ll play anywhere you want him to.