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MLB announces 2018 All-Star Game Starters

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY MLB MEDIA RELATIONS; COURTESY MLBpressbox.com

 

Reigning American League MVP Jose Altuve is MLB’s leading vote-getter

 

Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, the game’s leading vote-getter, and Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, who led the National League in voting, will be among the starters in the 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, to be played on Tuesday, July 17th at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. The 2018 American League and National League All-Star starters were unveiled earlier this evening during the “2018 Camping World All-Star Selection Show” on ESPN.

For the fourth consecutive season, MLB’s All-Star Balloting Program was conducted exclusively online. The AL All-Star Team has nine elected starters via the fan vote, while the NL All-Star Team has eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 23 for the NL and 22 for the AL – are determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by Major League Baseball.

MLB All-Star Week includes the MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at Nationals Park (July 17th), Gatorade All-Star Workout Day featuring the T-Mobile Home Run Derby (July 16th), All-Star Sunday featuring the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game (July 15th), GEICO All-Star FanFest at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (July 13th-17th) and PLAY BALL Park at The Yards (July 13th-17th), plus a lineup of additional events taking place around the city. The 89th Midsummer Classic will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.

For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit www.allstargame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.

Altuve received 4,849,630 votes, becoming the first Astros player ever to lead the Majors in All-Star balloting, and the first second baseman to do so since Alfonso Soriano of the Texas Rangers in 2004. Altuve, the reigning AL Most Valuable Player, has now been fan-elected in each of the last four seasons and he will make his sixth trip overall to the Midsummer Classic. The Puerto Cabello, Venezuela native joins Hall of Famer Rod Carew (six straight, 1970-75), Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar (four straight, 1991-94; five straight, 1996-2000) and Robinson Canó (five straight, 2010-14) as the only AL second basemen to win four consecutive fan elections. The 28-year-old entered play on Sunday with a Major League-best 121 hits along with a .339 batting average, eight home runs, 23 doubles, 43 RBI and 13 stolen bases.

Freeman, now a three-time All-Star (2013-14), earns his first fan-elected start after garnering 4,039,219 votes to become the first Atlanta player to lead the NL in fan voting since Dale Murphy led the Majors in 1985. The 28-year-old Freeman is now just the third Braves first baseman to win a fan election, joining Hall of Famer Hank Aaron (1973) and Fred McGriff (1995-96). Freeman entered play today leading all Major League first basemen with a .310 batting average and 105 hits to go along with 16 home runs, 58 RBI, 56 runs scored and 23 doubles on the season.

Joining Freeman on the NL squad is his teammate Nick Markakis, who led all NL outfielders with 3,556,469 votes. It marks the first time two Braves players have been elected to the starting lineup since 2003, when outfielder Gary Sheffield and second baseman Marcus Giles won fan elections. Markakis, in his 13th Major League season, is an All-Star for the first time in his career, and he is the first Braves outfielder to draw a starting assignment since Jason Heyward in 2010. Markakis, who has 2,164 career hits, entered Sunday with an NL-best 112 hits on the season to go along with 27 doubles, 10 home runs, 59 RBI, 54 runs scored and a .324 batting average. He is joined in the NL outfield by Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers (2,930,353) and Bryce Harper of the hometown Washington Nationals (2,335,733). The 33-year-old Kemp is making his third trip to the Midsummer Classic, all of which have come via fan elections following starts in 2011 and 2012. He is the fifth Dodgers player to earn at least three fan elections joining Steve Garvey (7), Hall of Famer Mike Piazza (4), Ron Cey (3) and Davey Lopes (3). Kemp entered play today with a .317 batting average, 15 home runs, 57 RBI, 18 doubles and 39 runs scored. Harper, at 25 years old, is already a six-time All-Star and five-time winner of a starting assignment, becoming the first player in Expos/Nationals history to earn five fan elections. The 2015 NL MVP, who was Major League Baseball’s leading vote-getter in 2017, has now received a starting nod in four consecutive All-Star Games, becoming the first NL outfielder to accomplish the feat since Ryan Braun (2008-11). Harper, who led the NL with 73 walks entering play today, has 21 home runs, 50 RBI, 14 doubles and 55 runs scored on the season.

