Freeman leads NL Final Vote as deadline nears
First baseman remains ahead of Dodgers' Puig in final voting update
PHILADELPHIA -- Freddie Freeman has been the most valuable player on a Braves team that has been positioned atop the National League East standings throughout this season. But the first baseman's bid to earn his first career All-Star selection hinges on his presence as one of five NL players on this year's Final Vote ballot.
As of the final voting update on Thursday morning, Freeman held onto his lead over Dodgers rookie outfielder Yasiel Puig in the NL. Giants outfielder Hunter Pence sits in third, while Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond ranks fourth and Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is fifth.
Now in its 12th year, the 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Saturday's Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Taco Bell and ends today at 4 p.m. ET. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
For the second consecutive year, the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by freecreditscore.com (#FinalVote) will include a social balloting element as Twitter support from the candidates' fans over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their Final Vote totals. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ET today, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the overall vote total used to determine the American League and National League winners. Fans may follow @MLB on the popular social networking service for the latest standings updates in advance of the balloting deadline.
To cast a vote for Freeman, be sure to include #VoteFreddy in your tweet.
Mobile voting in the U.S. and Canada is open to everyone. In the U.S., to receive the Final Vote mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for Freeman, simply text message N2 to 89269. In Canada, fans should text N2 to 101010. Standard message and data rates may apply. To vote for another player via text message, use the codes below.
A1 -- Joaquin Benoit, Detroit, #BackBenoit
A2 -- Steve Delabar, Toronto, #RaiseTheBar
A3 -- David Robertson, New York Yankees, #HighSocksForVotes
A4 -- Tanner Scheppers, Texas, #TakeTanner
A5 -- Koji Uehara, Boston, #HighFiveCiti
N1 -- Ian Desmond, Washington, #DesiIn13
N2 -- Freddie Freeman, Atlanta, #Vote Freddie
N3 -- Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles, #VoteTitan
N4 -- Hunter Pence, San Francisco, #VotePence
N5 -- Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles, #VotePuig
Where are the votes coming from? Which candidate is carrying your local area? Which state will play a key role in determining the final player on each All-Star Game roster? Use MLB.com's new online Final Vote data visualization map to see the geographic distribution of all of the candidates' votes. Scroll over any county in the 50 United States to see the color-coded display to show the online vote share for each player.
While closer Craig Kimbrel was the lone Braves player named to the NL's All-Star team on Saturday night, Freeman still has a chance to participate in this year's Midsummer Classic.
"It's pretty cool," Freeman said. "I got tons of text messages. Hopefully those people are voting who are texting me. It's just pretty cool to be mentioned in that."
During Saturday night's win over the Phillies, Freeman's teammates campaigned for him by displaying a sign that read: "Hey 'Merica! Vote Freeman 4 ASG." Gerald Laird made the sign using a Sharpie, and Tyler Pastornicky held it in the background while Evan Gattis did an in-game interview on FOX.
"I think Freddie Freeman deserves to go," six-time All-Star Brian McCann said. "He's carried this team all season long."
NL Candidates BY THE NUMBERS
As he has displayed his impressive power potential and consistently delivered in clutch situations, Freeman has established himself as a dangerous presence in the middle of the Braves' lineup. He entered today hitting .307 with nine home runs and a .858 OPS.
Freeman entered today ranked fifth in the NL with a .397 batting average with runners in scoring position. His team-leading nine game-winning RBIs rank sixth in the NL.
"He's a RBI hog," Braves outfielder Jason Heyward said. "That's the way I've always looked at him. He wants that RBI and wants to get that runner home. His mindset at the plate is not much more than see the ball and react. That's what he has done since I've known him, and that's a big part of his success."
Coming off a season marred by injuries, Freeman began this year by homering in his first at-bat against Philadelphia's Cole Hamels. He played through the season's first week with an oblique strain that sidelined him from April 7-22.
As Freeman has gone through the past two months healthy, he has shown why Braves hitting coach Greg Walker considers him to be one of the game's top young hitters. Freeman has batted .325 with seven home runs and a .920 OPS in his past 42 games.
"He's got small man's mechanics with a big man's body," Walker said. "He's a little bit like [Evan] Gattis. He might not be as strong as Gattis. But he's plenty strong enough. He repeats it more than Gattis does. He covers more pitches."
There will be an extra treat for fans who participate in the Final Vote online. If you are not a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you are eligible to receive a 14-day free trial of MLB.TV from July 12-26. If you are a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you will receive a 15-percent discount to the MLB.com Shop. MLB.com will send an email on July 12 to all Final Vote voters with instructions on how to redeem the applicable offer.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.