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All-Star voting droughts that could end in 2023

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Phase 2 of balloting for the 2023 All-Star Game is underway, and for some teams and fanbases, that means opportunities to end some significant droughts.

Responsibility for voting in the starting All-Star position players permanently returned to the fans in 1970, and in that time, certain teams have dominated certain positions. Others have endured long stretches without a representative.

Below is a look at the 10 current finalists looking to stop the longest dry spells. Each player is listed along with the most recent player to win the fan vote for that team at that position.

Not surprisingly, the two most recent expansion teams (the D-backs and Rays), are tied for the fewest All-Star voting winners since 1970, with six apiece. And Tampa Bay has never had a player come out on top at first base, second base or shortstop. (In fact, because of a few who missed out due to injury, only three Rays position players have ever actually started a Midsummer Classic.) That would all change if Díaz can knock off the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in Phase 2 voting, and he’s certainly a worthy contender as one of the primary forces behind Tampa Bay’s sensational first half.

Other than DH (which has not been an available spot every year), shortstop is the one position where the Blue Jays have never fielded an All-Star starter. Bichette could be the first, if he can hold off the Rangers’ Corey Seager in Phase 2. The 25-year-old Bichette was an All-Star reserve in 2021, and he’s enjoying a career year so far in ‘23. Bichette has already blown past the 100-hit mark and looks to be well on his way to leading the AL in that category for a third straight season.

Given their market size, prominence and success, one might expect that the Dodgers would dominate All-Star voting. But that’s not really the case. The franchise ranks tied for 10th in voting winners since 1970, and most of its recent winners have been outfielders. Its longest drought actually comes at third base — since Ron Cey in 1977 — but Max Muncy didn’t quite make the Phase 2 cut this year. Freeman did, though, and he’ll go head to head with the Braves’ Matt Olson, trying to give the Dodgers their first starting All-Star first baseman since Garvey went on a seven-year streak from 1974-80.

The Braves did have an All-Star starting shortstop more recently than this — Edgar Renteria in 2006 — but that was only because voting winner José Reyes of the Mets sat out due to injury. In fact, while 35 Braves have won the All-Star vote at their positions since 1970, Weiss is the only one to do so at shortstop. That was Weiss’ first and only All-Star selection, and it came at age 34. Arcia, who will have to take down the Mets’ Francisco Lindor in Phase 2 to earn his first trip, is enjoying a breakout campaign at age 28 following the offseason departure of Dansby Swanson.

As noted above, the D-backs’ history of starting position players in the All-Star Game is as limited as anyone’s, due in part to only joining the league in 1998, and three of their six winners came in 2001 or earlier. Arizona has never had a catcher or shortstop start the game, and the club’s only outfielder was Gonzalez, who in 2001 was on his way to launching 57 home runs. Neither Carroll nor Gurriel is going to do that in 2023, but both have been crushing the ball for the first-place D-backs, with Carroll establishing himself as not only an NL Rookie of the Year Award favorite but also a serious NL MVP candidate. They are vying with Mookie Betts and Michael Harris II to determine who will start alongside Ronald Acuña Jr.

Unlike the Blue Jays, the Rangers have had a shortstop start the All-Star Game before — but not for a long time. Rodriguez spent three seasons in Texas (2001-03) and won the fan vote in each of them. He’s the only Rangers shortstop besides Toby Harrah (1976) to accomplish the feat. Only one Texas player has won a starting position in the past nine All-Star Games (Hunter Pence at DH in 2019), but things could look quite different in ’23. The club has five finalists — one at every position except first base — with Seager looking to topple Bichette at short.

In February 2004, the Rangers traded A-Rod to the Yankees for Soriano, who had already started the past two All-Star Games at second base. Soriano continued that trend in Texas, joining Julio Franco (1989) as the only Rangers to win the fan voting at that position. Semien, now in his second season with the club after signing as a free agent, could be the third if he can beat out Toronto’s Whit Merrifield.

Will Smith, Dodgers (NL C)
Last: Russell Martin (2007)

The NL All-Star team’s starting catcher has been a Dodger 12 times in total, with Hall of Famers Roy Campanella (1950-54) and Mike Piazza (1994-97) both going on streaks of at least four seasons. But Piazza was traded prior to the 1998 Midsummer Classic, and Martin is the only Dodger to do the honors behind the plate since then. Smith will have a tough task against Atlanta’s Sean Murphy in Phase 2 but either way should wind up nabbing his first career selection to the All-Star roster given his strong 2023.

Chipper started five All-Star Games at third base, winning the fan vote four times (and getting the job as an injury replacement once). The last time came at age 36 in 2008. After his retirement, Atlanta struggled to find a solution at the hot corner — until Riley arrived. The 26-year-old nabbed his first All-Star selection a year ago and now faces off against the Cardinals’ Nolan Arenado with a starting job on the line.

Crawford remains the only Rays outfielder to win the fan vote, and that came in his final season with Tampa Bay before he left as a free agent. Arozarena has been an ALCS MVP and an AL Rookie of the Year Award winner for the Rays, but he has not made an All-Star team before. Now he has a shot to start as one of six finalists for three spots, in a field that also includes longtime Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (currently a Blue Jay).

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