All-Star
(Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

Your 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star Sleeper Voting Cheat Sheet

The first All-Star Game in almost two years is arriving quickly with just weeks to go. It will take place in Denver, Colorado at the Rockies home, Coors Field, showcasing the best of the American League and the National League. Of course, names like Trout and Tatis will make their appearances, but what about the sleepers? What about the players who’ve quietly done well yet have slipped from the spotlight?

These are the players I want to focus on. Here is your All-star ballot cheat sheet for those more than deserving, yet less than recognized. I will take into account those who have great stats and are low on the vote percentage. (gotta love fan vote). Also, I’m excluding pitchers since you can’t vote for them unless their name is Shohei Ohtani.

American League

First Base – Matt Olsen (Oakland Athletics)

In the first voting update updated last week, Matt Olsen carried none of the total vote for the American League First Base vote. Ridiculous since he leads MLB first basemen in home runs with 19, first in OPS with .986, first in RBI with 52, and a .306 average which is second among AL first basemen. The small-market status of the A’s must be hurting his chances which is an absolute pity.

Second Base – Jonathan Schoop (Detroit Tigers)

Schoop didn’t even show up in the first round of voting which just delegitimizes fan voting further. Yes, I know he plays for the tigers but just look at what he’s doing. He literally is second for AL second basemen in home runs with 13, second in RBI with 37, second in .275, and second in OPS with .799. Who’s before him? Jose Altuve who’ll probably get the starting nod, but Schoop more than deserves to be on that roster as a reserve.

Shortstop – Carlos Correa (Houston Astros)

Yes, I understand that playing for the cheating team will damage your chances. The truth is though, Correa is having what could be an absolute career year at the plate. He is among the leaders in all major offensive categories. He’s first among AL shortstops in home runs with 13, second in OPS with .902, first in RBI, all while rocking a .292 batting average. He has my vote for sure.

Third Base – Jose Ramirez (Cleveland Indians)

Jose Ramirez is perhaps the most underappreciated player in all of the AL. Fan vote is hurting his deserved chances to be an all-star this year without a doubt. He is second among AL third basemen in home runs with 15, third in RBI with 39, and second in OPS with .911. The starting nod will for sure go to Rafael Devers, but Ramirez just as much deserves to be there.

Outfield – Cedric Mullins (Baltimore Orioles)

If Cedric Mullins doesn’t make this year’s all-star team, I may seriously cry. He gives the word “underrated” a whole new meaning. He leads all American League outfielders with a .955 OPS, second in batting with a .323 average, tied for sixth in home runs with 13, and also is third in stolen bases with 12. Please. For the love of God, vote in Cedric.

Outfield – Michael Brantley (Houston Astros)

Brantley has never not been a good hitter, yet he’s underappreciated. Being an Astro doesn’t help much but he’s quietly having a stellar season. He leads AL outfielders in batting with a staggering .338 average, sports a .884 OPS which is third, and also leads in doubles with 20. Say what you will about the team, but Brantley was great with Cleveland which is why he gets my vote for the all-star game as a starter.

Outfield – Mark Canha (Oakland Athletics)

I’m well aware I will get slack for this. Canha though is having a great season for the first-place Athletics. He’s tied for third amongst AL outfielders in WAR with 2.5, has a .833 OPS (fifth), 11 home runs, and third in OBP with a .378 average. He’s a statistical dream and a deserving all-star.

Catcher – Gary Sanchez (New York Yankees)

Yes, the average is lower but he’s having a solid year for a mediocre Yankees team. Sanchez has 11 home runs which ranks second amongst AL catchers. He also has a .820 OPS which is also amongst the leaders. He doesn’t deserve to start at all, but definitely deserves a chance at a reserve role.

National League

First Base – Jesus Aguilar (Miami Marlins)

Behind Muncy and Freeman, there is no better offensive NL first baseman than Jesus Aguilar. He won’t start for sure, but he has the statistics to make it as a backup. He is first among NL first basemen for RBI with 50, third in OPS with .800, and fourth in home runs with 12. Maybe a long shot, but good for a small-market team like the Marlins to have an all-star in Aguilar.

Second Base – Ryan McMahon (Colorado Rockies)

McMahon would make sense as the one Rockie to participate in his city’s all-star game. He’s practically the only one carrying the weight for his sub-par ballclub. He leads NL second basemen in home runs with 16, RBIs with 44, and third in OPS with an .819. The Rockies and their fans need something to smile about so let McMahon be the difference.

Shortstop – Trea Turner (Washington Nationals)

How is Trea Turner not more appreciated across the league? He does everything required on the field at an exceptional level. For starters, he leads NL SS in batting with a .313 average, third in OPS with .838, and fourth in home runs (11) and RBIs (32). I strongly urge to whoever is reading this to vote in Trea Turner. He deserves it as a reserve.

Third Base – Austin Riley (Atlanta Braves)

Riley is having a great year and few people realize it. The stocky man at the hot corner is hitting a very cool .294 which is second amongst NL third basemen. He also is tied for first in home runs with 12, and first in OPS with .880. How he doesn’t have more votes I don’t even know, but he deserves an All-star start this year.

Outfield – Bryan Reynolds (Pittsburgh Pirates)

I would hate to be a member of the Pirates and even attempt to earn national recognition. Bryan Reynolds is having an extremely difficult time with that and it’s sad because he really, really deserves to be an all-star. Would you believe that he’s fourth amongst NL outfielders in OPS with .925? I couldn’t either. He also has a .300 batting average which ranks him third, and 12 home runs which ties him for eighth. Don’t sit back and not let Reynolds be an all-star.

Outfield – Tyler O’Neill (St. Louis Cardinals)

Another great player with no love from voters. O’Neill is fifth for NL outfielders in OPS with .911, and also has a ton of power in the bat. He has already hit 15 homers which he is tied for fourth, and also has a steady .277 average. He deserves to get a chance as a reserve.

Outfield – Raimel Tapia (Colorado Rockies)

Outside of McMahon, the only other deserving Rockie to appear in the all-star game is Tapia. He won’t get any love, but he is having a great year so far. Tapia is third for NL OFs in batting with a .303 average, tied for fifth with 42 runs scored, and is contributing to a 1.4 WAR. He definitely flies under the radar but deserves to be a reserve on the all-star squad.

Catcher – Will Smith (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Will Smith has flown under the radar in the National League West as a catcher, with the spotlight on Buster Posey. Smith is hitting .272 with eight homers and a .860 OPS. This translates to a very solid year that any catcher would dream of. The power is slightly down, but the numbers are where you want them to be for a top offensive backstop.

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