Fish fans love Infante more than Reyes, and other All-Star oddities
The first All-Star voting totals are out, and as usual there are some surprises. Like Omar Infante getting more votes than his high-priced Marlins teammates, Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez (or emerging star Giancarlo Stanton). Or Albert Pujols ranking fifth among American League first basemen, and Adrian Gonzalez not even making the top five.
|Omar Infante is feeling the love from fans in South Florida. (Getty Images)|
The Miami Marlins are spending $25 million this year on the left side of their infield.
The fans prefer the $4 million guy on the right side.
That's not entirely true, but unheralded second baseman Omar Infante has received more All-Star votes thus far than shortstop Jose Reyes or third baseman Hanley Ramirez .
Obviously, the competition at shortstop (Troy Tulowitzki) and third base ( David Wright ) is stronger than at second base (where Dan Uggla of the Atlanta Braves has the early lead over Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Reds ). Still, it's a little shocking to see Infante (512,049 votes) get more support than Reyes (425,682) or Ramirez (who didn't even get enough votes to make the top five at third base).
Also shocking -- or at least notable -- about the first round of results released Tuesday by Major League Baseball:
-- The fans noticed Melky Cabrera 's strong May with the San Francisco Giants , giving him enough votes (714,642) that he placed fifth in the National League outfield, behind much bigger stars Matt Kemp, Carlos Beltran , Ryan Braun and Andre Ethier .
-- After his turbulent winter, Braun placed lower than last year, but still had strong support. And it obviously wasn't just from Milwaukee Brewers fans, since no other Brewer player came close to his total.
-- A year ago at this time, Jose Bautista led all vote-getters. He ended up as the leading vote-getter, too, the first Blue Jay ever to win that honor. This year: He wouldn't even make the starting American League outfield, placing fourth in the voting so far.
-- The Philadelphia Phillies , who have had at least one player elected to the NL team every year since 2005, don't have anyone close in early balloting this year. Carlos Ruiz is fourth among catchers (behind Yadier Molina , Buster Posey and Brian McCann ), while Hunter Pence ranks 12th among outfielders.
-- Alex Rodriguez , who has been voted to more All-Star teams (12) than any other active player, is fourth in the American League balloting at third base, behind Adrian Beltre and Miguel Cabrera , but also behind Evan Longoria, who has spent most of the season on the disabled list.
-- While Melky Cabrera's strong May got noticed, Giancarlo Stanton 's did not. Stanton didn't even make the top 15 vote-getters in the National League outfield.
-- A year ago with the St. Louis Cardinals , Albert Pujols led the National League voting at first base (although Prince Fielder eventually overtook him). This year with the Los Angeles Angels , Pujols is fifth among AL first basemen, behind Fielder, Mark Teixeira , Paul Konerko and Mitch Moreland . Adrian Gonzalez , who won the fan voting at first base last year, didn't even make the top five.
-- The Kansas City Royals , who host this year's game, obviously have made a strong push to get their fans to vote. Royals totals were higher than expected, although not high enough where any Royals threaten to start the game. Meanwhile, the San Diego Padres didn't get enough votes to place any of their players among the leaders, the only one of the 30 teams that had no one listed.
-- Worth remembering: These are early totals. Of the 17 players who led when the first balloting was released last year, only nine ended up being voted as All-Star starters.