In a few weeks, the National League will face off against the American League at Cincinnati‘s Great American Ballpark in the MLB All-Star Game. The Midsummer Classic is not just an exhibition, since home-field advantage in the World Series is at stake. 

Common sense would say that with so much riding on that one game, each side would want their best players to be on the field. However, looking at the current leaderboard in the American League, that is not the case.

As of the latest update back on June 8, the Kansas City Royals have seven players—Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and Kendrys Morales—who would start the All-Star Game if the voting concluded today.

The current voting system works like this: Fans around the country can go online and submit up to 35 ballots with the players of their choice. It doesn’t matter what the player’s stats are to that point; if the fan wants to vote for them, they can.

Over in Kansas City—a fanbase that is apparently rejuvenated after last year’s surprise run to the World Series—they are sending in their ballots in ridiculous volume.

Enough talk; let’s delve into the American League starting lineup if the voting ended today.

Salvador Perez is currently the leading vote-getter of anyone in the MLB, and he has more than double the votes of Oakland‘s Stephen Vogt, who sits in second place among catchers. But looking at the stats, Perez is nowhere near the best catcher in the league.

Perez has the fourth-highest wins above replacement (WAR) among AL catchers, trailing Vogt, Russell Martin and Brian McCann. Don’t like WAR? Okay, all three of the others have at least as many homers, better on-base percentages, better slugging percentages and higher wRC+ totals.

Verdict: Perez has not been the best catcher in the American League so far this year, but he has established himself as a solid backstop, so this is one of the lesser injustices that will be discussed. 

At first base, Eric Hosmer has accumulated the most votes. Yes, he is ahead of two-time MVP and former Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera. While that comes as quite a surprise looking at the two players’ overall bodies of work, the All-Star Game is not supposed to take career accomplishments into account, just the current season.

But Cabrera has been better than Hosmer in seemingly every aspect of the game. Cabrera has a higher WAR, more home runs, more RBI, a higher walk rate, a lower strikeout rate, a higher on-base percentage and a higher slugging percentage. 

Hosmer might not even be the second-best first baseman in the league. Mark Teixeira has more than twice as many home runs, more RBI, a higher slugging percentage, a higher walk rate, lower walk rate and a higher wRC+ total than Hosmer.

Verdict: Hosmer is having a breakout season and is finally starting to tap into his massive potential, but he is not the best first baseman in the American League. Cabrera is, and it is a joke that Hosmer has 500,000-plus more votes.

Alcides Escobar is leading the voting at shortstop and, like most of his fellow teammates, it is hard to make a case for him to truly be the best at his position. He does not lead the AL in any statistical category except the lowest strikeout percentage.

He currently sports a terrible .090 isolated power, which is found by subtracting the player’s batting average from his slugging percentage. Fellow shortstops Brad Miller, Xander Bogaerts and Marcus Semien all have been worth more wins than Escobar, per FanGraphs, confirming that Escobar really doesn’t deserve to start the Midsummer Classic.

Verdict: Escobar is not the best shortstop in the American League. But, like Perez, he is an alright choice because no other shortstop has really separated himself from the pack.

The hot corner is where the biggest travesty is happening. Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson possesses the second-highest WAR in all of baseball—he trails only the red-hot Bryce Harper—yet he finds himself behind Mike Moustakas by more than 1.7 million votes.

If the season ended today Donaldson would garner plenty of MVP consideration. Yet he can’t even start the All-Star Game? It is absurd, and I won’t even bother to break down the stats because Donaldson beats Moustakas in nearly every category.

Verdict: It’s a complete joke; Donaldson is a much better all-around player.

In the outfield, Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon would start the All-Star Game along with Mike Trout. Cain has the most votes. To me, this is perfectly fine. Both Royal outfielders rank in the top seven in WAR, so it is understandable why they are toward the top of the leaderboard.

Verdict: While I think Adam Jones and Josh Reddick deserve some serious consideration, the outfield is just fine. 

The final position to decipher is designated hitter. The leader is—no surprise here—a Royal. It’s Kendrys Morales. Maybe there is not a huge crop from which to choose on the ballot since it’s hard to classify the position?

Well, Nelson Cruz is a DH option on the ballot. Cruz has been one of the best hitters in MLB to this point, and there is no way to even make a case for Morales.

Verdict: Similar to my third base verdict, refer to that one for further clarification. I won’t list the categories that Cruz beats Morales in because there are so many, including batting average, isolated power, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, wOBA and wRC+.

Finally, there are two instances even more ridiculous than the ones previously mentioned. Omar Infante is barely trailing Houston star Jose Altuve—who is currently in first place—despite sporting the worst OPS+ in the entire league, per Baseball-Reference.

And for the icing on the cake, Alex Rios, a Royal, is currently fourth in the standings for AL outfielders. Rios has only played 16 games in 2015.

Sixteen games!

It’s not like he has impressed in that limited action, either. He is hitting .220 with one homer and eight RBI.

If this was an exhibition game, this topic wouldn’t even need to be debated. Let the fans see who they want to start. But when the game comes with such huge ramifications—home-field advantage in the World Series—there is no excuse to not get the best players on the field.

Clearly, there is still time left to vote, and hopefully the Kansas City fans have already used up all of their votes, so there might not be seven Royals starting the game in July.

But the fact that it is even being considered is not good for the game of baseball, and it should certainly be changed.

All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.

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