HOUSTON -- Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is looking like a lock for the All-Star Game. Shortstop Carlos Correa is in the hunt. Outfielder George Springer is a nudge behind some of baseball's premier players in Michael Trout, the super-slugging Aaron Judge and the American League's top performer through three
HOUSTON -- Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is looking like a lock for the All-Star Game. Shortstop Carlos Correa is in the hunt. Outfielder George Springer is a nudge behind some of baseball's premier players in Michael Trout, the super-slugging Aaron Judge and the American League's top performer through three months of the season, Mookie Betts.
• VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot
With work to do, the reigning World Series champions had an expected Altuve-focused representation during Tuesday's announcement of the AL's first ballot update for the 2018 MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard.
Altuve, the reigning AL Most Valuable Player Award winner, should face little pressure en route to representing Houston for a fourth consecutive year as a starter, with 701,236 votes so far, trailing only Betts for the most in the Majors. Altuve, who also made a National League All-Star appearance in 2012, leads the Majors with 93 hits in an AL-most 272 at-bats. He is second in batting average (.342, behind Betts' .359) in a league-most 67 games.
With a monstrous lead, Altuve is trailed by Yankees rookie Gleyber Torres (279,810) in second place. Should Altuve ease into his sixth All-Star selection, he would join Hall of Famer Rod Carew (nine straight, 1967-75), Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar (four straight, 1991-94; five straight, 1996-2000) and Robinson Canó (five straight, 2010-14) as the only AL second basemen to win at least four consecutive fan elections.
Betts' stellar surge through three months in Boston's outfield has knocked Astros center fielder and World Series MVP Springer to fifth (225,316) behind Betts (748,872), Trout (639,822), Judge (541,983) and Cleveland's Michael Brantley (238,659).
The Orioles' Manny Machado (321,887) leads all shortstops by more than 100,000 votes. Ahead of Correa (206,727), who sits in fourth place, is Machado, Cleveland's Francisco Lindor (211,756) and New York's Didi Gregorius (208,583).
Altuve was joined by six Astros in 2017's All-Star Game, including Correa and Springer -- marking the first time Houston has had three position players starting as a result of fan voting -- and pitchers Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers and Chris Devenski.
With their starting rotation on a historic pace as a five-man wrecking crew, there are sure to be newbies representing the Astros in the 2018 Midsummer Classic, including manager AJ Hinch. By securing the AL pennant for Houston last year en route to winning the World Series, Hinch will be the first Astros skipper to manage an All-Star Game since Phil Garner for the NL in 2006 in Pittsburgh.
Other Astros in contention: Catcher Brian McCann (third place), first baseman Yuli Gurriel (fifth), third baseman Alex Bregman (third), outfielder Marwin Gonzalez (eighth) and Josh Reddick (10th). Evan Gattis (fourth) is also on the AL ballot as a designated hitter.
Fans may cast votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot until Thursday, July 5, at 11:59 p.m. ET. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps. Each fan can vote up to five times in any 24-hour period, for a maximum of 35 ballots cast.
Following the announcement of this year's All-Star starters, reserves and pitchers, fans should return to MLB.com and cast their 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Final Vote for the final player on each league's roster. Then on Tuesday, July 17, while watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, fans may visit MLB.com to submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.
The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.
Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.