Texas Rangers

Unlike last season, Rangers have multiple candidates for the All-Star Game. Here are five

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The ballot boxes are now open, at MLB.com and various money-making MLB apps, for the 2019 All-Star Game on July 9 in Cleveland.

Every team, even the Texas Rangers, are represented at every position.

A new wrinkle to the voting has been introduced, with the top three at each position moving into “The Starters Election” phase June 26. Imagine the anticipation.

The Rangers had only one All-Star last year, Shin-Soo Choo, and he was selected as a reserve. He was an obvious candidate from a Rangers roster that was thin on solid first-half performers.

So far this season, though, the Rangers have a decent number of candidates, even a pitcher (gasp!).

Here’s a look at the Rangers’ best bets to be on the American League team.

Joey Gallo

Considered an early-season candidate for MVP, Gallo entered Tuesday continuing to pace the league in slugging percentage (.646) and OPS (1.071). His .425 on-base percentage is second only to Mike Trout.

Gallo leads the Rangers in pretty much every offensive category, and even his batting average is a very respectable .278. That’s third behind two other candidates for the Midsummer Classic.

It seems like he will be at Progressive Field either as an All-Star or in the Home Run Derby.

Mike Minor

Fans don’t vote for pitchers, as that duty falls to the players’ ballot and the commissioner’s office. Minor should be a lock if he continues to pitch as he has the first two months.

The left-hander has a sporty 2.55 ERA (fifth in the AL) and 72 strikeouts (ninth) in 70 2/3 innings (fourth). He also leads all AL players -- not just pitchers -- in WAR, and is in the top three in many other metrics.

Elvis Andrus

A fairly crowded field could end up putting the squeeze on Andrus’ candidacy, but he is among the league leaders among shortstop in average (.320, third), OPS (.865, fifth), steals (nine, third) despite missing nine games because of a minor hamstring injury. Also, don’t underestimate Baby Shark.

Andrus, in his 11th season, is a two-time All-Star but hasn’t been since the 2012 game at Kansas City. That means he missed out during the best season of his career in 2017, when he hit 20 home runs.

Shin-Soo Choo

Choo falls on the ballot this season as an outfielder, as opposed to designated hitter. That won’t help his cause, but he is putting together another first half that should at least put him in the conversation as reserve.

He rates in the top 10 among AL outfielders in average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, and his .915 OPS ranked fifth. He had a .911 OPS when selected to last year to his first All-Star team.

Hunter Pence

The Rangers might have pulled a fast one here to bolster the Arlington native’s chances at a fourth All-Star team. He is on the ballot as a DH, not an outfielder.

That’s significant in that Pence’s numbers (10 homers, 35 RBIs, .630 SLG, .975 OPS) outpace the everyday DHs in the league. He’s popular among his peers, which doesn’t hurt, and perhaps he will get an assist from the San Francisco Giants fan base. That won’t hurt, either.

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.
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