Two-time All-Star Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants has pulled in front of St. Louis Cardinals backstop Yadier Molina in the latest National League voting update for the 86th All-Star Game, to be played on Tuesday, July 14th at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, it was announced today.
Posey, who was elected the NL starting catcher in 2012, has received 1,679,730 total votes, while Molina, a six-time All-Star, has garnered 1,542,231 votes in the NL’s tightest race. With a fan election, Posey would become the seventh Giants player since 1970 to collect multiple fan elections, joining Barry Bonds (12), Will Clark (4), Matt Williams (3), Jeff Kent (2), Hall of Famer Willie Mays (2) and Kevin Mitchell (2). Posey, who was the fifth overall selection in the 2008 MLB Draft, has hit safely in 26 of his last 31 games, batting .322 (37-for-115) with five doubles, six home runs and 20 RBI during the stretch. Since May 13th, his 16 RBI are tied for fifth-most in the NL and sixth-most in the Majors. Overall, the 28-year-old Posey is batting .291 on the season with eight home runs, five doubles, 27 RBI and 23 runs scored. Molina, who has earned four fan elections during his career, including each of the last two seasons, is aiming to become the first NL catcher to earn three consecutive starting assignments since Mike Piazza received nine straight from 1994-2002. In addition, Molina would join Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith (12) and former teammate Albert Pujols (5) as the only players in Cardinals history to receive at least five fan-elected starts. The Bayamon, Puerto Rico native is batting .283 on the season with nine doubles, 19 RBI and nine runs scored.
Brandon Belt (632,931 votes) is in fifth place among NL first basemen, Joe Panik (723,564 votes) is in third place at second base, and Brandon Crawford (1,103,884 votes) trails only Jhonny Peralta at shortstop.
Nori Aoki (1,012,117 votes), Angel Pagan (782,876 votes) and Hunter Pence (692,922 votes) are in fourth, fifth and sixth place respectively in the outfield.
Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, bidding for his third Midsummer Classic assignment (2012-13) and second fan-elected start (2013), continues to lead NL vote-getters with 2,323,186 votes, which ranks fifth overall in the Majors behind Kansas City’s Salvador Perez (2,681,063), Lorenzo Cain (2,506,859) and Mike Moustakas (2,385,024) as well as Mike Trout (2,371,435) of the Los Angeles Angels. The 22-year-old Harper would become the first player in Nationals-era history to claim multiple fan-elected starting assignments, and he would become the fourth player in franchise history to accomplish the feat, joining Hall of Famers Gary Carter (1981-84) and Andre Dawson (1981-83) as well as Tim Raines (1982-83). Last Wednesday, Harper connected for his 13th home run during May, setting a new Nationals record for home runs hit in a single month. During the month, Harper also batted .360 with four doubles, a triple, 28 RBI, 24 runs scored, a .495 on-base percentage and an .884 slugging percentage. Overall, the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year leads the Majors with a .469 on-base percentage, .724 slugging percentage and 44 walks, he is tied for first with 18 home runs and he ranks second with 42 runs scored.
Joining Harper among the outfield leaders are Matt Holliday of the Cardinals (1,654,428) and Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins (1,210,108). Holliday, a six-time All-Star (2006-08, 2010-12), is aiming for his first career fan-elected starting assignment. Holliday has reached base in a franchise-best 45 straight games to begin the 2015 season. Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees reached in a Major League-best 53 consecutive games to start the 1999 season, while Hall of Famer Frank Thomas reached in 52 straight to start the 1996 season, the same year that Mark McGwire reached in 48 straight (third-best all-time). Dating back to 2014, Holliday has reached in 47 consecutive games, which is the longest Cardinals streak since Jim Edmonds also reached in 47 straight during the 2004 season. Hall of Famer Stan Musial holds the overall club record at 55 straight games in 1943. The Cardinals have had at least one player elected to start in each of the last six seasons (2009-14), marking the longest active streak in the NL. In addition, a starting assignment for Holliday would give St. Louis a starting outfielder in four of the last five years, following Lance Berkman (2011) and Carlos Beltran (2012-13). The 35-year-old Holliday is batting .318 on the season with three home runs, 10 doubles, 24 RBI, 18 runs scored and a .435 on-base percentage.
Stanton, striving for his third career All-Star selection (2012, 2014) and first starting assignment, collected two hits on Saturday to move into 10th place on the Marlins all-time hit list. Now with 663 career hits, Stanton would become just the third Marlins player, and first outfielder, to earn a fan election, joining Gary Sheffield (3B, 1993) and Hanley Ramirez (SS, 2008-10). The 25-year-old Stanton, who finished second in NL Most Valuable Player voting in 2014, leads the Majors with 44 RBI and is tied for fourth with 15 home runs. Stanton, who became the Marlins’ all-time home run leader earlier this season when he hit his 155th career home run on April 16th, recorded his 15th career multi-homer game on Saturday, extending his club record. Since 2010, his 15 such games are tied with Edwin Encarnacion for fourth-most in the Majors behind Jose Bautista (21), Miguel Cabrera (19) and Albert Pujols (16). Overall, the California native is hitting .228 with seven doubles, a triple, 30 runs scored and a .508 slugging percentage on the season. Stanton is being challenged closely for the third outfield spot by San Francisco’s Nori Aoki, who is less than 200,000 votes behind with 1,012,117 tallies. Aoki, who is aiming for his first All-Star selection in his fourth Major League season, is followed by his Giants teammates Angel Pagan (782,876) and Hunter Pence (692,922).
Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who has received 1,279,711 total votes, is trying to hold off Crawford, who has jumped from fifth to second among NL shortstops with 1,103,884 votes. Peralta, striving for his third career All-Star selection (2011, 2013), is attempting to earn his first career starting assignment and his first Midsummer Classic selection in the Senior Circuit. The Santiago, Dominican Republic native would join Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith (1983-92, 1994-95), Edgar Renteria (2003-04), David Eckstein (2005) and Rafael Furcal (2012) as Cardinals shortstops to earn a fan election. The 32-year-old Peralta is tied for first on his team, tied for fifth in the NL overall and ranks first among NL shortstops with 59 hits on the season. In addition, he is tied with Wilmer Flores of the New York Mets for the lead among NL shortstops with eight home runs, and he has hit safely in 43 of his 51 games. Crawford, who has hit safely in 15 of his last 17 contests, could become the third Giants shortstop to earn a fan election, joining Chris Speier (1973) and Rich Aurilia (2001). The 28-year-old Crawford, seeking his first All-Star selection, leads all Major League shortstops with 34 RBI, while his seven home runs rank third.
Joining Peralta as a leader on the left side of the infield at third base is his Cardinals teammate Matt Carpenter, who has totaled 1,974,503 votes while increasing his lead over rookie Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs (1,079,693). Carpenter and Peralta could become the first teammates to start on the left side for the NL since David Wright and Jose Reyes of the New York Mets accomplished the feat in 2007. Carpenter, who is vying for his third consecutive All-Star selection and his first fan-elected start, ranks second among all NL vote-getters. He would become just the third different Cardinals third baseman to earn a starting assignment, joining Joe Torre (1971-72) and Scott Rolen (2003-05). Carpenter is tied for the NL lead with 22 multi-hit games and is tied for second in the NL with 17 doubles. In addition, the 29-year-old ranks among NL leaders with 34 runs scored (T-4th), 26 extra-base hits (5th), a .546 slugging percentage (9th) and a .390 on-base percentage (10th).
On the right side of the infield, Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon each hold slight leads at their respective positions. Gonzalez, who has accumulated 1,380,696 total votes, has seen his lead shrink as Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks has moved into second place among NL first basemen with 1,067,482 votes. Gonzalez, who is trying for his fifth career All-Star selection and first fan-elected start, would join Steve Garvey (1974-80) as the only Dodgers first basemen to win a fan election, and he would become the first Dodgers infielder to accomplish the feat since second baseman Jeff Kent in 2005. Gonzalez surpassed the 1,000-RBI milestone last week, becoming the 12th active player to reach the mark. He ranks among NL leaders with 19 doubles (1st), a .339 batting average (3rd), a .611 slugging percentage (4th), 61 hits (4th), 35 RBI (7th) and 10 home runs (T-9th). Goldschmidt, a two-time All-Star (2013-14) and last year’s fan-elected starting first baseman, has compiled an extraordinary season on the field thus far, batting .351 with 15 home runs, 12 doubles, a triple, 43 RBI, eight stolen bases and 39 runs scored to go along with a .459 on-base percentage and .670 slugging percentage. The 27-year-old slugger, who finished second in NL MVP voting in 2013, is on pace to hit .351 with 49 home runs, 139 RBI, 126 runs scored and 26 stolen bases.
Gordon, an All-Star for the first time in 2014, has totaled 1,531,048 votes to remain ahead of Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong (1,185,982), who is seeking his first Midsummer Classic selection. The 27-year-old Gordon, bidding for his first fan election, leads the Majors with 78 hits, a .370 batting average and 12 games with at least three hits. In addition, the speedster ranks second in the Majors with 20 stolen bases to go along with 10 doubles, two triples, 14 RBI, a .397 on-base percentage and 29 runs scored on the season. Gordon is aiming to become the first Marlins second baseman to win a fan election, and along with his teammate Stanton, is trying to become the third Marlins player overall to receive a starting bid from the fans, joining Sheffield and Ramirez.
The Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot, the largest program of its kind in professional sports, for the first time, is being conducted exclusively online. Last year’s program saw more than 300 million votes cast for elected starters. Fans around the world can cast their votes for starters 35 times exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 Club web sites – online or via their mobile devices – with the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot. During the voting period, which ends on July 2nd at 11:59 p.m. (ET), the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot will be available in English and Spanish, and will offer audio CAPTCHA functionality for visually-impaired fans. Traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese versions of the online ballot are also available. Banco BHD sponsors online 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 Web site of Major League Baseball.
Details regarding the unveiling of the 2015 American League and National League All-Star Teams will be available in the coming weeks. The AL All-Star Team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the NL All-Star Team 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 – NL skipper Bruce Bochy of the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants and AL manager Ned Yost of the Kansas City Royals.
MLB media services contributed to this report