The early returns on All-Star voting aren’t kind to the Phillies

Bryce Harper is a six-time All-Star. (Ian D’Andrea)

Prior to the 2019 Philadelphia Phillies season, staffers at Phillies Nation debated how many Phillies would represent the team at the 2019 All-Star Game in Cleveland. The over/under for that roundtable was set at three-and-a-half. In hindsight, that number may have been too high.

Major League Baseball released the first National League All-Star voting update Tuesday. The highest Phillies vote-getter thus far has been second baseman Cesar Hernandez, who has received 265,608 votes, which is only good enough for fourth at second base. Catcher J.T. Realmuto, who has received 206,442 votes, is the only Phillie in the top three at his respective position.

Hernandez hit his way into the All-Star Game discussion in May, when he hit .327. The problem for Hernandez is he’s hitting just .118 in June,  so his batting average has dipped from .310 on May 20 to .270 currently. With both Ketel Marte and Mike Moustakas eligible as second baseman in All-Star voting, Hernandez, the longest-tenured Phillie, seemingly faces an uphill battle to make the All-Star team.

Meanwhile, Realmuto, who was an All-Star a season ago, is slashing .273/.331/.454 with 10 home runs 36 RBIs and a 2.6 fWAR in his first season with the Phillies. In addition to eight defensive runs saved, FanGraphs says that Realmuto has been the best qualified offensive catcher in baseball in 2019. Unfortunately for him, he trails Chicago Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras by over 600,000 votes. However, given that he legitimately could be the Phillies only All-Star and that an aging Brian McCann is only slightly ahead of him for second place, he still seems like a pretty good bet to be an All-Star in 2019.

Perhaps most surprising is that Bryce Harper, in his first season with the Phillies, is currently 10th among National League outfield All-Star candidates in votes. Arguably the most recognizable player in the sport, Harper is slashing .251/.356/.466 with 11 home runs, 45 RBIs and 39 walks in 2019. While his offensive numbers have perhaps been a little underwhelming by his standards, FanGraphs still says he’s been the sixth most valuable regular outfielder in the National League in 2019. A year ago, despite hitting .214 at the All-Star Break, Harper rode strong home run and walk totals to a starting spot at the All-Star Game. The difference, perhaps, is last year’s All-Star Game took place at Nationals Park in what turned out to be Harper’s final season with the team, so there was perhaps more motivation to get Harper into the game last year by Nationals fans than there is from Phillies fans in 2019.

Elsewhere, Rhys Hoskins is seventh in a crowded National League first base ballot. Jean Segura, a two-time All-Star, is fifth among National League first basemen. Andrew McCutchen, who suffered a season-ending torn ACL last week in San Diego, was 15th among National League outfielders in voting. Fans, of course, don’t vote on which pitchers are in the All-Star Game, and Hector Neris, who has been the rock of the Phillies bullpen, should at least draw consideration.

This year’s All-Star voting – which was designed to engage fans even more, but isn’t especially easy to understand – will be done in two phases. The first phase, dubbed “The Primary,” will run until 4:00 p.m. ET on June 21. The second phase, which is being called “Election Day,” will open on June 26 at noon eastern and wrap up at 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday June 27. To make it to “Election Day,” you have to be in the top three at your respective position, or the top nine in the outfield. At this juncture, Realmuto is the only Phillie that would qualify for the second round, though Hernandez and Harper aren’t far off. Also worth pointing out is that Contreras’ giant lead in terms of votes for a catcher would reset before the second round, which means Realmuto would still have a chance to win the starting catcher’s job, even if he’s beaten handily in terms of votes in the first round. (If you’re still confused, this is a helpful explanation of the system.)

The Phillies haven’t had multiple All-Star representatives since 2013, when Cliff Lee and Domonic Brown played in the midsummer classic at Citi Field in New York.


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