Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez, Major League Baseball's leading vote-getter, and Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who led the National League in voting, will be among the starters in the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, to be played on Tuesday, July 12th at Petco Park in San Diego. The 2016 American League and National League All-Star starters were unveiled earlier this evening during the "2016 Esurance All-Star Selection Show" on ESPN.
The Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot was conducted exclusively online for the second consecutive season. The AL All-Star Team has nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the NL All-Star Team has eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads - totaling 25 for the NL and 24 for the AL - are determined through a combination of "Player Ballot" choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers - AL skipper Ned Yost of the defending World Series Champion Royals and NL manager Terry Collins of the reigning National League Champion New York Mets.
Perez, who totaled 4,965,838 votes, joined Hall of Famer George Brett (1981) as the only Royals in history to pace the Majors in All-Star balloting. This marks the fourth consecutive Midsummer Classic selection for Perez, including his second consecutive fan-elected start. The 26-year-old Perez is the first AL catcher to earn consecutive fan elections since Joe Mauer (2008-10), and he joins the aforementioned Brett (11) as the only Royals in team history to receive multiple fan elections. Among AL catchers, he ranks first in batting average (.277), hits (74) and slugging percentage (.483), is tied for first in RBI (37), and is second in doubles (15) and home runs (12).
Rizzo topped the NL with 3,242,670 votes en route to his third straight All-Star selection and first career fan election. The 26-year-old joins Derrek Lee (2005) as the only Cubs first basemen to receive a fan election. Rizzo, who hit 20 homers prior to the break in 2014, clubbed his 20th home run of the season on Saturday. He joins Hall of Famer Billy Williams (1970, 1972) as the only two left-handed hitters in franchise history to reach 20 homers before the break in multiple seasons. In addition, he is the third Cub age 26-or-younger with four consecutive 20-homer seasons, joining Hall of Famers Ron Santo and Williams. The Florida native is hitting .282 on the season with 20 home runs, 61 RBI, 19 doubles and 49 runs scored.
Rizzo is joined among the NL starters by four of his teammates - second baseman Ben Zobrist, third baseman Kris Bryant; shortstop Addison Russell; and outfielder Dexter Fowler. The Cubs will become just the second team in history to have their entire infield start the Midsummer Classic, joining the 1963 St. Louis Cardinals, who had first baseman Bill White, second baseman Julian Javier, third baseman Ken Boyer and shortstop Dick Groat start the 34th All-Star Game. With five players receiving fan-elected starts, the Cubs become just the second team since fan voting was reinstated in 1970 to have five players earn fan elections. The only other instance was the 1976 Cincinnati Reds, who had Johnny Bench, Dave Concepcion, George Foster, Joe Morgan and Pete Rose elected to start.
Zobrist, who was an AL All-Star with the Rays in 2009 and 2013, earns his first career fan election in his first season with the Cubs. The 35-year-old, who garnered 3,013,407 votes, finished just 88 votes ahead of second-place Daniel Murphy of the Washington Nationals (3,013,407). Zobrist becomes the third Cubs second baseman to earn a fan election, joining Glenn Beckert (1970-71) and Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg (1984, 1986-93). Zobrist, who has reached base safely in 65 of his 77 games played this season, ranks fourth in the NL with a .404 on-base percentage to go along with a .296 batting average, 11 home runs, 43 RBI and 55 runs scored. His 24 two-out RBI are tied for second in the NL.
Bryant, who received 3,063,929 votes, held off Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies (2,754,191) to earn his second consecutive All-Star selection after making the NL squad as a rookie in 2015. The 24-year-old joins Hall of Famer Ron Santo (1973) as the only Cubs third basemen to earn a fan election. Bryant ranks among NL leaders in runs (1st, 67), home runs (1st, 24) and RBI (2nd, 63). Over his last 18 games, is batting .302 (19-for-63) with five doubles, nine home runs and 18 RBI. His 11 homers in June were his most in any calendar month and tied for the most in the Majors.
The 22-year-old Russell collected 2,115,097 votes, finishing ahead of Colorado's Trevor Story (1,799,853) to seize his first All-Star selection. Russell joins Don Kessinger (1970, 1972) as the only Cubs shortstops to receive a fan-elected start. The Florida native, who was the 11th overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft (by Oakland), is batting .238 on the season with nine home runs, 45 RBI, 10 doubles and 32 runs scored. Among NL shortstops, he ranks second with 36 walks and his RBI total is fourth.
Fowler, in his second season with the Cubs, is an All-Star for the first time in his career after finishing third among NL outfielders with 2,767,109 votes. He is joined in the NL outfield by leader Bryce Harper of the Nationals (2,865,095) and second-place Yoenis Cespedes of the New York Mets (2,816,146). Fowler is the first Cubs outfielder to receive a fan-elected starting assignment since Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome in 2008. The 30-year-old Fowler, who was placed on the disabled list two weeks ago with a sore right hamstring, is hitting .290 on the season with seven home runs, 28 RBI, 19 doubles, 41 runs scored and six stolen bases.
Harper, who led the way in the NL outfield for the second consecutive season after setting a new NL balloting record in 2015, is an All-Star for the fourth time in his career (also: 2012-13, 2015). In addition, this marks the 23-year-old's third career fan-elected start (also: 2013, 2015). He joins Hall of Famers Gary Carter (4) and Andre Dawson (3) as the only players in franchise history (Montreal/Washington) to receive at least three fan elections. The 23-year-old leads the Majors with 66 walks and ranks eighth with a .404 on-base percentage. The Las Vegas native, who has reached base safely in 25 of his last 27 games, is hitting .258 on the season with 17 home runs, 48 RBI, 11 doubles, 47 runs scored and 11 stolen bases.
