My favorite thing about the MLB All-Star ballot is that you get 35 votes. Thirty-five! That is a lot of different permutations. (Literally trillions.) I don't have any data on this, but I'm going to guess that the vast majority of people who actually fill out all 35 ballots -- five a day! -- do not in fact vary their ballots much. You pick a lineup you like -- or you just pick the guys who play for your favorite team -- and you enter it five times, and then you do it again the next day and the next day and the next day … until you've filled out your 35. How does anyone have 35 different opinions on the All-Star ballot?
Well, I'm going to try to help you with that one. Here are 17 different ways -- you can do each of these twice, or, of course, just make up your own -- to fill out your All-Star ballot. Some are legitimate, some are stupid, some use math, some use random chance. But they all have one thing in common: They all count just as much as any other vote.
So come with me, as we get some variety in this thing.
All right, so I have to get this one out of my system: My favorite team, and the team I'd want them most to face in the World Series. (I want revenge for 2004 and 2013.)
Eventually, if you play long enough, everyone becomes a folk hero. This might be the highest-rated All-Star Game of them all. Who wouldn't want to watch this? (And Bartolo Colon pitches, obviously.)
What better way to introduce one of baseball's biggest audiences to all of the young talent around the game than to put the youngest players at every position? The real question: Would this team beat the oldest team?
You want your All-Star Game to have homers, right? Of course you do. You're going to need the best homer run hitters to hit it out of Petco Park. (Other than Colon, that is.) Let's make the Home Run Derby a two-night event with the players who have hit the most homers in 2016.
It's '80s throwback night! It wouldn't be fun for the catchers, but it'd be a blast for everyone else.
Highest average exit velocity
Most plate appearances
You know what the most important thing for a player to do in an All-Star Game is? Show up. Here are the guys most certain to show up.
All right, you probably want to know who the actual best players in baseball have been so far. We did this about a month ago, though we used FanGraphs' WAR for that one. Let's look at Baseball Reference's WAR. We're going to split this into Offensive and Defensive WAR.
It might not be the most exciting lineup, a bunch of guys who play defense better than anyone else, but hey, not the worst way to show off just how much defense is valued in today's game.
The Reds honored Pete Rose last year. This would be the way to do it this year.
Nothing would be more exciting than watching a bunch of players not swing at pitches, right?
If we're being truthful, nothing would be more representative of what baseball means in 2016 than picking an All-Star team of the players who strike out the most.
It's all about coming through in the clutch and winning, right? Well, these are the players who have provided the highest Win Probability Added this season. If you believe in clutch, you have to believe in these guys.
Hey, don't you want a team that can dunk?
Remember: Never believe what a baseball player's listed weight is, ever. There should be some sort of conversion equation.
Most enjoyable name
Well, this one is subjective. But these are mine. No write-ins allowed on this one.
Guy most likely to win in a brawl
And we wrap up with the team I'd choose if World Series home-field advantage were settled by a fight. I might enjoy that.
Make up your own! Or just get out there and vote.
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Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow me @williamfleitch; or just shout out your window real loud, I'll hear you. Point is, let's talk.