Mookie Betts surprisingly leads all players in All-Star votes after first update

The fans have spoken. In the first round of Major League Baseball All-Star balloting updates, it wasn’t Mike Trout or José Altuve or Aaron Judge who led the way in voting. It was Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts.

Betts has received 748,872 votes early on. That gave him a slight edge on Altuve, and a nice lead on Trout — who trails Betts by more than 100,000 votes.

Why is it surprising?

Let’s get this out of the way right now: It’s surprising because you expect Trout and Altuve to dominate the voting. They have long track records of success in the majors and have done well in All-Star voting before. Judge doesn’t have the track record, but he took the league by storm last season, so he was also a candidate to lead the way.

We’re not surprised when looking at Betts’ performance. The 25-year-old Betts has hit .359/.437/.750 to start the season. Trout only nudges him out in on-base percentage right now, and by a slim margin. Betts is more than deserving of his All-Star votes based on what he’s done thus far.

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Mookie Betts through his career with the Red Sox
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Mookie Betts through his career with the Red Sox
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 28: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox takes the field before the start of a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on June 28, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 13: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox waits in the on deck circle during the game against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 12: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox missing a catch, but keeps the ball from going over the fence, during the game against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on May 12, 2015 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the Red Sox 9-2. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 5: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians on opening day at Progressive Field on April 5, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 3: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox slaps hands with fans through the protective netting after scoring a run against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning on June 3, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 01: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox bats against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 1, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 10: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox reacts to hitting a double during Game 3 of ALDS against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park on Monday, October 10, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 29: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox walks out of the clubhouse before a game against the Chicago Cubs on April 29, 2017 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 30: Andrew Benintendi #16, Jackie Bradley Jr. #19, and Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox celebrate a victory against the Chicago Cubs on April 30, 2017 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JULY 16: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox bats in the seventh inning of game one of a doubelheader against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on July 16, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JULY 17: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after hitting an RBI single during the seventh inning of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 17, 2017 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 7: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox is presented with the 2017 Gold Glove award before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 7, 2018 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 9: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox runs out onto the field before Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on Monday, October 9, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
FORT MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 13: Boston Red Sox player Mookie Betts gestures during Red Sox spring training at the Player Development Complex at Jet Blue Park in Fort Myers, FL on Feb. 13, 2018. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 07: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox makes contact against the Boston Red Sox in the sixth inning at Fenway Park, on April 7, 2018, in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 2: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox is doused with Gatorade after hitting three home runs in a victory against the Kansas City Royals on May 2, 2018 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 02: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after hitting a solo home run during the seventh inning against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park on May 2, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
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Popularity contest

A common complaint about All-Star voting is that it’s a popularity contest. Players from the most popular teams tend do well in voting because they have the largest number of fans to vote for them. While Boston is a large, popular and devoted fanbase, you can’t use that excuse here. Betts isn’t getting votes because he plays in Boston. He’s getting votes because he’s good.

There’s still time

Betts might be leading the way now, but that may not continue. This was just the first of three All-Star balloting updates the league will issue as the game approaches. The final updates will happen June 25 and June 26.

Will Betts still be leading the way by then? We wouldn’t bet against it, but we wouldn’t doubt Houston Astros fans either. This should be a nice rallying cry for them.

Over on the NL side

The National League vote totals were released Monday, and the Atlanta Braves lead the way there. Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies and Nick Markakis are all currently in starting spots, and pretty much every other member of the Braves roster is near the top of the voting at their positions.

Freeman is the top vote-getter in the NL with 633,342 votes. Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado trails him by 100,000 votes for that honor in the NL. They both have some work to do to catch Betts as the overall leader.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter at @Chris-Cwik!

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