June 27th, 2021
With the first phase of All-Star voting complete, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has found yet another race to lead.
Guerrero received 2,704,788 votes, more than any player in Major League Baseball. This just adds another early accolade to Guerrero’s run at a historic season for the Blue Jays, leading the league in home runs (26), RBIs (64) and OPS (1.125).
? 2021 All-Star ballot finalists
After two seasons that didn’t meet the monumental expectations thrust on Guerrero as the sport’s No. 1 prospect, the 22-year-old committed to changing his fitness in the offseason, and the results have gone beyond even the loftiest projections for his 2021 season. Not only is Guerrero hitting for power and launching rockets to all fields, but he’s still showing the incredible plate approach and patience that made him nearly impossible to pitch to in the Minor Leagues.
“He separates himself in the box by controlling the at-bat. He’s in control the whole entire way,” hitting coach Guillermo Martinez said Sunday. “As a player, you can easily want to be the hero. He will be the hero many times, but he’s OK with taking a walk. He understands how people are trying to pitch around him. Yesterday was a good example, they weren’t even trying to throw to him. He simply took the walk and let the guy behind him try to do the work. It’s just amazing.”
Guerrero is one of three finalists at first base as the All-Star Game enters Phase 2 of voting. The slate is wiped clean for Phase 2 of voting at all positions, so Guerrero will be up against Yuli Gurriel and Jose Abreu to determine the starter at first base, with Phase 2 voting opening Monday at noon ET and running until 2 p.m. on Thursday. In a lineup this productive, of course, Guerrero isn’t alone in Phase 2 of voting.
Four other Blue Jays players have been named finalists, including Marcus Semien, who leads all vote-getters at second base in the American League. Since signing his one-year, $18 million deal with the Blue Jays in the offseason, Semien has immediately become a cornerstone of the 2021 team and the decision to bet on himself is already paying off.
Your AL and NL All-Star finalists!
Phase 2 voting starts TOMORROW at noon ET.
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Semien won AL Player of the Month in May and came into Sunday hitting .278 with 18 home runs and an .864 OPS. This production puts Semien back at the level he played at in 2019, when he finished third in AL MVP Award voting with the A’s.
Bo Bichette is a finalist at shortstop along with Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa, making a push for his first career All-Star appearance. Bichette is hitting .282 with 14 home runs and an .811 OPS, showing impressive consistency at the plate with some big hits along the way.
In the outfield, Teoscar Hernández and Randal Grichuk are listed among the nine finalists, three of whom will be named starters. Hernández missed some time earlier this season while on the COVID-19 IL, but he has played very well since returning, carrying over the momentum from his breakout 2020 season.
Grichuk, on the other hand, saw starters reps through the first half of the season with George Springer on the IL and he made the most of it. The 29-year-old is hitting .267 with 14 home runs and a .770 OPS, putting him in line with his recent career totals. Grichuk’s 52 RBIs rank second on the team behind only Guerrero.
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