Voting’s midway done for the 2017 MLB All-Star Game (July 11) and we’ve got a pretty good idea what the rosters will look like. The National League’s Miami Marlins’ play host this year, and the NL is looking to break their four-year losing streak.
The National League must have gotten a group rate from Chicago, as they’re set to bring the entire Cubs infield, plus Arizona’s Yadier Molina at catcher and Bryce Harper, Dexter Fowler, and Yoenis Cespedes in the outfield.
The American League voting is a little more balanced, thankfully. The Astros look like they’ll be sending second baseman Jose Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa, and right fielder George Springer. America’s large baseball son, Aaron Judge, leads the voting in the outfield, ahead of an injured Mike Trout. Trout hopes to be healthy in time to return for the All-Star game, but he’s never really been injured before, and I’m not sure how long robot repair takes.
In terms of pitchers, fans don’t get to dictate, which is a nice change, since fans vote for people like John Scott. You can assume a large cast of familiar faces: if your team boasts a star pitcher who’s healthy right now and posting a good WAR, he’ll probably come out for an inning in the All-Star Game.
Odds to win the 2017 ASG
The American League is heading for it’s 14th consecutive season with a winning interleague record, and has won four straight All-Star games. There’s a lot of very complicated reasons for this, most of them to do with the controversial designated hitter rule, but suffice it to say that American League teams have not struggled in National League parks the same way NL teams have struggled in AL parks. Give the National League home-field advantage, but carefully consider what that’s worth, really. The Marlins might send, what, two players?
American League: 2/3
National League: 3/2
Odds to win Ted Williams MVP Award
Since 20% of the MVP decision is based on a fan vote, Aaron Judge has to be a favourite. Judge has pulled in more All-Star votes than any other player, and his flashy, home run-derby style of play generally makes him a fan favorite. Two-time defending champion Mike Trout will be in contention if he’s in uniform, you have to suspect that he’ll be at least somewhat diminished so soon after returning from torn ligaments in his thumb.
Bryce Harper is the fan favorite in the National League, but considering that the MVP usually comes from the winning team, and the American League is on a doozy of a winning streak, we’ll mark him down a little.
Aaron Judge: 7/3
Bryce Harper: 4/1
Mike Trout: 6/1
O/U Pitching Changes: 18.5
There are always a lot of pitching changes in the All-Star Game, because the goals of the organisers and players align. The pitchers, some of them among the most valuable athletes in the world, don’t want to run up a pitch count in an exhibition game, and the organisers want to showcase as many pitchers as they can. Last year the National League sent nine pitchers to the mound. The American League sent ten. Look for a high number.
O/U Runs Scored: 7.5
For most sports, the All-Star Game is a laughably high-scoring game: basketball players play AAU defense, hockey players aren’t getting down to block shots; defensive backs aren’t trying to level bone-crushing hits. For baseball, with a few notable exceptions, the All-Star Game is much like any other. Only once in the last ten years has the All-Star game exceeded the league average runs per game.
Odds to win ASG MVP and World Series MVP in 2017
Here you’re balancing between odds to win the All-Star Game and the World Series. Aaron Judge is a great hitter and a fan favorite, but the Yankees are listed fairly long (+1000) to win the World Series, despite their scorching start.
Bryce Harper’s Washington Nationals are among the favorites to win the World Series, but the National League hasn’t produced an ASG MVP in years. The smart pick, I think, is George Springer, a strong hitter and two-time MVP for the Houston Astros, the current favorite to win the World Series.
George Springer: 20/1
Bryce Harper: 28/1
Aaron Judge: 34/1