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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Report: MLB to consider taking Justin Verlander’s advice on All-Star voting

Blake Snell

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell was one of the biggest All-Star Game snubs in the history of the event, and Major League Baseball could take a step toward avoiding similarly embarrassing oversights in the future.

Snell, whose 2.09 ERA was the best among starting pitchers in all of baseball at the time the All-Star teams were announced, somehow was not named to the American League roster. Justin Verlander was among the players who called attention to the egregious omission, and he proposed that MLB should have players vote electronically at a later date than they currently submit their “old school” paper ballot.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, MLB is open to changing the system.

Verlander is absolutely correct, and MLB officials know it. According to sources, baseball is open to pushing back the player vote, just as it pushed back the fan balloting after making that process entirely electronic. The fan voting this season began on June 1, a full month later than it did the year before.

Protecting the integrity of the player vote would be a concern; baseball uses Ernst & Young, a professional services firm, to count the players’ sealed paper ballots. Then again, it shouldn’t be difficult for the sport to design a secure website for the players’ selections.

Under the current system, the players received their paper ballots on June 15 and returned them shortly thereafter, about three weeks before the teams were named. With more time, the players would make more informed decisions.

As Rosenthal notes, Snell had a 0.63 ERA over four starts between the time players had to turn in their ballots and the day the All-Star rosters were unveiled. Two of those starts came against Verlander’s Houston Astros, who are the defending World Series champions and one of the best teams in baseball.

There are always going to be snubs in the Midsummer Classic, but the reactions on Twitter were a good indication of how badly Snell was overlooked. Switching to secure electronic ballots seems like a simple fix.

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