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June 11, 2019

MLB All-Star voting: Could the first-place Phillies get shut out?

Only catcher J.T. Realmuto currently has enough support to advance to the second round if the revamped process ended today

The Phillies have been wobbling in their position atop of the NL East lately, but as of Tuesday morning they're still tied for the best record in the division, and the fourth-best record in the National League.

You'd imagine a team playing at a playoff-spot level would have some pretty good players, maybe even a couple starting All-Stars.

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And yet, when the 2019 Google MLB All-Star Ballot (what?) released its first update on National League All-Star voting Tuesday afternoon, things weren't looking great for the Phils' best players.

At the eight non-pitching positions, only one Phillies player – J.T. Realmuto – is currently positioned to reach the second stage of voting, which begins later this month. The top three vote-getters at each position (including the top nine outfielders) reach the second stage. Realmuto is currently third among catchers, hanging on to a scant 4,000-vote lead over the Cardinals' Yadier Molina:

In short, the Phillies are one strong push for Molina from getting shut out of the All-Star Game's final round of voting. Who are they, the Marlins?

If we want to take the optimist's approach, it makes sense that Realmuto is the guy with a shot at advancing. He's been phenomenal. If he plays 162 games, the 23-year-old is on pace for 25 HRs and 88 RBIs, both of which would be career-bests. His dWAR (1.0) is the highest it's been since 2015, and his caught stealing percentage (48%) is the best in Major League Baseball, and the best mark of his career.

So, it's neat that the team's best two-way player is getting his props.

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On the flip side, Rhys Hoskins is seventh in voting at first base, Jean Segura is fifth in voting at shortstop, Cesar Hernandez is fourth (but not a close fourth) in voting at second base, and Bryce Harper is a close 10th in the outfield. Harper represents the team's second-best chance, sitting just 4,000 votes shy of qualifying for the second round of voting. But there are plenty of outfielders ahead of Harper on that list who are having substantially better seasons.

And this is happening, which is weird:

Ultimately, All-Star voting doesn't matter. The Phillies put this specific team together with an eye towards the postseason, not some mid-summer pageant. But it's kind of surprising to see a first-place team with playoff aspirations strikeout in such a big way in All-Star voting. Maybe its worth noting, if only because it gives you an idea of how this team is composed: a bunch of good-to-great players who, when they're on a roll, know how to click and string together some wins.

Or, you know, it means the Phillies don't have any genuine stars this season, and they're doomed to fall apart in the second half. Take your pick.

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