MLBbro All-Stars Live In The American League

MLBbro All-Stars Live In The American League

After some rough years, MLB may be on the verge of reversing a troubling trend.

When Major League Baseball announced its finalists for the second round of voting, only six Black players made the cut, and five of those came from the American League.

Thats six out of 51.

American League:

2B – Marcus Semien, Toronto Blue Jays

OF – Aaron Judge, New York Yankees; Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins; Michael Brantley, Houston Astros; Cedric Mullins, Baltimore Orioles

National League:

OF – Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers

 

 

Semien is the only player who is currently the leading vote-getter at his position, while Judge, Buxton, and Brantley sit second through fourth in the AL outfield voting.

That being said, at least four of those six should have their names called when the starting lineups are announced this Thursday night, with those who miss out likely being named as reserves.

Counting position players only, there’s been an average of just over six Black All-Stars per year since the 2011 season.

Things looked great at the start of the decade with nine players making appearances in the the Midsummer Classic.

However, since the retirement of some perennial all-stars like Derek Jeter, Torii Hunter, and Prince Fielder, the numbers have started to trail off.

 


There haven’t been more than six Black American players in any All-Star game since 2015, with a low of four in both 2016 and 2019.

This season could be different as a new generation of stars is starting to find its way into the stratosphere.

We’ve seen breakout performances from a number of players who, if they don’t make the team this season, should in the near future.

Semien, Buxton, and Mullins would all be deserving first-time selections.

In an offseason where the Toronto Blue Jays acquired three-time all-star George Springer, it’s been Marcus Semien who has been the most impactful newcomer to the Jays’ lineup.

With Springer limited to 32 at-bats in 2021, Semien has been Toronto’s second-best player all season long. Batting .281 with 18 home runs, 45 RBI, and 37 extra base hits, he ranks first among AL second basemen in hits (87), doubles (18), homeruns (18), RBI (45), and slugging percentage (.519). He’s also second in both runs scored and OPS.

For Buxton, the fan vote will likely have to come through in order for him to be selected. Due to injuries, the Minnesota Twins outfielder has been limited to 27 games.

In those 27 games Buxton has been brilliant. 

Over just 103 at-bats, “Buck” has been slashing like Kordell Stewart, putting up a .369/.409/.767 stat line, with 10 home runs. Nelson Cruz leads the Twins with 17, in 131 more ABs. Buxton still remains tied for second on the team with 11 doubles and ranks fifth in total bases.

With Cruz having another outstanding season at the age of 40, Buxton probably won’t get a nod as a reserve, so stuffing the ballot box looks like a must.

Like Buxton, Cedric Mullins has put it all together in 2021, but unlike him, Mullins has been available day-in and day-out for the Baltimore Orioles.

 

In what has so far been a forgettable 2021 season, Mullins has been one of the lone bright spots for the O’s.

He’s flourished in his role as Baltimore’s leadoff man and has played Gold Glove-caliber defense in center field.

His .315 batting average is 50 points higher than his career mark, and he’s posting highs in on-base percentage (.383), slugging (.537), and OPS (.920).

Among AL outfielders, he ranks in the top ten in batting average, runs (43), doubles (21), triples (3), home runs (13), and walks (30), while leading them all with 94 base hits and 14 stolen bases. Throw in the fact that he’s doing it for the offense with the second worst production in the league, and Mullins could be considered an MVP candidate if Baltimore were winning. 

If he isn’t in Colorado, we riot.

Other newcomers like Tony Kemp of the Oakland A’s, LaMonte Wade across the bay in San Francisco, Bobby Bradley of the Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, Daz Cameron and Akil Baddoo in Detroit, Seattle’s Shed Long Jr. and JP Crawford, Trent Grisham and Tommy Pham in San Diego, and so on, are also coming.

 

 

For the last few years it looked like baseball’s well of Black and brown talent was drying up.

This season, the efforts of so many organizations and players are starting to bear fruit as another generation of ballplayers tries to make a name for itself.

All-Stars or not, they’ve earned our attention and the prospects for the game of baseball thriving once more in the Black community look better with each highlight one of them produces. 

Byron Buxton Was Going To Be A First Time All-Star | Then He Got Injured… Again

Byron Buxton Was Going To Be A First Time All-Star | Then He Got Injured… Again

After getting hit by a pitch on Monday during a game against the Cincinnati Reds, the Twins’ center fielder suffered what is known as a boxer’s fracture in his left pinky, and the recovery time will likely keep him out of the 2021 All-Star Game.

The injury comes just three days after Buxton returned from the injury list with a bang after recovering from a hip strain.

 

 

No one can deny that it’s tough to see a player miss significant time due to injury, but this news about Buxton is a harder pill to swallow for one very clear reason: he’s constantly on the injured list. It feels like he can’t catch a break. Matter of fact, to be exact, he’s been on the injured list 15 times since getting drafted. That’s a big number for anyone, but it hits a little differently when the player is as good as Buxton is. 

As the second overall pick in the 2012 draft, Buxton has lived up to the hype when he’s healthy. Despite only playing in 27 games this season, his numbers reflect his talent.

 

 

He’s batting .369 with 19 RBI, 10 home runs and a fielding percentage of .986. Since making his debut with the Twins in 2015, he only has one season of at least 100 games played. He was named a Gold Glove winner during that same 2017 season.

So what’s next for Buxton? Unfortunately, there is no way to answer that as of now. According to Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, Buxton is “beyond upset about it.”  The Twins have yet to know if Buxton’s injury will require surgery, and they also don’t know how long it will be until he’s cleared to play again. 

Unfortunately, questions about how long Buxton will recover from this injury also mean that Buxton’s availability for the upcoming All-Star Game is one giant question mark.

For Buxton, the timing couldn’t be any worse, especially considering that his injury occurred exactly one week after the standings for the first phase of voting results were made public. 

The way the voting works is quite simple. The three position players with the most votes advance to the second phase, and the top nine outfielders in each league will advance as well.

Last Monday’s standings had Buxton listed as third amongst the top nine outfielders in the American League. The two players above him were Mike Trout, who had 15 percent of the votes, and Aaron Judge, who had eleven percent. Buxton earned eight percent of the votes. However, the first phase of voting doesn’t officially end until Sunday, June 27. 

 

 

With this injury now being the deciding factor on whether or not Buxton will be available, there is a strong possibility that he drops from his current spot on the list. Unlike Trout and Judge, this could have been his first year as an MLB All-Star.