All-Star Voting has come and gone.  We’ve seen Royals go nuts, Twitter go crazy, and records set.  How much of it, though, was real?  Should we be up in arms about the trends?  Is there anything we can do to remain as outraged as we once were?  Put on your tinfoil hats, friends, and let’s take a look at some graphs!

It’s fun to be outraged.  For those of you who are just catching up now, All-Star voting has changed in the last few years.  Now, people vote exclusively online, and can vote up to 35 times per email-address.  Much of the time spent voting seemed to show the Royals absolutely dominating; at times winning 8 of 9 starting positions, despite the players having little claim to the throne, either in the performance or the starpower sense.  MLB had to go to great lengths to assure fans that fraudulent voting would not be tolerated, and millions of votes had already been tossed out to maintain fair play.  In the end, most people seem to be OK with the final results, but many are also skeptical that MLB juiced the votes to keep up some semblance of respectability.  What can we do, from the outside, to check this?  Well, the MLB gave weekly updates on the voting totals, so we can check those out and see if anything looks fishy.

(Disclaimer: All of this data is courtesy of MLB, specifically https://twitter.com/MLB_PR.  If you want to go full conspiracy theorist, we really have no reason to trust this data.  They could have been lying this whole time.  In which case, I’m not adding anything in this article, but thanks for reading anyway.  Go back to your bomb shelter.)

So I’m going to take a look at the results, week by week, position by position.  I’ll analyze the results, and tell you how paranoid and/or outraged you should be by this.  I’m using a very scientific scale.  When you see the Cereal Guy, that means just barely outraged, like you just found out the grocery store sold you expired frozen dinners.  When you see the tinfoil hat, that means you should be moderately outraged, like Facebook just changed their layout again and you know they just want your information.  When you see Ron Paul and the Happening Bunker, that means it’s time to pull out all the stops and get really outraged, like somebody just told you the spoilers for the last book in Song of Ice and Fire and it turns out that animals can warg into people.  I’ll list the candidates on the left, with the week on the top, with week 7 being the final results.  With that helpful guide out of the way, let’s get to it!

National League First Base:

NL 1B
1B 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Goldschmidt  480019  1067482  2010049  3562399  5867602  7341683  9119375
Votto 384285 2476879 3688928 5426925
Gonzalez 929016 1380696 1882725 2699729 3329716 3566216 4072889
Adams 420771 702282 1185046 1725108 2223031 2581892 3054181
Rizzo 489255 834554 1149133 1646781 2129116 2564264 2941701
Belt 362931 1032042 1557407

 

We’ve got a couple interesting things in this one.  One is that Joey Votto‘s fans really decided to take a weird break.  He was 5th after the first week, took a three week tip elsewhere, then ended up finishing second.  This will be part of a greater Reds trend we’ll see later, but there isn’t much else to see here.  Paul Goldschmidt took this contest in week three over the hot starting Adrian Gonzalez, and that makes sense.  Let’s move along, keeping our outrage at a minimum just for Votto’s weirdness.

Outrage Level:

Cereal-guy-cereal-guy-l[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

National League Second Base:
NL 2B

2B 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Gordon  934249  1531048  2226127  3481830  5244914 6316113  7574750
Wong 582238 1185982 2113069 3124973 4025055  4730848 5600556
Phillips 337146 2114569 3040165 4802773
Panik 333853 723564 1159514 1860589 2450837 2887397 3386357
Escobar 502505 699688 1129737 1693743 2153973 2665585
Kendrick 385427 559417 803064 1269476

 

So just like Votto, we have a Brandon Phillips taking this strange detour before finishing strong at third place.  Let’s keep an eye on this Reds trend..  Other than that, we see Howie Kendrick disappearing entirely while Yunel Escobar hangs around the entire time, inexplicably. Those things are weird, but they’re small potatoes.  Dee Gordon was the most exciting player and he’s pretty good, so it makes sense that he’d win this one.

Outrage Level:

Cereal-guy-cereal-guy-l[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

National League Third Base:

NL 3B
3B 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Frazier 424035 636177  1064886 1939573  4308446 6189347 9233686
Carpenter  1113060  1974503 3140056  4455782 5504534 6252327 7133753
Bryant 583583 1079693 1513913 2198522 3042439 3559446  3984830
Arenado 309823 578243 990812 1699515 2380227  2964460 3861595
Wright 327319 468288 617079 890605 1269770 1524400 1804066

 

Whoa.  That is a weird trend line. Through week 4, it looks like Matt Carpenter has this thing in the bag, until out of fricking nowhere comes Todd Frazier to just completely blow him out of the water.  He was down by 2.5 million votes in week 4, and ended up winning by more than 2 million votes.  Carpenter’s trend took a noticeable dip while Frazier just soared out of control.  Everything else looks normal, and we have seen a trend of Reds going up in the last three weeks, but this looks fishy.  Either Reds fans really have something to be proud of, or the MLB missed some serious fraud, or there’s something afoot in the MLB office to get Todd Frazier some time.