In the AL outfield, Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox led the way with 4,286,994 votes, followed by Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels (3,682,164) and Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees (2,766,661). The 25-year-old Betts is an All-Star for the third consecutive season and has earned a second career starting nod along with 2016. He is the fifth Red Sox outfielder to earn multiple fan elections, joining Manny Ramirez (7), Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski (5), Hall of Famer Jim Rice (4) and Fred Lynn (3). Betts, who entered play on Sunday leading the Majors with a .343 batting average, a .679 slugging percentage and a 1.112 OPS, has 22 home runs, 44 RBI, 23 doubles, 69 runs scored and 16 stolen bases. Trout earned his seventh consecutive All-Star selection and sixth straight fan-elected start becoming the first AL outfielder with six consecutive fan elections since Manny Ramirez (2001-06). With six fan elections, the two-time AL MVP is now tied with Hall of Famer Rod Carew for the most fan-elected starting assignments in Angels history. The 26-year-old entered play today with a Major League-best .455 on-base percentage and 78 walks to go along with a .312 batting average, 25 home runs, 50 RBI, 18 doubles, 68 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. Judge, the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year, received his second consecutive fan election, becoming the first Yankee to earn consecutive starts since Canó (2012-13). Since balloting was returned to the fans in 1970, the 26-year-old Judge is just the third player to receive a fan-elected starting nod in his first two seasons, joining catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. (1990-91) and outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (2001-02). Entering play today, Judge was hitting .277 with 25 home runs, 58 RBI, 18 doubles, 62 runs scored and a .573 slugging percentage.

A pair of Chicago Cubs used the final stretch of fan balloting to secure their starting jobs in the NL lineup as second baseman Javier Báez (2,757,401) surpassed Atlanta’s Ozzie Albies (2,625,401) in the final days and catcher Willson Contreras (2,172,682) held off San Francisco’s Buster Posey (1,918,966) for the top spot behind the plate. Báez, who will make his first trip to the Midsummer Classic, becomes the eighth different NL second baseman to claim a start over the last eight seasons, joining Rickie Weeks (MIL, 2011), Dan Uggla (ATL, 2012), Brandon Phillips (CIN, 2013), Chase Utley (PHI, 2014), Dee Gordon (MIA, 2015), Ben Zobrist (CHI, 2016) and Daniel Murphy (WSH, 2017). The 25-year-old Báez entered play today hitting .294 with 17 home runs, 21 doubles, 56 runs scored, 16 stolen bases and 63 RBI, which are the most RBI among Major League second basemen. Contreras is just the second Cubs catcher to win a fan election, joining Geovany Soto (2008). Since 2009, the 26-year-old backstop is one of just two catchers (also Brian McCann in 2011) to unseat Yadier Molina or Buster Posey as the fan-elected starter. Entering play today, Contreras is tied for first among all Major League catchers with 79 hits to go along with a .287 batting average, seven home runs, 34 RBI, 19 doubles and 31 runs scored.

On the AL side, Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles came out on top of a crowded field of shortstops in the closest race in the Majors, eclipsing last year’s fan-elected starter Carlos Correa of the Astros by less than 57,000 votes. Two-time All-Star Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians (1,409,887) and April’s AL Player of the Month Didi Gregorius of the Yankees (1,052,360) also finished close behind. Machado, now a four-time All-Star, will make his first fan-elected start at shortstop after winning a starting assignment at third base in 2016. The 25-year-old becomes the first Orioles shortstop to earn a start since J.J. Hardy in 2013. In addition, he is the sixth different fan-elected starting shortstop over the last six years, joining Hardy, Derek Jeter (NYY, 2014), Alcides Escobar (KC, 2015), Xander Bogaerts (BOS, 2016) and Correa (2017). Machado entered play today leading all AL shortstops with 60 RBI and a .380 on-base percentage, along with 21 home runs, 18 doubles and 43 runs scored.

