Pick your All-Star: Devers vs. J-Ram

29 minutes ago

Phase 2 of the Chevrolet MLB All-Star Ballot has arrived, and that means some of the most exciting players in MLB going head to head for the right to start the 92nd All-Star Game on July 19 at Dodger Stadium.

The Phase 1 results were announced last Thursday, leaving two final candidates per league at each position except for outfield, where four finalists will battle it out for two spots. (The Yankees’ Aaron Judge and the Braves’ Ronald Acu?a Jr. clinched automatic starting spots by virtue of being their respective leagues’ top vote-getters in Phase 1). In each case, vote counts start over from zero rather than carrying over from Phase 1.

Fans can vote once per day in Phase 2, which begins at noon ET on Tuesday and continues until 2 p.m. ET on Friday. Unsure of which box to check? MLB.com is here to help, with breakdowns of some of the more intriguing one-on-one ballot showdowns.

One of the most intriguing is at AL third base, where Boston’s Rafael Devers and Cleveland’s Jos? Ram?rez are squaring off. Here is what you need to know:

FAST FACTS

Rafael Devers, Red Sox
Born: Oct. 24, 1996 (Age 25)
Birthplace: Sanchez, Dominican Republic
Signed: Aug. 9, 2013 (with BOS)
Debuted: July 25, 2017 (with BOS)
Bats/throws: Left/right
Jersey number: 11

Jos? Ram?rez, Guardians
Born: Sept. 17, 1992 (Age 29)
Birthplace: Bani, Dominican Republic
Signed: Nov. 26, 2009 (with CLE)
Debuted: Sept. 1, 2013 (with CLE)
Bats/throws: Switch/right
Jersey number: 11

DEFINING STAT (THROUGH SUNDAY)

Devers: 136 hard-hit balls
Statcast defines a hard-hit ball as one with an exit velocity of at least 95 mph, and no big leaguer has more of them this year than Devers. His ability to spray sizzling line drive all around the field has him leading the Majors in hits and the AL in doubles (tied with Ram?rez).

Ram?rez: 1.19 walk-to-strikeout ratio
In this high-strikeout era, J-Ram stands out for his ability to hit for power while also limiting K’s — just 32 of them in 329 plate appearances. His BB-to-K ratio is sixth among MLB qualifiers, while his 9.7% K-rate ranks fourth.

FIRST-HALF PERFORMANCE

Devers: Boston’s fortunes have followed those of its star third baseman. The Red Sox looked lost in April, when Devers put up a solid but unspectacular .776 OPS. But the club has jumped into postseason position since then, with Devers authoring a scorching May (1.133 OPS) and keeping that success going in June. He’s on track for his best season, surpassing a 2019 campaign that saw him lead the AL in doubles (54) and the Majors in total bases (359).

Ram?rez: The Guardians are in the mix in the AL Central race, in no small part because Ram?rez has put them on his back. He came sprinting out of the gate (.342/.411/.722 with 28 RBIs in 21 April games), and he has continued to be a force since then, hitting with an extremely rare combination of power and contact, including more walks than strikeouts.

CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Devers: As a 21-year-old in 2018, he was the regular third baseman on Boston’s World Series-winning club, posting a 1.082 OPS in an ALCS victory over Houston. He has since received down-ballot AL MVP consideration in both 2019 and ’21 and won the AL Silver Slugger Award at third base in the latter season.

Ram?rez: He has three Silver Sluggers to his credit (2017, ’18, ’20) and also made strong runs at AL MVP honors in each of those seasons, placing third twice before finishing as the runner-up to Jos? Abreu in ’20. While trade rumors followed J-Ram over the years, he and the Guardians sidestepped that issue in April by agreeing to an extension that will run through 2028.

ALL-STAR HISTORY

Devers: This would be the second All-Star selection and start for Devers, who last season became the first Red Sox player to win the fan voting at third base since Shea Hillenbrand in 2002. Devers hit fifth in the AL lineup and went 1-for-2, doubling off eventual NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes.

Ram?rez: Already a three-time All-Star, he previously started for the AL at third base in 2017 and ’18, snapping a string of 15 consecutive seasons in which Cleveland did not have a player win the fan voting at any position. Ram?rez nabbed his third All-Star selection as a reserve a year ago. He is 2-for-5 with a stolen base in his All-Star career.

FUN FACTOR

Devers: Big leaguers and Little Leaguers have their differences, but some simple joys can still connect the two. Take a postgame ice cream cone, like the one Devers enjoyed during a postgame interview a couple weeks back.

Ram?rez: Wearing a fancy chain around your neck? Sure, that’s fine. But wearing a chain that shows off a picture of you showing off your chain? That’s next level — but J-Ram is up to the task. (And if that wasn’t enough, he’s also worn a shirt that depicts him wearing a shirt with his own face on it).