The All-Star Game polls are officially open, but that doesn’t mean Dodger fans will be rushing to fill their ballots with Dodgers uniforms.
At least one Dodger already has a spot secured. Dave Roberts will be at the helm of the National League squad when they take the field in Washington, DC on July 17. It’s his reward for taking the Dodgers to the 2017 World Series. (He should feel at ease considering he’ll get to make about 600 pitching changes in this game alone.)
It’s up to fans, however, to fill out his lineup card. The Dodgers disappointing offense this season has created a scarcity of viable contenders for All-Star spots. So who should be rewarded with support from Dodger fans’ 5-ballots per day? There’s at least one deserving candidate on the Dodgers (and a few hazy maybes).
The Comeback Kid
Ok, Matt Kemp isn’t exactly a kid anymore, but he is playing with an invigorating youthful energy. Matt Kemp’s return to dominance at the plate is hands down the Dodgers’ best storyline of 2018. He isn’t just leading the Dodgers in hitting, he’s leading the National League. His .343 AVG on June 1 leads NL outfielders and is tied with the Reds’ Scooter Gennett among all NL hitters. His .920 OPS is second among outfielders in the league, just .006 points behind Bryce Harper (he is actually besting Harper in SLG % alone).
It is clear that Kemp has devoured the chip that was once on his shoulder. It’s given him the energy needed to launch his early-season campaign. His defense hasn’t been perfect, but he has at least exceeded the cellar floor expectations he’d been saddled with. Before the season started Dodgers’ GM Farhan Zaidi was quoted as saying “A motivated Matt Kemp can help a lot of teams in baseball.” Kemp’s .436 AVG with RISP has proved that statement as prophetic. At this point, Matt Kemp should be earning every baseball fan’s All-Star vote, not just Dodger fans’.
The Hazy Maybes
It’s not possible to make anything close to that definitive statement for the rest of the ballot eligible Dodgers. Cody Bellinger, Christ Taylor, and Yasiel Puig are still far from meeting previous expectations. Yasmani Grandal started the season hot but has tapered since. Justin Turner hasn’t played enough since returning from the DL to convince anyone he deserves a nod ahead of a red-hot Nolan Arenado.
When compared to the talent in the rest of the league, votes may prove to be scarce for this squad. This isn’t a big deal for most fans, who are more worried about their team winning games, not All-Star spots.
There are some though, who want to see their favorite team fill out the entire roster. Those fans tend to be a bit younger and have a reasoning similar to young Ian below:
Ian is bummed the Dodgers lost but there’s still important matters to discuss, like who should make the All-Star team. Who’s got your vote Ian? pic.twitter.com/AQFq2I5xe0
— Dodgers Nation Media (@DodgersMedia) June 1, 2018
Fans can vote at dodgers.com/Vote up to 35 times until polls close on July 5, 2018 at 8:49 PM P.T.