Despite beating the previous MLB Final Vote record total of 15.6 million votes by Shane Victorino in 2009, Puig was no match for Freeman’s 19.7 million votes. This is Freeman’s first All-Star selection, as he beat out two other NL West players–Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez and San Francisco Giants’ Hunter Pence–and shortstop Ian Desmond of the Washington Nationals.
Puig was viewed as the heavy favorite and probable final fan vote winner once the five candidates were announced. Unlike the AL Final Vote which featured five relievers with less fan fare (the final spot was ultimately awarded to Toronto Blue Jays reliever Steve Delabar with just 9.6 million votes), the NL Final Vote featured many deserving candidates.
That being said, Puig was supposed to be a shoe-in win, but the Braves contingency and proponents against his success gave Freeman the recognition.
Despite going on an amazing tear since his call up, fans, players and columnists have spoken out against recognizing a player who has spent so little time on his team. While he’s been on a tear unlike no other, hitting .394 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs prior to his game on Thursday, Puig has also been criticized for his less-than-appropriate on-field etiquette.
He won’t be on the team this year, but this is just a delay of the inevitable for someone who could become one of baseball’s greatest stars in the next decade. While this small sample size will be impossible to replicate for the rest of the season or even next year, his success this year should reciprocate to next season when he is an option on the regular ballot instead of a late addition as a write-in selection.
A fan favorite to many based on the sheer number of votes he received in just a couple of days during the NL Final Vote, Puig will likely continue to garner such attention for his astounding abilities, eccentric flair and somewhat-jarring personality. While 2013 ends without an All-Star berth, 2014 and many more years to come should.
Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports
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