â†µJoey Votto is going to win the All-Star Final Vote for the National League. Even if the fans of Major League Baseball weren't smart enough to vote for Votto – which they are – there's no way the league wouldn't figure out some way to have the Cincinnati slugger on the team. Heck, they may give Heath Bell's suddenly-unnecessary votes to Votto to make the numbers work out in his favor. â†µ
â†µWith the voting for the MLB Final Vote locking down today at 4 p.m. ET, Votto maintains his NL lead ahead of Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (more on him in a moment) and Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who, though the people of Denver don't want to hear this, has no shot. Billy Wagner seems to have fallen into a distant fourth, which now that Heath Bell was plucked from the voting process midway through, is actually last place. â†µâ†µ
â†µVotto leads the National League in slugging (.588), OPS (1.006), home runs (21) and is fifth in RBI (59) for the first-place Reds. The fact that Votto is even in this situation is rather ridiculous. Or is it? Let's put on our conspiratorial hats, shall we? â†µâ†µ
â†µControversy breeds conversation, so it is that implausible to think that MLB had a hand in keeping Votto off the original roster on purpose? Putting Ryan Howard in the Final Vote isn't getting anyone excited. Heck, putting Omar Infante in the vote may not even get Omar Infante excited. But snubbing a guy like Votto makes sense, because it galvanizes the baseball world into righting this wrong, thereby making Votto into a far more conspicuous choice at the All-Star Game than had he been the 31st schlub named to the roster. We, the baseball public, picked him, and in turn, expedited his path to notoriety, and ultimately, stardom. â†µâ†µ
â†µAs for Zimmerman, he should be on the team as well, inexplicably passed over for Infante. I mean, this makes zero sense. Zimmerman is batting .296 with a .917 OPS and 16 home runs with 47 RBI. Sure, some of that, including yet another walk-off home run, has come since the All-Star team was selected, but comparing numbers with Infante is just eye-opening to think which player made the All-Star team. Infante is batting .307, sure, but has an OPS of .706 and one home run with 22 RBI. Not a power hitter, is he? Fine, he has 26 fewer hits than Zimmerman, scored more than half as many runs and has eight doubles to Zimmerman's 17. â†µâ†µ
â†µPeople were so concerned about Stephen Strasburg getting snubbed they probably never thought that his teammate, Zimmerman, wouldn't make the roster. With Votto in the Final Vote with him, it's unlikely Zimmerman can make up the overwhelming support to get enough last-minute votes and make the team. â†µâ†µ
â†µFor what it's worth, the American league vote is close, coming down to Nick Swisher and Kevin Youkilis, with Paul Kornerko having a really distant chance to sneak away with the slot. What does that mean? Well, it means yet another Red Sox or Yankees player on the ballot and the fifth time in nine years that the Final Vote selection came from one of those two squads. That's a wrong that's hard to be righted. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.