The first wave of All-Star ballot vote totals were released on Tuesday, and that's yet another indicator that the White Sox are in far better shape than they were just a year ago.
After fielding zero compelling candidates among position players in 2013, the Sox have a couple sitting pretty right now:
- Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: 440,407
- Albert Pujols, Angels: 371,193
- JOSE ABREU, WHITE SOX: 367,617
- Chris Davis, Orioles: 238,730
- Mark Teixeira, Yankees: 201,123
- Derek Jeter, Yankees: 602,525
- ALEXEI RAMIREZ, WHITE SOX: 472,537
- J.J. Hardy, Orioles: 265,923
- Elvis Andrus, Rangers: 166,907
- Jed Lowrie, A's: 142,622
Jeter's place is a foregone conclusion, so Ramirez's pursuit of a first All-Star Game is dulled slightly by being a distant second. That said, he's outgaining the top candidates among first, second and third basemen.
Speaking of third base, that's the other position where a White Sox can make a move:
Donaldson is a cut above the rest -- especially when including his glove. Beltre is back on track after an injury knocked him down, so he's going to be hard to overcome in his current form.
After that, the position is kind of thin, especially when Longoria's having a down year and Machado hasn't rediscovered his form after the knee injury. There's an avenue for Gillaspie to earn a spot on this team, which is a weird thing to say.
Granted, it's not going to be handed to him. He'll basically have to maintain his current production, he can't afford to miss many more games, and nobody knows who he is. He also has a couple off-ballot competitors in Lonnie Chisenhall and Yangervis Solarte, although they're equally unproven.
There's a long way to go, but if it's time for managers to pick the reserves and Gillaspie's among the batting leaders, he could earn one of the more unlikely All-Star berths in recent memory. That's something I'd like to see, if only to see Gillaspie take onedownsmanship to a whole new level.