A Hypothetical Pitching All-Star Ballot by Paul Swydan May 29, 2015 The All-Star Game ballot is no longer available in paper form. This comes to the chagrin of many, but probably didn’t really bother the vast majority of the baseball watching population. The paper ballot certainly had its limitations, and space was chief among them. There simply isn’t much room on the paper ballot, and often you had to squint to read the names, which is all the more difficult on a sunny day when you’re consuming some frosty beverages. Now that baseball has done away with the paper ballot though, it raises the following question: Hey, since All-Star voting is no longer constrained by the size of a paper ballot, isn't it time fans were able to vote for pitchers, too? — Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) May 27, 2015 Joe often comes up with good questions around MLB’s big events, and this was no exception. Given that there is no limit to how long the ballot can be online, and given how slick MLB’s online ballot actually is, there really doesn’t seem like much reason to keep pitchers off the ballot. For one thing, you’d be doing the managers a big favor, as the fans would be doing a lot of the work for them. There will still inevitably be pitchers who start on the Sunday before the game and are thus removed from the proceedings (side note: this bugs me when teams do this, though there really isn’t a good fix for it), not to mention normal injuires, so the managers won’t have their voting power completely stripped away. Still, this would alleviate some of their burden. There’s a chance that it could simply focus their pain on one or two decisions when crappy teams are involved and you need to pick an All-Star, any All-Star from said crappy team, but that seems like a risk worth taking to give fans more of a say. We don’t get to do anything sort of official, but I thought we could have some fun with this, so I thought we’d set up a vote for you, the people. Just how many pitchers should fans be allowed to vote for? On the one hand, you don’t want to bog down the voters, or they may not complete their ballot. No current position on the ballot asks them to go more than three votes deep, and that position — the outfield — has always been the biggest chore for me as a voter. Perhaps it would be best to keep things simple and just go with three starters, one reliever. But for the sake of argument, let’s take a look at how many pitchers have been used in recent All-Star Games: # Pitchers Used in All-Star Game, 2010-2014 Year AL SP AL RP NL SP NL RP 2014 6 5 4 6 2013 4 6 5 3 2012 5 4 7 4 2011 4 5 4 6 2010 6 4 4 5 Average 5.0 4.8 4.8 4.8 Roughly 10 pitchers per team, so let’s bump that starting pitcher tally to five. Still, I can’t shake the feeling that most fans will want to select five relief pitchers on a ballot, so let’s keep it at three. Perhaps the smaller number will even inspire the managers to use fewer of them in the actual game. We’re not just dealing in hypotheticals though, let’s actually do this thing. I know that the ballots are decided at the beginning of the season, but it seems silly to not use the information we have at hand, and the games played thus far this season are certainly useful information. While the ballot will ask you to pick five starters, we’ll only list three per team, because what team has five good starting pitchers? How many have three? Going through the list of qualified starters team by team, you find that many teams only have three qualified starting pitchers, and sometimes the third is someone like Jeremy Guthrie. We’ll start with the AL. If there was one tough omission, it was Danny Salazar. Maybe Anibal Sanchez. Some kind of constraint was necessary to determine eligibility for this exercise, though — and, otherwise, the putting together the ballots was pretty straightforward. Note, there is no way to prevent you from checking more than five boxes, so you’re officially on the honor system. Don’t let me down: Vote for Five Starting Pitchers Per League – American League Garrett Richards Jered Weaver C.J. Wilson Scott Feldman Dallas Keuchel Collin McHugh Jesse Chavez Sonny Gray Scott Kazmir Mark Buehrle R.A. Dickey Drew Hutchison Trevor Bauer Carlos Carrasco Corey Kluber J.A. Happ Felix Hernandez James Paxton Wei-Yin Chen Ubaldo Jimenez Chris Tillman Yovani Gallardo Colby Lewis Nick Martinez Chris Archer Nate Karns Jake Odorizzi Clay Buchholz Wade Miley Rick Porcello Jeremy Guthrie Yordano Ventura Edinson Volquez Shane Greene David Price Alfredo Simon Kyle Gibson Phil Hughes Mike Pelfrey Jose Quintana Chris Sale Jeff Samardzija Nathan Eovaldi Michael Pineda CC Sabathia Poll Maker And now for the NL. Vote For Five Starting Pitchers Per League – National League Shelby Miller Julio Teheran Alex Wood Mike Fiers Jimmy Nelson Wily Peralta John Lackey Lance Lynn Michael Wacha Jake Arrieta Jason Hammel Jon Lester Chase Anderson Rubby De La Rosa Josh Collmenter Brett Anderson Zack Greinke Clayton Kershaw Madison Bumgarner Chris Heston Tim Lincecum Jose Fernandez Dan Haren Tom Koehler Bartolo Colon Jacob deGrom Matt Harvey Gio Gonzalez Max Scherzer Jordan Zimmermann Andrew Cashner Tyson Ross James Shields Cole Hamels Aaron Harang Jerome Williams A.J. Burnett Gerrit Cole Francisco Liriano Johnny Cueto Anthony DeSclafani Mike Leake Jorge De La Rosa Kyle Kendrick Jordan Lyles Poll Maker Here, it was hard leaving Carlos Martinez off, as well as Kyle Hendricks and Jon Niese. And Stephen Strasburg I guess, though he isn’t a qualified pitcher (the answer to all of your questions about why Player X was left off is “he’s not a qualified pitcher.”). Also, two teams didn’t even have three qualified starters — the Marlins and Rockies. So with them, I made an exception and just listed Jose Fernandez and Jorge De La Rosa, respectively. I’m actually going to stop here. If there’s demand for reliever ballots, I will create those next week over at InstaGraphs. Until then, happy voting. Perhaps next year we’ll be able to do it for real. It would be lots of fun. Imagine a team with a dominant rotation like the 70’s Orioles sweeping the starting pitcher ballot, or just having the ability to try and wash marginal All-Stars from the game. That’d be nice too. Either way, it’s time.