USA Today Sports

Mitch Moreland an All-Star starter? It could happen

Rob Bradford
June 12, 2018 - 8:21 pm

BALTIMORE -- Mitch Moreland wasn't worried about playing time this spring training despite the perceived logjam at first base. He pointed to 2017 when another perceived roster roadblock resulted in more games played than any other season in his career.

He was right. Hanley Ramirez is gone and Moreland is the no-doubt-about-it starting first baseman.

But All-Star starter? That might ultimately be a reality that even the 32-year-old saw a possibility.

Tuesday the first round of results came in from the American League All-Star balloting, with Moreland (241,889) a close second behind top first base vote-getter Jose Abreu (267,812).

"I try to play hard and help the team win and obviously some people are seeing it," said Moreland, who said his wife alerted him of the balloting. "So I’ll just try and keep it going."

The last All-Star team Moreland made was with Single-A Clinton in 2008. (When asked the best results he has had in big league balloting, Moreland responded, "You're asking the wrong person.")

Entering Tuesday night, Moreland was having the best offensive season of any American League first baseman, outdistancing Abreu in OPS (.943 to .848) and home runs (10 to 9). He also has the best batting average among players at the position, topping Houston's Yuli Gurriel (.294-.291).

"It shows that the work is paying off," Moreland said. "I just have to keep playing. We'll see what happens."

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