Player ballot helps Trout's All-Star chances

Player ballot helps Trout's All-Star chances

Player ballot helps Trout's All-Star chances
ANAHEIM -- Mike Trout's chances of making it to the All-Star Game seem to get better by the day.

The main reason, of course, is his play. Despite being called up in late April, the Angels outfielder entered Saturday ranked second in the American League in batting average (.338), first in steals (19) and has added seven homers.

The other is that he's actually listed on the player ballot.

Trout wasn't on the fan ballot that was distributed much earlier because he was in the Minor Leagues when the season began. But when Angels players received their ballot on Friday, Trout was listed among the outfielders, which means players won't have to go out of their way to write his name in and thus greatly increases his chances of accumulating enough votes.

Players vote for the reserves at each position for the All-Star Game, which will take place in Kansas City on July 10. On the Angels, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who won't vote for Trout.

But he'll need help from the rest of the league -- a league that may have a hard time voting for someone who spent the first three weeks in Triple-A.

"The number he's put up in that leadoff spot, and as a rookie, it really doesn't matter [when he was called up]," Angels right fielder Torii Hunter said. "I've seen guys make the All-Star team and they've missed the whole month, so I definitely think he has a good chance. But if he doesn't, he's still an All-Star in my book."

And even if the players don't vote for him, Rangers manager Ron Washington -- the skipper for the AL -- is open to selecting him, regardless of his April 28 callup.

"If he's one of the best players," said Washington, who has seven selections to make, but five are pitchers. "It's an All-Star Game. It's not politics. I'm just checking to see who are the best players. That's what it is supposed to be."

The Angels could have three, maybe four -- perhaps more -- deserving All-Stars, though none are expected to be voted in as starters.

There's the 20-year-old Trout, Mark Trumbo (batting .323 with 17 homers and 48 RBIs), C.J. Wilson (8-4 with a 2.44 ERA) and Jered Weaver (7-1 with a 2.40 ERA despite missing nearly three weeks on the disabled list).

Righty Ernesto Frieri and lefty Scott Downs, who have the best combined ERA (0.64) of any relief tandem in the Majors, may also get some consideration. And Albert Pujols' reputation may get him some, too, despite his uncharacteristically low .255 batting average and 11 homers.