Voting for the 2018 MLB All-Star game is officially open, and that means it’s time to give Jose Ramirez his second consecutive start at third base, Corey Kluber his third consecutive trip to the All-Star game, and rightfully crown Francisco Lindor as the American League’s starting shortstop.
Those first two should be no-brainers. No one in the AL is even close to Ramirez’s talent level with Manny Machado shifting to shortstop, and at this point he’s received so much underrated talk, that’s becoming pretty evenly rated. He leads all AL third basemen in home runs (18), wRC+ (174) and overall FanGraphs WAR (4.0). The next closest third baseman in terms of fWAR — which, granted, is an imperfect measurement of a player in the midst of a season — is Detroit Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario. Get out of here with that, that’s not a real person, that’s a Pokémon and he’s not going to start over Jose Ramirez.
Corey Kluber probably won’t be the starting pitcher with Justin Verlander pitching the way he is as a 35-year-old on the defending World Champion Houston Astros, but there’s no doubt he’ll be somehere on the pitching staff with his 2.02 earned run average, second best in the AL.
You should be voting until you’re blue in the fingers for every Indians player, to be honest, but no one needs your vote more than Francisco Lindor. It shouldn’t be that way — he’s clearly the American League’s best overall shortstop right now — but that won’t stop people from voting for Carlos Correa just because, and it certainly won’t stop people from voting for Manny Machado’s overwhelming offensive game and shortstop-leading 16 home runs. Lindor made it to the All-Star game in 2016 and 2017, but only as a reserve. Xander Bogaearts beat him out in 2016 and Correa started the game in 2017.
It’s time for Lindor to get a start, and it’s time to vote for him like crazy. Up to 35 times, in fact, which is the maximum allowed by Major League Baseball for any one person. Granted, that is an arbitrary number because the MLB knows they can’t really stop you from voting a hundred times every day if you were really dedicated enough, but they know most normal people will vote once or twice and call it day, while the more hardcore voters will probably get to about 20 times and realize they’d rather be playing Mario Kart or something.