Outrage Level:

foil[1]

 

National League Shortstop:

NL SS
SS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Peralta  595741 1279711  2440384  4020531  5684485 7151624 8478474
Tulowitzki 545917 762100 1105090 1958502 3074831  4059832 5349394
Crawford 417604  1103884 1821037 2785818 3688042 4267238  5001067
Cozart 431365 535921 734027 975989 1597967 2128730 3179045
Castro 571574 853452 1104529 1454618 1864773 2185861 2489755

 

Man, people really like Jhonny Peralta.  Didn’t everybody hate him and think he was a joke a year ago?  That turned around.  That’s a bit fishy that he won this handily over some other pretty big names.  I would think that Giants fans, who in years past had voted pretty well, would surge Brandon Crawford here, and yet he didn’t even finish in front of Troy Tulowitzki.  A little paranoia here that Peralta won this handily, but we have bigger fish to fry.

Outrage level:

foil[1]

 

National League Catcher:

NL C
C 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Posey 759187 1679730 2634846 4345579 6540231 7990423 9909668
Molina 859520 1542231 2639744 3930399 5251040 6278553 7524572
Cervelli 1101593 1918793 2424229 3065951
Mesoraco 2237252
Grandal 396897 623648 1014032 1356915 1624424 1865883
Montero 347329 551748 729752 1276847 1485095
Norris 275067 628885 1014286
Pierzynski 347094 448162

 

That table is so weird.  The reason you don’t see Devin Mesoraco‘s line is because he doesn’t have one.  The dude just magically jumped from having never placed in the top 5 all the way to 4th in the last week.  I don’t know what caused Reds fan to all of a sudden care, but that looks iffy to me.  This was an interesting race until Buster Posey went nuts, but there isn’t much suspicious about that.  Pirates fans sure showed up to vote for Francisco Cervelli, and I’m suspicious of that because its Francisco Fricking Cervelli, but admittedly he is having a great year.

Outrage Level:

Cereal-guy-cereal-guy-l[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

National League Outfield:

NL OF1 NL OF2 NL OF3
OF1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Harper 1116582 2323186 3690414 6059827 9224370 11363949 13864950
Stanton 746926 1210108 1743271 2922350 4824989 6062318 7036537
Holliday 979008 1654428 2693412 3739181 4716941 5454953 6362653
Aoki 441407 1012117 1696369 2995899 4349685 5115422 6126897
McCutchen 339566 667682 1214997 2148625 3542262 4577646 6012205
Bruce 1679987 2397019 6012205
Pederson 390885 588336 930511 1679470 2409459 2977227 3757483
OF2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Hamilton 2250693 3567755
Heyward 388838 655444 1162405 1695246 2182717 2646697 3256239
Byrd 2911218
Upton 368828 692380 1178818 1772347 2213802 2418452 2667453
Jay 333040 554899 1023006 1492454 1901470 2236337 2618530
Marte 635125 925384 1618485 2013249 2556362
Pence 682922 1092007 1594977 1916599 2154738 2451220
OF3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Braun 683082 1145248 1668350 2400409
Pagan 413843 782876 1168982 1625035 1885091 2103812
Puig 332756 1084249 1653138 2009405
Dickerson 354252 504983 681745 952107
Fowler 311908 513233 684081
Kemp 375172 476318
Soler 291658 462196

 

Bryce Harper blowing this one away is the least suspicious thing so far.  The top five were pretty consistent, and the top three aren’t particularly surprising either.  It gets a little nutty after that, though.  Jay Bruce really benefited from the Reds surge in a major way, going from totally unplaced in weeks 1-4 to finishing 6th overall.  That’s nuts, and admittedly somewhat unnerving.  Billy Hamilton and Marlon Byrd had similarly random surges, and they’re not even very good.  If this was a 14 week contest instead of a 7 week one, we might see the Reds take over every spot, like the Royals did.  The rest of this ballot is fairly starpower-driven, with the exception of Jon Jay placing rather respectably despite playing poorly and not being a household name.  The Reds shenanigans are weird, but they didn’t affect the results, so only medium skepticism here.

