J.D. Martinez’s fears of losing another “popularity contest” appear to be unfounded — for now, anyway.
Major League Baseball released its first American League ballot update Tuesday for the 2018 MLB All-Star Game, and the Boston Red Sox slugger leads all AL designated hitters by a wide margin: Martinez has 513,415 fan votes, while New York Yankees DH Giancarlo Stanton is in a distant second place with 231,885.
Martinez certainly has earned that distinction; he leads all major league hitters in RBIs (54), is tied for first in home runs (21) and boasts an impressive .311/.373/.643 slash line.
Yet Martinez still isn’t as popular as Mookie Betts. The Red Sox outfielder has garnered a whopping 748,872 votes, the most of any player in both the American and National Leagues through Tuesday. Betts leads the majors with a .354 batting average and ranks second in the AL with 17 homers despite missing 18 games already this season.
The Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout (639,822 votes) and the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge (541,983 votes) round out the AL’s current starting outfield, while Betts’ teammate, Andrew Benintendi, currently sits sixth among AL outfielders with 208,837 votes.
Here’s the AL’s starting lineup through the first voting update:
There’s still plenty of time for things to change, though: Fan voting is open through July 5, and there will be two more voting ballot updates for each league between now and then.
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