The results are in for the All-Star Ballot finalists and the final matchup for the AL starter at shortstop is between Bo Bichette and Corey Seager. Bichette had over 700,000 more votes than Seager and over 1,000,000 more than Wander Franco. What's interesting about that is neither Bichette nor Seager lead AL shortstops in WAR, that title belongs to Wander Franco. In fact, Franco's 3.3 WAR is second in the American League behind Shohei Ohtani. So why is Bo so far ahead of Franco and Seager, and what's happened to worsen their case?
First, we have to look at the case of each hitter and the geographical significance of where they play. Bo Bichette's hitting has been other-worldly this season. His 101 hits are second in MLB (behind Luis Arraez, but that guy could probably hit a ping pong ball with a pool noodle) and his .317 average is second in the AL. Franco has 19 fewer hits and his average is 30 points lower so the edge goes to Bichette. Seager has played much fewer games due to injury so while his .357 average is ridiculous, it doesn't qualify due to lack of at-bats. The main factors that Franco have over Bichette and Saeger are stolen bases, (with his 24 second behind the fleet-footed Esteury Ruiz) and defense (with Bichette and Seager out error-ing him 7-6, albeit Seager in much fewer attempts).
Next, we have to look at the locations in which each of these three plays. Franco's Tampa Bay Rays have been notorious for their low attendance (fourth-worst in MLB this season) and despite the team's continued success struggle to bring in fans. Seager plays out of Texas who are a middle-of-the-pack team in terms of in-stadium attendance, averaging over 10,000 more per game than Tampa Bay. Finally, there's the Blue Jays who average 35,000+ per game and have the geographical aid of having an entire country behind them. Does having so many people aid Bichette inflate his numbers? The answer is most likely yes. Players such as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Matt Chapman continue to lead their respective positions despite having down seasons. But does Bichette deserve to start? That answer also seems to be yes.
One thing you have to admire about Bichette is the fact that he's going to give you a consistent approach at the plate and is going to play in as many games as he can. He has failed to reach base in only 10 games this season, and Wednesday's win over Miami was his first missed game of the season. In fact, he's currently in the top five in games played this year (after missing only six games total the past two seasons). Seager has missed over 30 games this season due to a hamstring injury and has significantly improved his offensive stats due to a ridiculous month of June so far (which has raised his average by over 30 points). Franco on the other hand has had an up-and-down year, including a recent stretch that's seen him collect only two hits in his past five games. To make matters worse, Rays coach Kevin Cash said that Franco has been a "bad teammate" and he would be benched for Thursday and Friday's games against the Kansas City Royals. It would be unfair to assume what's happening in Tampa's clubhouse but you have to hope the 22-year-old isn't making an enemy of himself when he's signed with the organization until 2034.
While Bichette continues to seem as if he'll be heading towards his second all-star appearance (and first start) Seager seems to be a viable opponent. While Franco attempts to become a better teammate he'll also have to earn a spot on the roster as a reserve, and we'll see just how good of a job of that he's done when the final roster spots are announced on July 2nd.