Outrage level:

foil[1]

American League First Base:

AL 1B
1B 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Cabrera 1347351 2123752 2933108 5301216 9342149 11594518 13834271
Hosmer 1101738 2053237 3551005 5777363 8013745 9150908 10817849
Fielder 580739 1088428 1794589 2391736 2716049 3167447
Smoak 1769661 2463708 2921764
Pujols 217576 351945 587805 931585 1375167 1892027 2378486
Teixeira 342788 525935 705886 1032924
Abreu 222288

 

So here’s where we start with the Royals shenanigans.  Miguel Cabrera beats out Eric Hosmer in both performance and starpower, so it’s not surprising he won in the end.  That said, Hosmer had a random two weeks when Royals fans and trolls propelled him to the #1 spot before losing the lead handily from week 5 onwards.  Cabrera is a machine, and probably the best pure hitter in the game.  It was pretty weird to see Justin Smoak show up in week 5 to take the 4 spot despite not really playing excellently.  He’s hitting fine, but that’s about it, and there are much bigger names than his.  Let’s keep an eye on the Blue Jays for now, and just take a light outrage stance here.

Outrage Level:

Cereal-guy-cereal-guy-l[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

American League Second Base:

AL 2B
2B 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Altuve 1301754 2020143 2809731 4209702 6086193 7282934 9634464
Infante 715345 1442990 2650416 4518765 6521733 7514642 8999117
Kipnis 504909 1104667 1859756 2933981 3841898 4704386
Kinsler 348115 537849 702907 1632770 3046386 3522753 3868672
Travis 320572 2157286 2910668 3424173
Pedroia 320420 503821 726006 1210882

This was a pretty crazy one; the one that encapsulated all of the controversy.  Omar Infante is really bad, and nobody cares about him.  He might not even be the best second baseman on the Royals, let alone the American League.  Meanwhile Jose Altuve is universally beloved and playing pretty well.  Jason Kipnis might be the best player in the league the entire year.  The fact that Omar Infante was even in the conversation is ridiculous, and it took a seriously hard effort at the end for Altuve to win.  The downward trend in weeks 6 and 7 is suspicious compared to Altuve’s spike; either the trolls felt some shame, or somebody is cooking the books.  Altuve had his best week of the year in that final stretch by far, earning nearly 25% of his vote total.  Meanwhile Kipnis just kind of had a regular week?  This is nonsense.  Sound the alarm boys, something fishy is going on.

Outrage Level:

GVFbI3L[1]

 

American League Third Base:

AL 3B
3B 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Donaldson 876586 1496065 2329742 4880315 9004876 11738206 14090188
Moustakas 1261769 2385024 4046726 6505248 9037844 10372868 12253087
Machado 266746 419979 562311 881635 1364207 1938478 2609499
Castellanos 923589 1789921 2076933 2300858
Beltre 205836 412404 619494 908343 1239508 1416216 1651591
Sandoval 348787 483807 620193

 

Oh what-the heck-ever.  Josh Donaldson is pretty great, but you know what, so is Mike Moustakas.  Donaldson was leading the world in everything, sure, but Moose is hitting pretty dang well.  The trolls don’t have as much to apologize for as you’d think here.  This was a healthy dismantling in the Royals favor through four weeks, and then Donaldson took this ridiculous surge to get the most votes ever?  Yeah, he deserved to win, but Moose is less than one WARP behind Donaldson and he has the most rabid fanbase ever behind him.  We’ve seen some Blue Jays fanbase helping at the end, but I don’t call it enough.  Donaldson gained nearly a million votes in the last three weeks, which is more than Altuve got the entire time.  Maximum level paranoia.  By the way, Manny Machado has more WARP than either of them, and nobody cares.

Outrage Level:

GVFbI3L[1]

American League Shortstop:

AL SS
SS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Escobar 1191268 2269046 3828985 6332981 8739920 10057381 11960907
Iglesias 826382 1277655 1819764 3491530 6122972 7395163 8671708
Reyes 217417 464104 1649076 3499760 4800710 5688636
Bogaerts 327682 1343991 1819295 2370296
Lowrie 332534 511714 713703 978177 1367386 1646430 2191129
Semien 354954 630167 910707 1132210

 

So nobody really cares about shortstops unless they’re superstars, and there are no superstars remaining in this group.  Alcides Escobar is having an ok year, and he benefits from nobody really having a better idea who to pick without looking at the stats.  He never has competition.  There may be some cause for suspicion, but it’s just your garden variety “Did the MLB juice the Royals votes to create a controversy” and nothing special.  Escobar winning by default isn’t particularly crazy.

