Will anti-Dodgers bias keep Will Smith from the All-Star appearance he deserves?

League Championship - Los Angeles Dodgers v Atlanta Braves - Game Five
League Championship - Los Angeles Dodgers v Atlanta Braves - Game Five / Tom Pennington/GettyImages
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The All-Star game is only a few weeks away, and through the first few updates in voting, the Dodgers already have a few shoo-ins to head to Arlington on July 16. Freddie Freeman is currently in second behind Bryce Harper for first base, Mookie Betts and Shohei Ohtani are running away with the vote for shortstop and designated hitter, and Teoscar Hernández seems like a lock for the next round of outfield voting. Freeman's status in second place will earn him a spot in a winnable runoff.

These players were always going to be the prime suspects (maybe with the exception of Hernández, who has been better than anyone had hoped this season), but one name does stand out as a potential snub.

Will Smith is running in third behind the Brewers' William Contreras and Phillies' JT Realmuto for the catcher position, and is down over 100,000 votes behind the latter, but his numbers suggest that he deserves a lot more. Smith ranks first in both FanGraphs and Baseball Reference WAR among NL catchers with 200+ plate appearances, first in home runs and OPS, and only second in RBI with 46.

Could anti-Dodger bias be hurting Smith's chances at a second consecutive All-Star appearance? This laundry list of statistics does not lie; he's beyond deserving.

Will Smith's performance for Dodgers proves he's the best catcher in the league, but he still might miss out on an All-Star appearance

With a quick glance over the rest of the ballot, it feels a little absurd that Alec Bohm has almost 200,000 more votes than Ohtani. Bohm's been having a fantastic year at the plate, to be fair, but Ohtani currently leads the NL in both fWAR and bWAR exclusively from his contributions at the plate. It could be that Philly fans are going ham on the vote and are all voting five times a day, or it could be that the Dodgers are well and truly the villains of baseball this year.

It could also be recency bias; Smith has been in a bit of a slump through June, batting .186/.296/.356 through June 24. Even so, his numbers from April through May were still good enough to keep him on top of most hitting stats among qualified NL catchers, with everyone else just scrambling to keep up. His bat also showed signs of life on June 20, when he knocked a solo homer at Coors in the Dodgers' 5-3 win over the Rockies to break a seven-game dry spell.

If you've got a spare second, go ahead and vote for Smith (at least once, but the four extra votes you can submit everyday wouldn't hurt). It's pretty clear that he deserves another All-Star appearance.

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