Nippon Professional Baseball’s players have spoken, and they want to see power at this year’s All-Star Series.
Three foreign sluggers, who were not selected to the Central and Pacific leagues’ All-Star teams by the fans, were added through the players’ vote, NPB announced Thursday. The additions were Ernesto Mejia of the PL’s Seibu Lions, single-season home run record-holder Wladimir Balentien of the CL’s Tokyo Yakult Swallows and 2014 CL home run king Brad Eldred of the Hiroshima Carp.
Mejia, who is currently leading the PL in home runs and shared the home run crown in 2014, was the players’ first choice at both first base and designated hitter.
He received 259 votes from the players at first base, 36 more than fan favorite Sho Nakata of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. Mejia’s 177 votes at DH surpassed the 147 given to Chiba Lotte Marines slugger Alfredo Despaigne.
Balentien, who hit a record 60 home runs in 2013, and Eldred, finished fourth and fifth in the fan balloting among CL outfielders, respectively, behind Yoshihiro Maru of the Carp and Hanshin Tigers rookie Shun Takayama. Maru was fourth in the players’ vote, while Takayama was seventh.
The All-Star games will be held on July 15 at Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome and July 16 at Yokohama Stadium. The managers will announce the remainder of their 28-man rosters on Monday.