Outrage Level:

Cereal-guy-cereal-guy-l[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

American League Catcher:

AL C
C 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Perez 1447753 2681063 4419620 7202292 10199151 11666785 13747294
Martin 395192 607610 855798 2225889 4736279 6405822 7521557
Vogt 765848 1401747 2198780 3260864 4368609 5445813 6733782
McCann 342826 529364 750605 1154530 1548787 1932563 2382705
Avila 868321 1587868 1857585 2070178
Joseph 205568 309609 400802

 

So this one is weird.  Like, really weird.  Salvador Perez is pretty bad this year, and the nation knows him as the guy who popped out foul to lose the World Series.  Yet this is never a contest in any sense of the phrase.  From week 1 he’s completely blowing the field away.  We’ve seen a number of instances of Blue Jays fans helping their guy surge, but Russell Martin did not get a surge of any kind.  Stephen Vogt deserves it, but Martin is good and people like him.  Yet somehow Perez surges to a vote total just shy of Donaldson’s, despite having much better competition.  This deserves paranoia for inconsistency.  If there were people showing up in droves to vote for Donaldson, the same people should have been voting for Martin, but they didn’t.  Somebody’s got some ‘splainin to do.

Outrage Level:

GVFbI3L[1]

American League Designated Hitter
AL DH

DH 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Cruz 1225255 2108584 3128121 4873273 7298451 8891784 10632184
Morales 918049 1827730 3269634 5422250 7584560 8686879 10320500
Encarnacion 1430262 3010436 4261040 5165417
Martinez 276232 391538 504983 1188737 2195284 2632722 2973210
Rodgriguez 351567 563288 788538 1176506 1590342 1984514 2362347
Ortiz 340606 507712 690977

 

Despite Edwin Encarnacion’s Blue Jays bump, this is only a two person competition.  Nelson Cruz won, and he deserved to.  Kendrys Morales is OK, but he’s not Cruz.  This is a race between people who want the best player vs. Royals Fans + Trolls + PED haters.  There’s nothing particular of note here, though, as it was a tight race the whole time and it stayed that way.  Move along.

Outrage Level:

Cereal-guy-cereal-guy-l[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

American League Outfield:

AL OF 1 AL OF 2 AL OF 3
OF1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Trout  1297085  2371435  3668577  5944068  9148142  11461212  14013021
Cain 1376217 2506859 4211472 6611781 9079146 10418343 12399127
Gordon 991606 1917834 3393134 5581096 7810995 8934052 10609006
Bautista 499673 792897 1175483 2794526 5299960 7401632 9050339
Cespedes 669059 1024346 1431447 3165784 5929670 7532254 8907156
Rios 629119 1249073 2311122 3952551 5658024 6445677 7620521
Jones 981926 1517836 1995897 3248559 4827069 5626318 6334939
OF2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Martinez 245736 378075 489645 1172305 2401441 3145200 3954204
Brantley 484548 458849 1466472 2101577 2840820 3211743 3728831
Ellsbury 546188 888192 1256232 1788449 2323786 2690291 3069236
Reddick 331846 650756 1010239 1517538 2324555 2636134 2907450
Davis 1073790 2121599 2479400 2733838
Springer 2108606
Hunter 386847 672479 1041097 1320494 1568877 1955409
OF3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Gardner 303171 458849 602804 1948360
Ramirez 478070 644212 857182 1188662 1429619 1629706
Beltran 288674 471929 707986 1012302 1272963 1526511
Betts 241279

 

 

Two Royals winning this one, along with the best player of the world. Unfortunately, that sounds right.  Everybody voted for Mike Trout, and then spread out their votes enough that Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon could easily take the other two spots.  My question here is: in a race where you have three spots, and thus no reason to not vote for Trout, how did Trout get fewer votes than Donaldson?  That casts even more doubt on the above.  There are some other goofy spots in the numbers, like George Springer showing up out of nowhere to finish just outside the top 10, but that’s meaningless.  Moderate outrage here, but just in conjunction with the other votes.

Outrage level:

foil[1]

 

So there’s the numbers, folks.  I’m not a huge conspiracy theorist, but these numbers do look a bit fishy at times.  Did MLB juice the numbers?  Are the trolls to blame, or are Royals fans just crazy?  Why do Blue Jays fans hate Russell Martin?  Let me know in the comments!

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4 Responses to “The Conspiracy Theorist’s Guide to All Star Voting”

  1. Tim

    After the Eric Sogard “Face of MLB” experience, I’m relatively confident that MLB would pull strings to get the results it wants. Aside from the visualization you’ve provided here, have you done any close analysis of the numbers? Like, do the totals even match up, or are there instances where one position has more votes cast than others?

    Cool insight though, thanks for digging in to it!

    Reply
    • Andrew Patrick

      As an A’s fan, I’m still bitter about Sogard not being my face of MLB. It’s hard to say for certain with regards to vote totals, since we only get top 5 per week. The totals look somewhat consistent, though. The biggest difference (excluding outfield) between AL positions was 33119817 for the Top 5 in Catchers compared to 30630812 for 2nd basemen (so 2.5 million roughly) which isn’t that concerning considering the totals we don’t get to see. There’s more that can be done certainly with the numbers, but there’s going to be a lot of noise considering we don’t know MLB’s method for disqualifying ballots.

      Reply

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