Albert Pujols leads in the initial NL All-Star voting

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Major League Baseball just released the leaders of the early All-Star voting in the National League.  It’s too damn early to actually argue about this stuff, so let’s just list the results with the vote totals in parenthesis:

C: Buster Posey (785,314)
1B: Albert Pujols (988,784)
2B: Brandon Phillips (837,778)
3B: Placido Polanco (724,724)
SS: Troy Tulowitzki (975,777)
OF: Ryan Braun (971,809)
OF: Lance Berkman (872,434)
OF: Matt Holliday (927,778)

Yes, Brian McCann is in second place for the catcher’s vote. I presume he’ll be in first place before long. Unless there’s a rule change or something …

Diamondbacks, T.J. McFarland avoid arbitration

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.

McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).

McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.