HOUSTON -- The Astros are already surging in the standings, and on Monday, it was revealed many players are making a push in the All-Star balloting, too.
The Astros have an American League-best six players landing in the top three spots at several positions, hinting several could make it to Phase 2 of the voting, when the top vote-getters face off for another flurry of balloting.
Catcher Martín Maldonado, first baseman Yuli Gurriel, second baseman Jose Altuve, third baseman Alex Bregman, designated hitter Yordan Alvarez and outfielder Michael Brantley all landed in the top echelon of their respective positions.
Altuve is in second place behind Marcus Semien (Blue Jays), and Brantley is ninth among AL outfielders (nine would qualify for the next round). The other Astros are in third place.
In a lineup filled with star power, Brantley and Gurriel have separated themselves from the pack. Through Sunday’s games, Brantley’s .337 average was second highest in the AL behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (.344), who is leading all Major League players in voting. Gurriel is in the top five in several offensive categories, including average (fourth, .323), OPS (fifth, .928) and RBIs (47, tied for fifth).
The Astros and Dodgers each lead their respective league with six top vote-getters.
The 2021 Google MLB All-Star Ballot -- which is available exclusively online and via mobile devices at MLB.com, all 30 club sites, the MLB App and on Google Search (U.S. and Canada only) -- will be accessible until the voting period for Phase 1 concludes at 3 p.m. CT on Thursday, June 24.
On Sunday, June 27, the top three vote-getters at each position (and the top nine outfielders) in each league will be revealed at 11 a.m. CT on the 2021 Google MLB All-Star Ballot Finalists Show exclusively on MLB Network, and they will advance to the second phase of voting to determine who makes the All-Star teams and then starts for each league.
During the initial voting period, fans can submit up to five ballots per 24-hour period on MLB platforms, and can vote for every position or up to 17 unique players per day on Google.
A key element of the voting process is that when Phase 2 begins, vote totals for the first round are not factored in. So, for example, Altuve, who is 231,543 votes behind Semien, would start with a clean slate at the start of Phase 2.
Altuve leads the Astros with six All-Star appearances (2012, 2014-18), while Brantley has been a part of four Midsummer Classics (2014, 2017-19). Bregman has been selected to two All-Star rosters (2018, ’19). The rest of the group -- Maldonado, Alvarez, Gurriel -- have never been selected to an All-Star Game in their careers.