The Chicago Cubs are this year’s Kansas City Royals when it comes to All-Star voting after the first release of the fans’ choice with less than a month remaining in balloting for the July 12 game in San Diego.
The Cubs, owners of the majors’ top win-loss record, currently have five players penciled in to start at Petco Park. The Royals have three.
Overall NL vote leader Anthony Rizzo (1B) and Ben Zobrist (2B) are sizable leaders at their positions in those returns, while Kris Bryant (3B) and Dexter Fowler (second in OF) also seem to be the comfortable front-runners early. Meanwhile, SS Addison Russell led Colorado rookie slugger Trevor Story by just 10,000 votes in a two-player race that will likely go down to the final week.
Kansas City’s current leaders on the American side of the tab are popular Sal Perez, who is leading not only the vote at catcher, but the entire AL vote altogether, and Eric Hosmer, who has a comfortable lead early at first, while Lorenzo Cain sits second in a wide-open OF vote.
Other AL vote leaders include 2B Jose Altuve (HOU), 3B Manny Machado (BAL) and DH David Ortiz (BOS). In the AL OF, Mike Trout is the top vote getter, while Orioles’ slugger Mark Trumbo is getting his due respect, sitting third. Other OF contenders to start are Jackie Bradley Jr. (BOS), Jose Bautista (TOR) and Alex Gordon (KC). At SS Xander Bogaerts (BOS) and Alicides Escobar (KC) are virtually tied.
In the NL voting, Yadier Molina (STL) leads Buster Posey (SF) in a likely two-man race at catcher, while other OF leaders Bryce Harper and Yoenis Cespedes are going to be hard to supplant.
DFS Starting Pitchers
Wednesday: Max Scherzer (WAS) at the White Sox, while Madison Bumgarner (SF) is home against the Red Sox • Look to play Jake Odorizzi (TB) on the road at Arizona.
Thursday: The Jays’ Marcus Stroman has limited these Orioles to just a .217 mark over 48 PAs, while our No. 2 is Gio Gonzalez (WAS) on the road at the ChiSox.
Friday: Clayton Kershaw (LAD) has held the Giants to a .148 average over a healthy 238 ABs, while Stephen Strasburg has limited the Phillies to a .223 mark over 123 ABs • Consider substituting Jon Gray (COL) who has racked up double-digit strikeout totals in his last two starts against the Padres.
Saturday: Can’t pass on Jake Arrieta (CUB) at Atlanta, while Steven Matz (NYM) was sharp against the Brewers in his debut against them • Jose Fernandez (MIA) at Arizona and Matt Shoemaker (LAA) have held the Indians to a .154 mark with 10 Ks over 30 PAs.
Sunday: Carlos Carrasco (CLE) has held the Angels to a 3-for-30 mark with 11 strikeouts, while Chris Archer (TB) has limited the Astros to just a .172 average with 22 Ks over 64 ABs.
DFS Position Players
Wednesday: San Diego’s Yan Solarte is 5-for-6 against the Braves’ Julio Teheran • Adam Jones is 4-for-9 with two homers against the Royals’ Edinson Volquez • The Yanks’ Alex Rodriguez is 11-for-29 with 5 HRs against the Angels’ Jered Weaver • Ian Kinsler against the Jays’ R.A. Dickey is 8-for-19 with 3 HRs • Colby Rasmus is 7-for-15 against Rangers’ comebacker Yu Darvish • the Mets’ Asdrubal Cabrera is 12-for-24 against the Pirates’ Francisco Liriano.
Avoid: The Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes is just 1-for-15 against Liriano.
Thursday: Kyle Seager (SEA) is 5-for-9 with four extra-base hits against the Indians’ Josh Tomlin, while teammate Robby Cano is 5-for-11 with three extra-base hits • The Angels’ Albert Pujols and Mike Trout are a combined 10-for-26 off the Yanks’ Ivan Nova • The Rangers’ Prince Fielder is 8-for-11 against the Astros’ Collin McHugh, while teammate Adrian Beltre is 6-for-14.
Avoid: The Angels’ Yunel Escobar is 2-for-23 against Nova.
Friday: Freddie Freeman is 5-for-8 with 2 HRs against the Cubs’ Jason Hammel • Andrew McCutchen (PIT) is 12-for-22 against the Cards’ Michael Wacha • NYY catcher Brian McCann is an impressive 20-for-43 with 10 extra-base hits against the Tigers’ Mike Pelfrey • Crushing David Ortiz (BOS) is 12-for-32 with 4 HRs against the Twins’ Ervin Santana • The Cards’ Matt Carpenter is 9-for-24 with 3 HRs against Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole • Robby Cano (SEA) is 15-for-40 against the Rangers’ Derek Holland • LA’s Chase Utley is 10-for-26 against resurgent Giants P Johnny Cueto • Lorenzo Cain (KC) is 16-for-46 with 3 HRs against White Sox star Chris Sale.
Avoid: The Jays’ Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista are a combined 0-for-17 against the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman.
Saturday: J.D. Martinez (DET) is 4-for-6 with four extra-base hits against the Yanks’ Masahiro Tanaka • The Giants’ Brandon Belt is 5-for-10 with 3 HRs against the Dodgers’ Scott Kazmir • The Mets’ Curtis Granderson (NYM) is 5-for-11 with four extra-base hits against the Brewers’ Wily Peralta • The Bucs’ Gregory Polanco is 8-for-14 against the Cards’ Carlos Martinez • Rodriguez (NYY) is 11-for-32 with 5 HRs against the Tigers’ Justin Verlander • Utley (LAD) is 7-for-18 with 5 extra-base hits against the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija • Royals C Sal Perez is 18-for-48 with 7 extra-base hits against White Sox SP Jose Quintana.
Sunday: Chris Davis (BAL) is 5-for-11 with 2 HRs against the Blue Jays’ Aaron Sanchez • Miguel Cabrera (DET) is 4-for-7 against the Yanks’ Michael Pineda • The Bucs’ David Freese is 9-for-19 against the Cards’ Mike Leake • Arizona SS hit-machine Jean Segura is 5-for-9 against the Marlins’ Adam Conley • The White Sox’s Jose Abreu and Austin Jackson are 16-for-49 against KC’s Danny Duffy.
Ramon Scott is a Southern California-based sportswriter, covering the preps to the pros for over 25 years. Email: [email protected]