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
1B1234567
Goldschmidt 480019 1067482 2010049 3562399 5867602 7341683 9119375
Votto384285247687936889285426925
Gonzalez929016138069618827252699729332971635662164072889
Adams42077170228211850461725108222303125818923054181
Rizzo48925583455411491331646781212911625642642941701
Belt36293110320421557407

 

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

2B1234567
Gordon 934249 1531048 2226127 3481830 52449146316113 7574750
Wong5822381185982211306931249734025055 47308485600556
Phillips337146211456930401654802773
Panik33385372356411595141860589245083728873973386357
Escobar5025056996881129737169374321539732665585
Kendrick3854275594178030641269476

 

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
3B1234567
Frazier424035636177 10648861939573 430844661893479233686
Carpenter 1113060 19745033140056 4455782550453462523277133753
Bryant58358310796931513913219852230424393559446 3984830
Arenado30982357824399081216995152380227 29644603861595
Wright327319468288617079890605126977015244001804066

 

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
SS1234567
Peralta 5957411279711 2440384 4020531 568448571516248478474
Tulowitzki545917762100110509019585023074831 40598325349394
Crawford417604 11038841821037278581836880424267238 5001067
Cozart431365535921734027975989159796721287303179045
Castro57157485345211045291454618186477321858612489755

 

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
C1234567
Posey759187167973026348464345579654023179904239909668
Molina859520154223126397443930399525104062785537524572
Cervelli1101593191879324242293065951
Mesoraco2237252
Grandal3968976236481014032135691516244241865883
Montero34732955174872975212768471485095
Norris2750676288851014286
Pierzynski347094448162

 

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
OF11234567
Harper111658223231863690414605982792243701136394913864950
Stanton746926121010817432712922350482498960623187036537
Holliday979008165442826934123739181471694154549536362653
Aoki441407101211716963692995899434968551154226126897
McCutchen33956666768212149972148625354226245776466012205
Bruce167998723970196012205
Pederson3908855883369305111679470240945929772273757483
OF21234567
Hamilton22506933567755
Heyward38883865544411624051695246218271726466973256239
Byrd2911218
Upton36882869238011788181772347221380224184522667453
Jay33304055489910230061492454190147022363372618530
Marte635125925384161848520132492556362
Pence68292210920071594977191659921547382451220
OF31234567
Braun683082114524816683502400409
Pagan4138437828761168982162503518850912103812
Puig332756108424916531382009405
Dickerson354252504983681745952107
Fowler311908513233684081
Kemp375172476318
Soler291658462196

 

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
1B1234567
Cabrera134735121237522933108530121693421491159451813834271
Hosmer11017382053237355100557773638013745915090810817849
Fielder58073910884281794589239173627160493167447
Smoak176966124637082921764
Pujols217576351945587805931585137516718920272378486
Teixeira3427885259357058861032924
Abreu222288

 

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
2B1234567
Altuve1301754202014328097314209702608619372829349634464
Infante715345144299026504164518765652173375146428999117
Kipnis50490911046671859756293398138418984704386
Kinsler3481155378497029071632770304638635227533868672
Travis320572215728629106683424173
Pedroia3204205038217260061210882

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
3B1234567
Donaldson87658614960652329742488031590048761173820614090188
Moustakas126176923850244046726650524890378441037286812253087
Machado266746419979562311881635136420719384782609499
Castellanos923589178992120769332300858
Beltre205836412404619494908343123950814162161651591
Sandoval348787483807620193

 

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
SS1234567
Escobar119126822690463828985633298187399201005738111960907
Iglesias826382127765518197643491530612297273951638671708
Reyes2174174641041649076349976048007105688636
Bogaerts327682134399118192952370296
Lowrie332534511714713703978177136738616464302191129
Semien3549546301679107071132210

 

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
C1234567
Perez1447753268106344196207202292101991511166678513747294
Martin3951926076108557982225889473627964058227521557
Vogt765848140174721987803260864436860954458136733782
McCann3428265293647506051154530154878719325632382705
Avila868321158786818575852070178
Joseph205568309609400802

 

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

DH1234567
Cruz12252552108584312812148732737298451889178410632184
Morales9180491827730326963454222507584560868687910320500
Encarnacion1430262301043642610405165417
Martinez2762323915385049831188737219528426327222973210
Rodgriguez3515675632887885381176506159034219845142362347
Ortiz340606507712690977

 

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
OF11234567
Trout 1297085 2371435 3668577 5944068 9148142 11461212 14013021
Cain137621725068594211472661178190791461041834312399127
Gordon9916061917834339313455810967810995893405210609006
Bautista49967379289711754832794526529996074016329050339
Cespedes669059102434614314473165784592967075322548907156
Rios629119124907323111223952551565802464456777620521
Jones981926151783619958973248559482706956263186334939
OF21234567
Martinez2457363780754896451172305240144131452003954204
Brantley48454845884914664722101577284082032117433728831
Ellsbury54618888819212562321788449232378626902913069236
Reddick33184665075610102391517538232455526361342907450
Davis1073790212159924794002733838
Springer2108606
Hunter3868476724791041097132049415688771955409
OF31234567
Gardner3031714588496028041948360
Ramirez478070644212857182118866214296191629706
Beltran288674471929707986101230212729631526511
Betts241279

 

 

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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