The American League has announced the first balloting update for the 85th All-Star Game. The game will be held July 15, 2014, at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Two Detroit Tigers are residing at the top of the ballots at their respective positions.
Ian Kinsler leads the vote at second base, but it's a very narrow advantage. Kinsler has 356,244 votes, closely followed by the Mariners' Robinson Cano (350,293) and Dustin Pedroia (343,321) of the Red Sox. After a pair of down seasons, which led to his being traded from the Rangers for Prince Fielder this winter, Kinsler has bounced back with one of the best starts of his career. A three-time All-Star looking to make his first Midsummer Classic start, Kinsler is hitting .330/.360/.477 with an .837 OPS, along with four home runs and 22 RBIs.
Kinsler hopes to join Lou Whitaker (1984-86) and Placido Palonco (2007) as the only other Tigers second basemen to receive an All-Star Game starting assignment via the fan vote.
To no one's surprise, Miguel Cabrera is the AL's top vote getter at first base. Cabrera (440,407) has a solid lead over Albert Pujols (371,193) of the Angels and White Sox rookie Jose Abreu (367,617). After a slow start to the season, Cabrera has been one of the hottest players in baseball over the past month. The two-time reigning AL MVP is hitting .321/.366/.533, good for an .899 OPS, while adding seven home runs and 42 RBIs.
Cabrera is on track to make his eighth All-Star Game appearance, and fifth as a member of the Tigers. It would be his second consecutive fan-elected start after earning the starting nod at third base in 2013. Other Tigers with multiple fan-elected starting assignments at the Midsummer Classic include catchers Bill Freehan (1970, 1972), Lance Parrish (1984-86), Ivan Rodriguez (2004, 2006-07), and Whitaker (1984-86).
Kinsler and Cabrera are hoping to become the ninth pair of teammates to earn starting All-Star assignments on the right side of the infield, and the first since Boston’s Kevin Youkilis and Pedroia in 2008.
The only other Tiger in the top three at their position in All-Star balloting is Victor Martinez. Despite his league leading .341 batting average, the Tigers' DH resides in third with 340,827 votes, trailing both the Red Sox's David Ortiz (501,808) and Nelson Cruz (484,186) of the Orioles.
As for the remaining Tigers in the ballot, no one else is in the hunt for a starting assignment. Rookie Nick Castellanos is a distant fifth in the AL third base race with 157,768 votes. In the outfield, Torii Hunter is 85K votes out of the final AL starting spot, currently in sixth place with 322,736 votes. Rajai Davis is a distant 13th with 186,913 votes, and Austin Jackson's 175,165 votes have him in 14th.
In the AL overall vote, Angels outfielder Mike Trout leads all AL players in the first balloting figures with 764,007. He's followed by Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista (675,290), and Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (602,525).
If the balloting ended today, the AL lineup would be as follows:
1B: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
2B: Ian Kinsler, Tigers
3B: Josh Donaldson, Athletics
SS: Derek Jeter, Yankees
OF: Mike Trout, Angels
OF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
OF: Jacoby Ellsbury, Yankees
C: Matt Wieters, Orioles
DH: David Ortiz, Red Sox