A knee injury kept Giancarlo Stanton out of the All-Star Game and the Home Run Derby in 2012. But at the rate he is going now, nothing may keep the Marlins' 24-year-old slugger out of either event this season.
Stanton is off to the best start of his career, and the right fielder is making the case to be the National League Player of the Month. If he keeps it up, he promises to attract plenty of fan votes to be a serious contender to start at the Midsummer Classic in July.
It's not too early to talk All-Star voting, because the process is about to begin online.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15.
Voting gets underway at Marlins Park on May 4, and it runs through June 20.
Stanton headlines the list of Marlins regulars on the ballot. In all, the eight Marlins projected to be everyday regulars entering Spring Training are on the National League ballot. Of the group, second baseman Rafael Furcal is in position to play catch-up, because he's been on the disabled list all year.
Furcal, a three-time All-Star, strained his left hamstring in Spring Training, and he currently is on rehab assignment at Double-A Jacksonville. The 36-year-old projects to join the big league club in early May.
The other seven on the list are pretty obvious. Along with Stanton in the outfield are Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, first baseman Garrett Jones, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and third baseman Casey McGehee round out the list.
Fans may submit up to 25 online ballots, but they can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, register on the site in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.
Because of his power and popularity, Stanton has a chance to become the Marlins' first position player to be voted in as a starter since Hanley Ramirez in 2010.
Stanton was selected to participate in the 2012 All-Star Game in Kansas City, but the day before he was to perform in the Home Run Derby, he underwent surgery on his right knee and missed more than a month of action.
This year, Stanton is healthy and giving fans plenty to think about when they cast their votes.
Fans this year once again can participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The 2014 Home Run Derby will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 14.
The 2014 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on the 2014 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show during the weekend of July 5-6, with further details to follow on MLB.com. Immediately following the announcement of the AL and NL All-Star rosters, fans can begin voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each league over the balloting period.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro.