Luis Arraez is going back to the MLB All-Star Game for the second straight year—that part has been a forgone conclusion for weeks. But this time, the Miami Marlins leadoff man made it in as a starter, thanks to the support of the voting public. He beat out Ozzie Albies of the Atlanta Braves in Phase 2 of fan voting as announced on ESPN Thursday night.
Historically, it’s been rare for any Marlins player to win an international “popularity contest” like this. However, Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Arraez have now gone back-to-back as fan-elected NL second basemen. (Chisholm was unable to participate in the 2022 Midsummer Classic due to a stress fracture in his back.)
Regardless of fan sentiment, Arraez was guaranteed to make it onto the roster somehow. He’s on the short list of best offensive players in the league this season, entering Thursday with a .396/.447/.490 slash line (158 wRC+) through 75 games. Arraez is the first qualified major leaguer since Chipper Jones (2008) to seriously flirt with a .400 batting average this deep into a season, which has ensured his production is being noticed outside of South Florida and his former home of Minnesota.
“I don’t think there’s anyone more deserving, at least on our team, to start and represent our ballclub,” manager Skip Schumaker said in reaction to the voting results, “and I think he represents what we’re all about. The type of player he is, he plays the game the right way. It’s not just the production, but all the work he puts in—a winning type of player.”
Ironically, the news comes out on a night when Arraez isn’t occupying his usual position. Due to the absences of Garrett Cooper (illness) and Yuli Gurriel (facial injury) on Thursday, the Marlins deployed Arraez as their starting first baseman for only the second time this season.
Arraez will likely have a teammate accompanying him on the trip to Seattle. J.D. Martinez of the Los Angeles Dodgers is the fan-elected NL designated hitter. Despite cooling off recently, Jorge Soler has a very strong statistical case to be picked as the reserve at the position.
Here is the full list of starting position players for the All-Star Game.
Photo courtesy of Miami Marlins