It’s a complicated All-Star Game voting process this season with two separate phases and different voting windows, but here is the quick summary:
Cincinnati Reds outfielders Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker were named two of the nine finalists among National League outfielders on Sunday. Vote totals were reset to zero, and the next round of voting between Monday and Thursday will determine the All-Star Game starters.
Castellanos and Winker are considered locks for the All-Star Game. The only suspense is whether they will be starters. They’ve both played at MVP-caliber levels this season, ranking among the league leaders in most major statistical categories.
It would be the first All-Star Game selection for both players. The Midsummer Classic will be played on July 13 at Colorado's Coors Field.
“I’m not really shocked to see the amount of support that the Reds fanbase is showing because it stretches all over the country,” Winker said earlier this month. “It’s very cool. I hope I can make everybody proud because this is mind-boggling.
“I just want to continue to make everybody proud. You know, the All-Star Game is very, very cool, but at the end of the day, we have the ultimate goal of what we’re trying to achieve here. It’ll be a really, really cool moment for me, but there is a bigger picture here as well.”
Castellanos, entering Sunday, led the NL with a .348 batting average, 26 doubles, 97 hits and 167 total bases. He’s posted a .400 on-base percentage, hit 14 homers, drove in 43 runs and scored 50 runs.
Winker, who hits in front of Castellanos, has a .325 batting average, .399 on-base percentage, 18 homers, 15 doubles, 46 RBI and 52 runs.
The final phase of the voting begins at noon Monday and runs through 2 p.m. Thursday. The starters will be revealed at 9 p.m. on July 1. Castellanos and Winker are joined on the finalist list by Ronald Acuña Jr. (the league’s top vote-getter), Mookie Betts, Chris Taylor, Juan Soto, Bryce Harper, Joc Pederson and Mike Yastrzemski.
Castellanos and Winker finished second and third, respectively, in the first round of voting.
“We shouldn't be surprised,” Reds manager David Bell said earlier this month. “I mean, they're having fantastic seasons. I know their goal is not only to get to the All-Star Game but to continue that throughout the year. Be as consistent in every part of the game as they can and do everything they can to help our team win.”
No other Reds position players advanced to the finalist stage in the voting, but they’re still eligible to be picked for the All-Star Game. Starting pitcher Wade Miley has a solid case with a 2.85 ERA through 13 starts.
It’s easy to see how much the fan support means to Castellanos, who interacts with fans throughout games.
“I did that a little bit in Detroit,” Castellanos said. “That was when I started to do it. Unfortunately, the ugliness of the business took me out of that little kid, happy baseball player and more of, 'man, I've got to get stats. I've got to do what I can to survive this atmosphere.' Then when I got to the Cubs, the enjoyment of interacting with fans was something I fell in love with all over again.
“It definitely makes me play better because if something negative would happen, instead of stewing over it, I can enjoy somebody who is genuinely happy to be at the baseball field. In 2020, I didn't have that either. It's difficult, but this year to be able to come out, it's a different feeling and it's different faces, you know, with the genuine love for baseball and just good experiences remain consistent.”