CLEVELAND – Postseason success tends to have a carryover effect when the core of a World Series caliber roster returns for another season.
The latest 2017 All-Star Game ballot justifies that notion.
The Indians currently have nine players represented in the top 10 for each of their respective positions on the American League team, one season after advancing to the October Classic for the first time since 1997.
Headlining the early totals is Francisco Lindor with 602,238 votes at shortstop, nearly three times the number of Carlos Correa (253,518) in second place.
“We all definitely appreciate it, what the fans are doing for us, trying to get us out there,” said Lindor. “We don’t take it for granted. We’ve seen it this year, the fans have come out and supported us day in and day out whether it’s at home but also on the road. There has been a group of Indians fans everywhere we go and that’s always special, as well as the fans from every one of our countries—fans from Puerto Rico, the Dominican, here in the States. It’s representing everybody. It’s special and we definitely thank them.”
Edwin Encarnacion (282,837) ranks second behind Nelson Cruz (457,050) in the designated hitter category while Jose Ramirez (3B, 351,814), Carlos Santana (1B, 270,816) and Jason Kipnis (2B, 253,409) each find themselves in third place.
“I’m happy and I’m proud of, whether it’s our fans, which I’m sure are doing some of the damage, and maybe because we played [in the World Series], so people watched our guys and realized they are really good players,” manager Terry Francona said. “I’m really happy about that and I hope that trend continues. The one thing that I never want to get lost for one second is, I get the honor of managing the All-Star Game. The reason I get the honor is because of our players. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t hit. I didn’t pitch. They did all this, and I’m going.”
Rounding out the Tribe’s potential candidates to travel with Francona and represent their club are Michael Brantley in fourth (OF, 333,703), Yan Gomes in fifth (C, 240,688), Lonnie Chisenhall in eighth (OF, 229,856) and Abraham Almonte in ninth (OF, 202,999).
“[Brantley] has worked so hard,” said Francona. “He was working during the playoffs, during the World Series, when it probably wasn’t a whole lot of fun to do that. In the offseason. And he worked so [darn] hard that, when he came back, he’s actually the same player as before, which is not easy to do. Believe me, we were happy to get him back.”
Cleveland has yet to have more than five players selected for the highly popular game since 1999 – Roberto Alomar (2B), Kenny Lofton (OF), Charles Nagy (RHP), Manny Ramirez (OF), Jim Thome (1B) and Omar Vizquel (SS).
That barrier may be broken for the first time in the 21st century when the final tally releases towards the end of June.
“We set out to win every day. That’s our number one priority,” Francona said. “I hope we can take about 10 guys.”
The official game is scheduled for Tuesday, July 11 from Marlins Park in Miami, Florida.
Here is the full breakdown…
John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.