CLEVELAND — For the second consecutive year, the Indians will have at least five representatives on the American League All-Star team.
Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Michael Brantley were all named to the AL squad, which was officially announced Sunday night. Ramirez was voted in by the fans as the starting third baseman for the second consecutive season and Lindor, Kluber and Brantley made it via the players’ vote. Bauer was selected by the commissioner’s office.
The Indians, who also sent five representatives last season, had not had that many players selected in back-to-back years since 1998-1999.
“Very [proud]. I’m happy,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I’m thrilled for our guys and I’m also happy for the Indians. I think it shows that, whether it’s fans or other players or whatever it is, respect for our players, I’m thrilled for that.”
Ramirez became the first Indians player to be voted as an All-Star starter in consecutive seasons since Roberto Alomar and Manny Ramirez each did it in 1999-2000. Ramirez is second in baseball among position players with 5.7 fWAR this season, trailing only Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout.
Ramirez is slashing .292/.395/.630 with 24 home runs, 25 doubles, 59 RBI, 60 runs scored and 19 stolen bases.
Lindor, who made his third consecutive All-Star team, is fourth in baseball among position players with 5.1 fWAR. He’s slashed .298/.374/.565 with 23 home runs, 27 doubles, 56 RBI, an MLB-best 79 runs scored and 12 stolen bases.
Ramirez and Lindor this season became just the fifth pair of teammates in baseball history with at least 50 extra-base hits each before the All-Star break.
“I’m really proud of it. I’m really proud of Frankie,” Ramirez said. “I’m really happy for him and for his family. Everyone who’s been watching us over the past couple years knows that we came up together since A ball. And so I’m really happy for him and that God has blessed us with this opportunity to go there together.”
Kluber became the first Indians pitcher to earn three consecutive All-Star selections since Doug Jones in 1988-1990 and the first starter to do so since Sam McDowell made four consecutive All-Star teams between 1968 and 1971. Kluber is 12-4 with a 2.49 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 126? innings.
Bauer, who earned his first All-Star selection with a breakout season, has joined Kluber in the early Cy Young conversation. As of Sunday afternoon, Bauer’s 4.5 fWAR led all qualified starting pitchers. He is 8-6 with a 2.45 ERA, a 2.17 FIP (the best mark in baseball among qualified starters) and an 11.57 K/9 rate.
“I’m extremely excited for it,” Bauer said. “You watch the game growing up. I watched every year. You tune in for the Home Run Derby and see the best of the best guys.
“I remember watching Torii Hunter rob Barry Bonds and Pedro Martinez punch out six guys in a row, and just moments like that from growing up that are kind of iconic baseball moments for me and for a lot of other people. And to be able to go and play in the same game against the best players that this game has to offer right now — that the world has to offer right now — is really fun.”
Brantley has become one of baseball’s success stories after he missed essentially the entire 2016 season and much of 2017 with injuries. His selection was his third overall and second in a row.
Brantley is hitting .306 with 11 home runs, 23 doubles, 49 RBI and 47 runs scored, and his insertion into the No. 2 spot in the Indians lineup behind Lindor and in front of Ramirez has created arguably the best 1-2-3 punch in baseball.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ.