Wednesday, June 29, 2016

MLB All-Star Voting

The All-Star Break is only a couple of weeks away. The voting for starting position players has been going on for weeks now, and ends later this week.
MLB's All-Star voting process makes very little sense. First, the process starts after only a month or so has gone by in the season. It's hard to tell who is having a decent year based off such a short time period. I generally wait until near the end of June, to get the best idea of which players are actually playing well. Many votes are cast well before that, though, largely due to the constant advertising at ballparks, on game broadcasts, and on the MLB website.

Also, for some reason they want you to vote 35 times, with a maximum of 5 times each day. I suppose forcing you to come back across seven different days could drive some traffic to their website, although I suspect anyone willing to come back to vote every day is a person who already hits MLB.com on a daily basis. But the 35 votes total makes no sense. It drives up the total vote numbers, I suppose, but also is an obvious invitation to hackers that want to stuff the ballot box.

I don't suppose it really matters that the process is silly, since the whole thing is just a fan popularity contest anyhow. I generally try to vote for players actually having good seasons, rather than just picking all the players off my favorite teams or the biggest names. But that clearly isn't the way many people do it, which leads to things like Yadier Molina leading for NL catcher, despite multiple other NL catchers (Wilson Ramos, Jonathan Lucroy, and Buster Posey come to mind) having much better years.

Fortunately, the voting process only matters for the starters. The players and manager get to figure out the rest of the team, so players having really good years generally get to make an appearance, even if they don't get to start. There's always a few players who have a good argument for inclusion that aren't chosen, but not too many.

Regardless of the ridiculous process or the possibility of good players missing out, I still enjoy the All-Star voting process. There's always a player or two that jumps out from the list of statistics, surprising me with how good they're doing in the season thus far. That's a good enough reason to spend a few minutes looking over the player list and picking those having the best year.

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