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2017 Hank Aaron Award nominees named

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Major League Baseball just announced the 2017 nominees for the Hank Aaron Award.

The award is intended to honor the best offensive performers in each league. Except, in participation trophy-fashion, every team gets a nominee and, for inexplicable reasons, fans get to vote on winners via the Internet and via tweeting the names of their favorite players with special hashtags. Viva Merit-Based Awards. Viva including a guy from each team so as to engage as many people as possible based on team allegience. It’s almost as if this is about web traffic and stuff. Crazy, I know!

Kris Bryant won the award last year. He’s not nominated for the Cubs this year. Anthony Rizzo is. This despite the fact that Bryant had a better year than Rizzo by every measure except for RBI and was eighth in offensive WAR in all of baseball. Hank Aaron was one of the greatest of all time, but he deserves an award with a less ridiculous selection process.

Your nominees:

Mookie Betts, Javier Baez leading off the All-Star lineups

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I can’t imagine what it’s like to fill out the lineup card for an All-Star team. Most of the guys are 1-4 hitters on their own teams, but you gotta slot most of them someplace lower. Egos are probably a consideration. Strategic stuff. “Which top of the order or middle of the lineup hitter is batting eighth?” is both a difficult and thankless question.

Dave Roberts and A.J. Hinch have to do it anyway, and today they released the All-Star lineups. Seeing Bryce Harper batting sixth and Manny Machado batting seventh is just not part of the usual baseball experience:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Jose Altuve, 2B
3. Mike Trout, CF
4. J.D. Martinez, DH
5. Jose Ramirez, 3B
6. Aaron Judge, LF
7. Manny Machado, SS
8. Jose Abreu, 1B
9. Salvador Perez, C

NATIONAL LEAGUE

1. Javier Baez, 2B
2. Nolan Arenado, 3B
3. Paul Goldschmidt, DH
4. Freddie Freeman, 1B
5. Matt Kemp, LF
6. Bryce Harper, CF
7. Nick Markakis, RF
8. Brandon Crawford, SS
9. Willson Contreras, C

Not that this is gonna hold for long what with all of the substitutions.