Chicago Cubs: National League loaded in the outfield
The other possible crunch can be by position. Matt Kemp, Bryce Harper and Nick Markakis were voted in as the starters. Almora couldn’t be voted in as a starter. He was left off the ballot because Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and Kyle Schwarber were the three Cubs listed as outfielders on the All-Star ballot. Charlie Blackmon, Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich were named as the reserve outfielders.
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Sometimes the All-Star rosters end up with only corner outfielders, but that’s not the case this year. All three reserve outfielders have played center field this season. And all three were their teams’ starting center fielder last year. So an excellent defensive center fielder wasn’t specifically needed on the bench of this year’s All-Star team.
Blackmon isn’t hitting nearly as well as he did last season. Last season Blackmon finished 5th in the MVP voting. He lead the league in hits, runs, triples and total bases. This season Blackmon’s batting average and on base percentage are both over 50 points lower. And his slugging percentage is over 100 points lower.
Player ballots contribute to selecting the reserves for the All-Star game. Perhaps many of the players choose to honor Blackmon as a veteran who had a great year last season rather than Almora as a younger player who is having a great first half of this season.