All-Star ballots are out again and since there is a first place team in Cleveland, there must be some Indians players worthy of the honor. Since 2001, the Indians have only had 4 seasons with 2 or more players elected to the game and only 2 seasons with more than 2 players. The last time an Indian was selected by the fans to start was in 2001 when Juan Gonzalez was picked as a starting outfielder (Cliff Lee was the starting pitcher for the American League in 2008, but that is selected by the manager). This all means that it is very important to vote for your favorite players the maximum amount of times, because no one else in the country will. This year the Indians have nine players on the ballot (a new rule change now allows fans to vote for a DH even in a National League park). Those nine players were selected before the season started and include:
- 1B Matt LaPorta
- 2B Orlando Cabrera
- SS Asdrubal Cabrera
- 3B Jason Donald
- C Carlos Santana
- DH Travis Hafner
- OF Grady Sizemore
- OF Michael Brantley
- OF Shin-Soo Choo
You can vote for your favorite players here. Below is further analysis on some Indians players that really deserve to make the team.
The first player that should be looked at is Travis Hafner. Pronk is probably the greatest Indians hitter of all time never to make an All-Star Game (of players who played after 1933). Every Indian higher than Hafner in career home runs, RBI or OPS was selected to at least one All-Star game while on the Tribe. While the All-Star game is not based on career numbers, Hafner has put up multiple seasons where he deserved to go, but was not selected, once getting as far as being a choice for the final vote. This year, among candidates for your DH vote, Hafner ranks first in batting average (.342), tied for first in runs scored (13) and is tied for second in home runs with four. Pronk has been essential to the Indians early season offensive machine and definitely deserves your vote.
Another player worth consideration is Grady Sizemore. A three time All-Star already, Sizemore started late in 2011, but is already blowing everyone else away. In only ten games Grady has 4 home runs and 8 doubles, giving him a batting average of .390, by far the most of any outfield candidate (although he doesn't qualify for the batting title yet). Only 6 of the 42 outfielders have more home runs than Grady's 4 and he is right in the middle of the pack in runs scored and RBI. Grady still has some ground to recover, but he's definitely one to look for in Phoenix this year.
As any Indians fan could tell you, Asdrubal Cabrera has had a very hot start and looks really good against the competition for shortstop on the ballot this year. Asdrubal leads all shortstops with 4 home runs and 15 RBI and is third in runs scored with 14. Asdrubal's batting average of .260 is right towards the top of American shortstops and he also has been an integral part of the Indians offense, hitting second in the lineup and leading the team in RBI and home runs.
Finally, there is one player who was excluded from this year's ballot and I would love to see a write in campaign for this player. Because the players were picked before Jason Donald's injury, Jack Hannahan was left out. Hannahan has been huge for the Indians this year, especially defensively, but also with his bat. Hitting ninth for the Tribe, he has knocked in 14 runs and hit 4 home runs and 4 doubles. Those 4 home runs are more than all but two third basemen on the ballot and his batting average of .290 ranks third. His 14 RBI rank 4th. Realistically looking at the players available at third base, the only ones playing on Jack's level right now are Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre and Maicer Izturis. If you're not going to write in Hannahan, don't waste a vote on Jason Donald, who may not even be on the team before the All-Star break and vote for Izturis. It would be really nice to have a year where Yankees and Red Sox aren't manning every base in the first inning of the All-Star game.
You can vote up to 25 per e-mail address, so get out there and support your Tribe. 2011 All-Star Game Ballot