Breaking down the 2021 All-Star Ballot

Detroit Tigers

The stars will be shining in Denver next month, but which of the game’s best players will be on display in the 91st Midsummer Classic?

Balloting for the 2021 MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard launched at noon p.m. ET Thursday, giving fans an opportunity to vote for the best players in the sport.

The National League team, which will be managed for the third straight year by Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts, will have eight elected starters. The American League team, which will be managed by Kevin Cash of the Rays, will have nine fan-elected starters.

Pitchers and reserves for both teams will be determined through a combination of Player Ballot choices and selections made by the Commissioner’s Office.

In the AL, Carlos Santana will look to earn his second straight starting assignment at first base, something that has not been done by an AL first baseman since David Ortiz got the nod in back-to-back All-Star Games in 2006-07. Reigning AL MVP José Abreu, the AL’s starter in 2018, will look to reclaim his position, while Vladimir Guerrero Jr. takes aim at his first career start in the Midsummer Classic.

DJ LeMahieu ended Jose Altuve’s four-year grip on the starting second-base gig in 2019, but both players face a serious challenge from Marcus Semien, who is thriving in his first season with the Blue Jays.

Seven different shortstops have started for the AL in the past seven All-Star Games, but Xander Bogaerts is primed to regain the job, which he last won in 2016. Carlos Correa, who started in 2017, could be his stiffest competition.

At third base, Alex Bregman made his first All-Star start in 2019, ending José Ramírez’s two-year run as the AL’s starter. Both are on this year’s ballot, though Rafael Devers could emerge as the favorite at the hot corner this year.

Because of Tommy John surgery, Salvador Perez saw his five-year stranglehold on the starting catcher’s job come to an end in 2019 as Gary Sánchez won the vote, but the Royals’ catcher is having an outstanding season and is in position to take a run at a sixth starting nod.

Mike Trout has started six of the past seven All-Star Games, and while the three-time MVP is on the injured list, he could earn another starting spot with a strong showing in the fan vote. Aaron Judge, who did not start in 2019 after earning that honor in each of the previous two years, could return to the starting lineup given his solid 2021 campaign. Other AL outfield contenders include three potential first-timers: Adolis García, Mitch Haniger and Trey Mancini.

J.D. Martinez served as the AL’s starting designated hitter in both 2018 and ’19, and while the Boston slugger is having another superb season, Angels phenom Shohei Ohtani could unseat him for his first All-Star start.

In the NL, three different infielders are looking to extend their streak of All-Star starting assignments.

Willson Contreras started behind the plate for the NL in both 2018 and ’19, but Buster Posey — who held that spot for three straight years from 2015-17 — could reclaim the job and make his fifth career All-Star start in the process.

Reigning NL MVP Freddie Freeman has started each of the past two Midsummer Classics at first base, but he’ll have to hold off Rhys Hoskins of the Phillies among others to earn his third straight start.

Nolan Arenado has started at third base for the NL in each of the past three All-Star Games, all in a Rockies uniform. Now playing for the Cardinals, Arenado is seeking a fourth career start as the game returns to Coors Field for the first time since 1998. Evan Longoria is among those trying to unseat Arenado, and should Longoria — the AL starter in 2010 — be elected, he would join an exclusive list of players to earn starting selections in both leagues. Kris Bryant — whose sole All-Star start came in 2016 — should also garner some votes.

At second base, 10 different players have started for the NL over the past 10 All-Star Games, and thanks to some positional and league switches, this year is guaranteed to produce an 11th. No second baseman on the ballot has started an All-Star Game, giving players such as Adam Frazier, Jake Cronenworth, Ryan McMahon and Jazz Chisolm Jr. a shot at their first such honor.

Javier Báez, who started at shortstop for the NL in 2019 and at second base in 2018, is seeking his third straight start overall. He’ll have a major obstacle to overcome at the loaded position, namely Fernando Tatis Jr., whose monster season has him positioned to make his first All-Star start. Trea Turner and Brandon Crawford — the latter of whom started for the NL in 2018 — are also strong candidates.

Ronald Acuña Jr., who is seeking his second straight start for the NL, leads an impressive group of outfielders. Nick Castellanos, Jesse Winker, Chris Taylor, Bryan Reynolds and Trent Grisham are among those looking for their first career All-Star starts, though three-time AL starter Mookie Betts will try to earn his first such honor in the NL.

MLB has once again teamed up with Google to give fans an easy way to vote just by searching “MLB Vote” or the names of their favorite players. The 2021 Google MLB All-Star Ballot features two phases of fan voting to determine the All-Star starters.

Fans can cast their votes exclusively online and via mobile devices at MLB.com, all 30 club websites, the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps and on Google Search in the U.S. and Canada until the voting period for Phase 1 concludes at 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 24.

On Sunday, June 27, the top three vote-getters at each position (and top nine outfielders) in each league will be revealed at noon p.m. ET on the 2021 Google MLB All-Star Ballot Finalists Show on MLB Network, advancing to the second phase of voting.

Phase 2 will last for four days, concluding on Thursday, July 1 at 2 p.m. ET. Later that night, the starting teams will be announced at 9 p.m. ET on the 2021 Google MLB All-Star Starters Reveal on ESPN.

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