Between now and July 4, baseball fans are going to be spending hours meticulously filling out copious amounts All-Star ballots. While home run lumberjacks like Justin Upton and KO kings such as Yu Darvish are bound to get the nod, an intriguing movement is picking up steam.
No, it’s not more ridiculous than the backhanded campaign to start Mariano Rivera in his final Summer Classic. This one is a bit premature. Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig’s 13-game MLB career is barely older than baby Kimye and he has barely played 40 games in the minors, but that hasn't stopped fans from charging the hype machine and pushing his All-Star candidacy.
Puig-mania doesn’t have the mainstream appeal yet, but within the baseball community, he’s their Jeremy Lin. Lin was the epitome of greatness in small sample size. For those first few weeks, he was arguably the most important player in the NBA and remains an international icon to this day.
Likewise, Yasiel Puig’s start to his career is one of the best in major league history. Although, he’s not sleeping on any couches with his 7-year, $42 million contract. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. He deserves votes, but he got a late start in the game. The top three vote-getters at each position get voted in and currently St. Louis' Carlos Beltran is holding down the third spot among outfielders. Bryce Harper is slumping, but he's more deserving and the aforementioned Upton is leading the field. There's a legit case for Puig, but catching any of those three will be extremely difficult in the fan vote. On the other hand, nobody would mind him bumping Ryan Braun down to fifth place. His best longshot approach may be to continue impressing and get in as a manager's selection.
Puig’s got a maximum of 16 games left to fluff his numbers and state his own case on the diamond. However, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan is already making the case for him..
Via Yahoo Sports:
Around this time last year, I argued vehemently on behalf of Trout and Harper's inclusion despite neither debuting until April 28. Ultimately, both did make it, and the game was better for having them there. I pushed for Strasburg two seasons before. He didn't make it. But hey: Nobody ever will forget that fifth inning featuring Hong-Chih Kuo and Heath Bell. What a moment!
The aim of every All-Star game should be to court dynamic moments. We remember Bo Jackson leading off the 1989 game because he hit a 450-foot home run to dead center, the sort of thing Puig and few others can do. The sooner baseball treats this as what it is – an exhibition game – and emphasizes including the players people want to see, the likelier the league is to see any sort of renaissance or resurgence in interest.