The Braves made a series of big investments over the offseason, handing out a number of pricey, long-term contracts.
Three of them are headed to Minneapolis later this month for Major League Baseball’s 85th All-Star Game. Julio Teheran, Craig Kimbrel and Freddie Freeman were all named National League All-Stars on Sunday, and all three were picked by a vote of fellow players.
For the first time in three years, San Francisco catcher and former Lee County star Buster Posey was not an All-Star selection. Posey, the 2012 NL MVP, is hitting .286 with nine home runs and 41 RBIs.
Teheran, the Atlanta’a ace, has an 8-5 record and 2.29 ERA this season; closer Kimbrel has a 2.04 ERA and 27 saves; and first baseman Freeman has a .294 batting average with 13 home runs and 47 RBIs.
“This is truly an honor to be voted in by the players,” Freeman said. “It’s something I don’t take lightly, so hopefully I can make it through these next few games and get there healthy. … To have this happen again. You never think it’s going to happen once, but for it to happen two times in a row is something special.”
Freeman is an All-Star for the second straight year, and Kimbrel is now an All-Star for the fourth consecutive year. Teheran, who signed for $32 million and six years over the offseason, is making his first All-Star appearance. Kimbrel signed for $42 million over four years and Freeman for $125 million over eight years.
“I feel happy to join those guys and go with them to the All-Star game,” Teheran said. “I feel like the hard work I have been doing is paying off, and I’ll just keep doing what I have been doing.”
Derek Jeter will be in the spotlight for perhaps the final time when he starts at shortstop for the American League in the July 15 All-Star Game.
The New York Yankees captain, who is retiring following the season, will appear in his 14th All-Star Game, and he will start for the ninth time.
Only six other players started at least nine All-Star Games for the AL: Cal Ripken Jr. (17), George Brett (11), Ken Griffey Jr. (10), Rod Carew, Ichiro Suzuki and Ivan Rodriguez (nine apiece).
Fans overlooked Jeter’s subpar statistics this season (.273 average, .323 on-base percentage, .328 slugging percentage, two homers, 23 RBIs) to give him a runaway win at voting over Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez and Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy. Jeter garnered 3.9 million votes to 2.8 million for Ramirez and 2.1 million for Hardy.
The leading overall vote-getter in fan balloting was the Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista at 5.9 million. Bautista will be joined in the AL outfield by the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout and the Orioles’ Adam Jones.
The starting AL infield consists of Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, Jeter and Oakland A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson. Injured Orioles catcher Matt Wieters was selected to a starting position. He will be replaced in the lineup by the Kansas City Royals’ Salvador Perez.
The Orioles’ Nelson Cruz, who received a 50-game suspension last year for his involvement in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing-drug scandal, was elected as the AL’s designated hitter.
The Milwaukee Brewers are the only NL team with two players voted as starters: third baseman Aramis Ramirez and outfielder Carlos Gomez. Rounding out the NL infield are Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley and Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.
Tulowitzki was the leading NL vote-getter.
Andrew McCutchen, the Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder who is the reigning NL Most Valuable Player, and second-year Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig complete the NL outfield.
Donaldson and Puig are the only starters who will be appearing in their first All-Star Game.