The Toronto Blue Jays should be well represented at the 2021 All-Star Game with five potential options.
After a one-year hiatus, the MLB All-Star Game is back with a few Toronto Blue Jays on the voting ballot.
While normally the controversy is reserved for who gets selected and who gets snubbed, the main storyline this season has been the ballpark in which the game will be played.
The MLB pulled the contest out of Atlanta after Georgia made restrictive and controversial changes to election processes. and an attempt by the state to wrestle back the game was blocked by a judge. Thus, the game will go ahead in Denver, where the thin air at Coors Field should make for an incredible Home Run Derby and an exciting weekend of baseball. Here are the representatives from Toronto that should be there, along with some Blue Jays who currently reside right on the bubble.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Name an offensive category, and there’s a pretty good chance that Guerrero Jr. is at or near the top of it. The slugging first baseman has been the entirety of the Blue Jays’ offence at times this season, and is currently leading the majors in *deep breath* home runs, RBI, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+ and total bases.
A unanimous selection and a starting spot at first base should be in the cards for Vladdy. Currently, Guerrero Jr. is the lead vote-getter in the American League at first base.
The American League’s Player of the Month in May should be a lock to appear in his first career All-Star Game.
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Semien is putting in a career year in his first season with the Blue Jays. His one-year, $18 million contract with the Blue Jays was a prove-it deal, and so far, Semien is doing just that. He is second on the team behind Guerrero Jr. in home runs, and his hitting .286, which would match a career-high if he can sustain it.
Semien’s case is aided by the fact that he plays the traditionally light-hitting position of second base. He has the highest OPS, most home runs and most RBI among his position-mates on the ballot . Just like Guerrero Jr., he is also currently the lead vote-getter at his position.
The dark horses
Perhaps nobody has benefitted from the emergence of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. more than Grichuk.
Hitting lower in the order and with more protection around him, Grichuk has put in a career year thus far. The centre fielder has hit 14 long balls, tying him with Bo Bichette for third on the team. He has also knocked in 52 runs, good for second on the team.
The competition is stiff in the outfield, but with Mike Trout out injured, there’s a spot available that hasn’t been vacant since the Angels’ centre fielder entered the league. Many thought that Grichuk was just a holdover from a previous era on this Jays team. It would be nice to see his perseverance and adaptability rewarded. He currently sits sixth among outfielders in voting.
Hernandez finds himself in a similar boat as Grichuk.
After missing a solid portion of the start of the season recovering from COVID-19, Hernandez has made sure 2020 was no fluke. While his slugging has declined from last year, he’s hitting for a better average, and ensuring that teams can’t pitch around Vladdy as much as they may want to.
The weight placed on defence by voters could spell trouble for Hernandez, but given that he most certainly would have been an All-Star last year, it would be nice to see him make it to Colorado. He is currently fifth in voting, just above Grichuk.
If Bichette was a second baseman, he would be an All-Star in a heartbeat. It’s just the competition at shortstop that could stop him from getting to Denver.
With Xander Bogaerts, Tim Anderson, Joey Wendle, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Carlos Correa contending, Bichette faces a stiff test.
However, if the fans have their way, Bichette will be making the trip. He currently only trails Bogaerts in voting.
The 2021 MLB All-Star Game goes July 13 at Coors Field in Denver.
Do you think the Blue Jays will have five all-stars? Let us know in the comments below.