Rounding out the NL starters on the left side of the infield is Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford and Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado. Crawford, an All-Star for the second time in his career (2015), wins a fan election for the first time and becomes the first Giants shortstop to do so since Rich Aurilia in 2001. The only other Giants shortstop to accomplish the feat was Chris Speier in 1973. Crawford is the fifth different NL shortstop to earn a start in the last five years, joining Troy Tulowitzki (COL, 2014), Jhonny Peralta (STL, 2015), Addison Russell (CHI, 2016) and Zack Cozart (CIN, 2017). Entering Sunday, Crawford led NL shortstops with a .300 batting average and a .365 on-base percentage to go along with 10 home runs, 39 RBI, 21 doubles, two triples and 39 runs scored. Arenado wins his second consecutive fan election and is now an All-Star for the fourth consecutive season. The 27-year-old is just the fourth Rockies player ever to win multiple fan elections, joining Todd Helton (3), Larry Walker (3) and Tulowitzki (2). In addition, he is the first NL third baseman to win in consecutive seasons since David Wright of the New York Mets in 2009-10. Arenado entered play today leading NL third basemen with 22 home runs and 57 RBI to go along with 63 RBI and a .306 batting average.

The remainder of the AL starters includes first baseman José Abreu of the Chicago White Sox, third baseman José Ramírez of the Indians, catcher Wilson Ramos of the Tampa Bay Rays and designated hitter J.D. Martinez of the Red Sox. Abreu, an All-Star during his rookie season in 2014, is the first White Sox player to win a fan election since Hall of Famer Frank Thomas in 1996. In addition, the Cuban-born Abreu is just the sixth White Sox player overall to win a fan vote, joining Hall of Famers Thomas (1994-96), Luis Aparicio (1970) and Carlton Fisk (1981-82), as well as Dick Allen (1972-74) and Richie Zisk (1977). The 31-year-old Abreu entered Sunday leading AL first basemen with 88 hits, 27 doubles and 50 RBI, along with a .259 batting average, 12 home runs and 42 runs scored. Ramírez is the fan-elected third baseman for the second consecutive season. He joins Sandy Alomar Jr. (3), Kenny Lofton (3), Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar (2), Albert Belle (2), Manny Ramirez (2) and 2018 Hall of Fame inductee Jim Thome (2) as Indians to win multiple fan elections, and all did so in consecutive seasons. Ramírez entered play today leading all Major League third basemen with 24 home runs, 19 stolen bases, 60 runs scored and a .595 slugging percentage. In addition, the 25-year-old has 59 RBI, 25 doubles and a .396 on-base percentage on the season.

Ramos, a native of Venezuela, is an All-Star for the second time in his career, following 2016, when he was a National League All-Star while playing for the Nationals. The 30-year-old is the first Rays catcher and just the fifth different Rays player overall to win a fan election (sixth time overall), joining designated hitter Jose Canseco (1999), third baseman Evan Longoria (2009-10), outfielder Carl Crawford (2010) and designated hitter Corey Dickerson (2017). Ramos entered play today leading AL backstops with 79 hits, a .289 batting average and a .340 on-base percentage to go along with 12 home runs, 47 RBI, 11 doubles and 26 runs scored. Martinez is now a two-time All-Star (2015) and a first-time fan-elected starter. The 30-year-old joins David Ortiz (2005, 2008, 2011-13, 2016) as the only Red Sox designated hitters to win fan elections. In his first season in Boston, the Triple Crown candidate entered play on Sunday leading the Majors with 27 home runs and 74 RBI, and ranked fourth in the AL with a .329 batting average. Martinez has also tallied 21 doubles, 64 runs scored and a .646 slugging percentage.

The nine AL fan-elected starters include representatives from a record eight different Clubs. Since balloting was returned to the fans in 1970, neither league has had eight different teams win a fan election in the same year. The NL has had seven different teams among the winners on eight occasions, including the most recent occurrence in 2014, while the AL has had seven different teams represented 12 times, including last year for the Midsummer Classic in Miami.

Following the Camping World All-Star Selection Show, fans can begin casting votes to select the final player for each League’s 32-man roster via the 2018 Camping World All-Star Final Vote. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over the balloting period, which concludes on Wednesday, July 11th at 4:00 p.m. ET. Now in its 17th season with over 760 million votes cast, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on MLB.com, Club sites and their mobile devices. The winners of the Final Vote will be announced live on MLB Network on Wednesday, July 11th at 8:00 p.m. ET.

This year’s final phase of All-Star Game voting again will have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans can vote exclusively at MLB.com and the 30 Club sites – online or via their mobile devices – with the 2018 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining this year’s recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

 

Read more: MLB