All-Star balloting is back.
Voting for the 2019 All-Star Game in Cleveland — set for July 9 — officially opened with the release of the ballot on Tuesday afternoon. While the process was revamped for this season, fans will again have the chance to cast their votes for the All-Star Game starters.
As that process gets underway, here is a look at some facts and figures to know:
• In 2018, approximately 184 million votes were cast, and Astros second baseman Jose Altuve led the Majors in total votes (4,849,630), becoming the first Astros player to do so. Altuve already is one of four American League second basemen to win the fan voting in four straight seasons. Another year would tie him with Robinson Cano (2010-14) and Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar (1996-2000), one behind Hall of Famer Rod Carew’s six straight (1970-75).
• Also last year, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (4,039,219) became the first Atlanta player to lead the National League in votes since Dale Murphy in 1985.
• While Altuve is currently on the injured list, Freeman is enjoying another stellar season. If either one leads his league in voting for the second year in a row, he would be the first to do so since Albert Pujols led the National League in 2009 and ’10 for the Cardinals.
• Pujols, who’s on the AL first-base ballot, has won the fan voting five times in his career, although not since 2010. He has started the All-Star Game eight times, the most of any active player. Seven of those starts came with the Cardinals, plus once with the Angels in ’15.
• At 39 years old, Pujols is currently the oldest active position player in the Majors. He would be the oldest All-Star starter since David Ortiz in 2016. He’d be the oldest to start at first base since Pete Rose in 1982.
The only players to start at first base at Pujols’ age on the day of the All-Star Game or older are Rose (twice) and Carl Yastrzemski.
• Meanwhile, there are three 20-year-olds on the ballot: Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The last 20-year-old position player to start an All-Star Game was Bryce Harper in 2013. He’s one of just four position players that young to start since the first All-Star Game in 1933, along with Ken Griffey Jr. (’90), Frank Robinson (’56) and Al Kaline (’55). There have never been multiple 20-year-old starters in the same All-Star Game.
• If either Vlad Jr. or Tatis Jr. were voted in as a starter, they’d set the record for youngest position player to start an All-Star Game. Kaline currently holds that mark — he was 20 years, 205 days old when he started the 1955 game. Vlad Jr. will be 20 years, 115 days old when this year’s All-Star Game is played, and Tatis Jr. will be 20 years, 188 days old.
• Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. holds the record for most times winning the All-Star fan voting, with 17. The career Oriole won each year from 1984-87, and then 1989-2001.
• No active player is making a serious run at Ripken’s record — at least, not yet. While 13 players have won the fan voting at least 10 times, none are still active. Ichiro Suzuki (nine) was the active leader, but with his retirement early in 2019, Mike Trout takes over that title, having been voted in for six straight seasons.
• One more victory in the fan voting would be the seventh of Trout’s career, pushing him past Carew for the most by an Angels player.
• Because Trout had to miss the 2017 All-Star Game due to injury, he only has five actual starts in the Midsummer Classic. That ties him for second among players on this year’s ballot, behind Pujols. The Phillies’ Harper (NL outfield) and the Mets’ Cano (NL second base) also have five career starts apiece.
Royals catcher Salvador Perez is the only other active player with five career All-Star starts, but he’s not on this year’s ballot as he’s out for the year recovering from Tommy John surgery.
• Trout (six), Harper (five) and Altuve (four) have the longest active streaks of voting victories at one position.
• The player on the ballot who’s made the most All-Star teams overall is the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera (AL first base). Miggy’s been an All-Star 11 times, four in the NL as a Marlin and seven in the AL with Detroit. But his last All-Star nod was in 2016.
• On the NL side of the ballot, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has made the most All-Star teams (nine). He’s back on the NL catcher side looking for his 10th career All-Star nod and third straight.
• Perhaps not surprisingly, the franchise with the most World Series championships all-time also has had the most players voted in as starters, since fan balloting made its permanent return in 1970. In the nearly 50 seasons since then, a Yankee has won the balloting 66 times, 10 more than the second-place Red Sox. Derek Jeter (nine) is the most common Yankees winner. Aaron Judge (two) is the only current Yankee to have won for the team, although Giancarlo Stanton did so once while with the Marlins.
• Since 1970, the Reds lead all NL teams, with 49 balloting winners, although a large percentage of those came in the heyday of the Big Red Machine, thanks to stars such as Johnny Bench (10 wins) and Joe Morgan (seven). The Cardinals (45) are close behind, led by Ozzie Smith (12), although Molina ranks third for the franchise with four victories in the voting.
• The Rockies have had at least one player start the All-Star Game for eight years in a row going back to 2011, the longest streak of any team.
Their likeliest candidate to continue the streak in 2019 is probably Nolan Arenado, who’s started the last two games for the NL at third base and is having another stellar year, but he could face tough competition from the likes of the Cubs’ Kris Bryant and the Nationals’ Anthony Rendon.
• In fact, Arenado and the Indians’ Jose Ramirez in the AL both have won the voting at third base in consecutive seasons. The last time any player won three straight years at the hot corner was Alex Rodriguez for the Yankees from 2004-08.
• In the AL, the team with the longest streak of All-Star starters is the Royals — they’ve had at least one player start the game for five consecutive years going back to 2014.
• The all-time record for total votes in a season is 14,090,188, set by third baseman Josh Donaldson (then of the Blue Jays), in 2015 — the first year in which voting became an online-only affair. Donaldson is the hot-corner representative on the NL ballot for the Braves this year.