Tight races nearly across the board in NL voting
Posey leapfrogs Molina; Wright, Tulo, Braun holding narrow leads
The competitive balance that has been present so far in the National League standings seems to have spread to the NL All-Star Game voting.
In the second NL balloting update, released on Tuesday, the eight players currently leading the races to start the 83rd All-Star Game on July 10 in Kansas City each belong to a different team. In the only lead change from last week's first update, Giants catcher Buster Posey jumped over Cardinals backstop Yadier Molina, breaking up -- for now -- the potential St. Louis starting tandem of Molina and outfielder Carlos Beltran.
Besides the shortstop race, which the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki leads the Cardinals' Rafael Furcal by only 17,160 votes, the catcher's spot is also one of the closest races in the NL, with just 137,640 votes separating Posey (1,713,839) and Molina (1,576,199). Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz and the Braves' Brian McCann have also surpassed one million votes, joining third base as the only other non-outfield position in the league with at least three players having already received more than a million tallies.
Four third basemen -- the Mets' David Wright, the Giants' Pablo Sandoval, the Cardinals' David Freese and the Braves' Chipper Jones -- all have surpassed that number and are separated by 304,406 votes. It is easily the most bunched-up race in the league, with Wright leading Sandoval by 255,342 and reigning World Series MVP Freese trailing Sandoval by 8,444.
Fans can submit up to 25 ballots per email address with the All-Star Game Online Ballot, through June 28 exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 club sites, wired or mobile. Once that voting ends, then comes the always-frenetic finish with the All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote from July 1-5 and the annual MVP vote during the All-Star Game to help decide who wins the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award.
As for the other infield corner, the Reds' Joey Votto extended his runaway lead while becoming one of just two NL players to have surpassed two million votes. No other player at the position has even one million votes, with the Cardinals' Lance Berkman (currently on the disabled list) and the Braves' Freddie Freeman coming in at second and third, respectively, each with more than 800,000 votes.
Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp remains the league's overall leading vote-getter, with nearly 2.6 million. Beltran and defending NL MVP Ryan Braun hold down the other two starting spots in the outfield. Melky Cabrera, though, is closing in on Braun, as the Giants outfielder leapfrogged Andre Ethier for the No. 4 spot and sits fewer than 200,000 votes behind Braun.
Atlanta's Dan Uggla maintained his respective lead at second base, with Brandon Phillips of the Reds in second followed by Omar Infante of the Marlins, Jose Altuve of the Astros and Rickie Weeks of the Brewers.
The MLB All-Star balloting program last year produced a record-shattering total of 32.5 million ballots cast. More than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots will be distributed at the 30 Major League ballparks, each of which will have 23 dates for balloting, and in approximately 100 Minor League ballparks.
When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes on June 22, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com until 11:59 p.m. ET on June 28.
Firestone, the official tire of MLB, is once again the exclusive sponsor of the 2012 In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program. The ballot features an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will be rewarded with a trip for two to MLB All-Star Week, including airfare, hotel accommodations, tickets to the All-Star Game and other MLB All-Star Week events.
Scotts, the official lawn-care company of MLB, is once again the sponsor of the retail All-Star Balloting Program, which launched on May 4 in select Lowe's stores and Chevrolet dealerships across the country. The Scotts ballot includes an opportunity to enter for a chance to win a baseball field makeover using Scotts products for your community.
Banco BHD sponsors All-Star balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish-language ballots available to fans in the Dominican Republic via LasMayores.com, the official Spanish-language website of Major League Baseball, and at All-Star balloting terminals across more than 80 branches. Coors Light provides offline All-Star balloting in 60 Wal-Mart and Amigo convenience stores throughout Puerto Rico, through Sunday.
The 2012 rosters will be unveiled July 1 on the 2012 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Taco Bell, televised nationally on TBS. The AL All-Star team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the NL squad will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads -- totaling 25 for the NL and 24 for the AL -- will be determined through a combination of Player Ballot choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers -- AL skipper Ron Washington of the Rangers and NL manager Tony La Russa -- in conjunction with MLB.
The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. Pregame ceremonies will begin at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg.
NATIONAL LEAGUE ALL-STAR VOTING TOTALS
Joey Votto, Reds: 2,108,725
Lance Berkman, Cardinals: 851,373
Freddie Freeman, Braves: 828,759
Brandon Belt, Giants: 563,708
Bryan LaHair, Cubs: 514,809
Dan Uggla, Braves: 1,341,088
Brandon Phillips, Reds: 885,250
Omar Infante, Marlins: 737,715
Jose Altuve, Astros: 700,640
Rickie Weeks, Brewers: 642,184
David Wright, Mets: 1,358,992
Pablo Sandoval, Giants: 1,103,650
David Freese, Cardinals: 1,095,206
Chipper Jones, Braves: 1,054,586
Placido Polanco, Phillies: 635,782
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: 1,200,256
Rafael Furcal, Cardinals: 1,183,096
Starlin Castro, Cubs: 738,771
Jimmy Rollins, Phillies: 684,754
Jose Reyes, Marlins: 662,199
Buster Posey, Giants: 1,713,839
Yadier Molina, Cardinals: 1,576,199
Carlos Ruiz, Phillies: 1,191,194
Brian McCann, Braves: 1,012,743
Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers: 588,710
Matt Kemp, Dodgers: 2,589,464
Carlos Beltran, Cardinals: 1,782,831
Ryan Braun, Brewers: 1,553,356
Melky Cabrera, Giants: 1,357,461
Andre Ethier, Dodgers: 1,142,312
Matt Holliday, Cardinals: 951,652
Hunter Pence, Phillies: 861,555
Michael Bourn, Braves: 768,049
Shane Victorino, Phillies: 733,310
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies: 728,903
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: 728,522
Angel Pagan, Giants: 722,820
Jason Heyward, Braves: 717,121
Jay Bruce, Reds: 655,098
Martin Prado, Braves: 560,943