Cespedes, who becomes an All-Star for the second time in his career after making the AL squad in 2014 while with Oakland, is the first Mets outfielder to receive a fan-elected start since Carlos Beltran in 2009. In his first full season with New York, the 30-year-old native of Cuba is batting .300 on the season with 20 home runs, 50 RBI, 15 doubles, 45 runs scored and a .578 slugging percentage. Cespedes, who is tied for fourth in the NL in home runs and tied for ninth in the Majors, connected for his 20th home run of the season on July 1st, the fastest a Met has reached the mark since Beltran and Carlos Delgado in 2006.
Rounding out the starting NL position players is catcher Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants, who received 2,266,868 votes to edge out St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (2,161,819). Posey, an All-Star for the fourth time (2012-13, 2015), wins his second consecutive fan election and third overall (also 2012). The 29-year-old native of Georgia is hitting .291 on the season with 10 home runs, 40 RBI, 19 doubles and 48 runs scored. Over his last 20 games, Buster is hitting .403 (29-for-72). Posey and Molina have now combined to win each of the last five and seven of the last eight fan elections as the NL's starting backstop.
In his 20th and final Major League season, David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox earns his 10th All-Star selection (2004-08, 2010-13) and eighth fan-elected start (2005-08, 2011-13) after finishing with the second-highest vote total in the AL (4,364,746). The 40-year-old, who is the first player in Red Sox history to receive eight fan elections (Manny Ramirez - 7), outpaced fellow AL East designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion of the Toronto Blue Jays (1,543,874). David is hitting .339 on the season with 19 home runs and 66 RBI. He leads the Majors with 34 doubles, a .433 on-base percentage and a .679 slugging percentage. Ortiz is joined among the AL starters by three of his Boston teammates - shortstop Xander Bogaerts (3,681,589) and outfielders Jackie Bradley Jr. (2,682,173) and Mookie Betts (2,499,540). With four players receiving fan-elected starts, the Red Sox become the 11th team in AL history to have four players win fan-elected starting assignments. The others include the 1975 Oakland Athletics, 1981 New York Yankees, 1982 California Angels, 1987 Yankees, 1999 Cleveland Indians, 2001 Mariners, 2005 Red Sox, 2008 Red Sox, 2011 Yankees and 2015 Royals.
In his fourth Major League season, Bogaerts becomes an All-Star for the first time in his career, and he becomes the first Red Sox shortstop since Nomar Garciaparra (1999) to win a fan election. The 23-year-old is batting .336 on the season with nine home runs, 51 RBI, 22 doubles, 62 runs scored and 11 stolen bases. The Aruba native ranks second in the Majors in hits (114) and fifth in batting average. Bogaerts recorded his 100th hit of the season on June 19th in Boston's 68th game of the season, tying Doc Cramer (1939) for the second-fewest team games in which a Sox hitter has tallied his first 100 hits of any season, trailing Hall of Famer Tris Speaker (64 games in 1912).
Bradley becomes an All-Star for the first time in his four-year career. The 26-year-old is batting .294 on the season with 13 home runs, 53 RBI, 20 doubles, six triples, 47 runs scored and seven stolen bases. The Virginia native, who was drafted 40th overall by the Red Sox in 2011, recorded a 29-game hitting streak from April 24th-May 25th. Jackie ranks among AL leaders in triples (2nd), on-base percentage (6th, .381) and slugging percentage (8th, .546). He was caught stealing last week for the first time in 21 career attempts. Among active players with at least 15 career attempts, his 95.2% success rate ranks first.
Betts also earns his first career Midsummer Classic selection in his third Major League season. The 23-year-old is hitting .296 on the season with 18 home runs, 57 RBI, 21 doubles, four triples, 71 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. He joins Manny Ramirez (2003) and Hall of Famer Wade Boggs (1987) as the only Red Sox in the last 100 years with at least 70 runs, 100 hits and 15 home runs before the All-Star break. Mookie leads all Major League leadoff hitters in hits, home runs and RBI. Bradley and Betts are the first pair of Red Sox outfielders to earn fan elections in the same season since Ramirez and Johnny Damon (2005).
Joining the Red Sox duo in the outfield will be Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, who garnered 3,828,794 votes to lead all AL outfielders in voting for the second straight season. This marks the fifth consecutive All-Star selection for the 24-year-old and his fourth straight starting assignment. Trout will become the sixth AL player to start at least four All-Star Games before turning 25, joining 2016 Hall of Fame electee Ken Griffey Jr. (5); Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio (4), Mickey Mantle (4) and Al Kaline (4); and Ivan Rodriguez (4). The New Jersey native is batting .324 on the season with 17 home runs, 54 RBI, 20 doubles, two triples, 59 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. With his 15th home run, he became one of six players all time with four seasons of at least 15 home runs before the Midsummer Classic prior to his age-25 season. The others include Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda and Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx.
Rounding out the starting AL position players are first baseman Eric Hosmer of the Royals (3,355,123), second baseman Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros (3,013,214) and third baseman Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles (2,985,003).
Hosmer, who becomes an All-Star for the first time in his six-year career, topped Detroit's Miguel Cabrera (2,777,857) in voting. The 26-year-old Hosmer is the first Kansas City first baseman to win a fan election since fan voting was reinstated in 1970. The Florida native is hitting .303 on the season with 13 home runs, 49 RBI, 18 doubles and 44 runs scored. Since May 25th, Hosmer is batting .368 (14-for-38) with runners in scoring position.
Altuve earns his second consecutive fan-elected start after topping Seattle's Robinson Cano (1,560,041). An All-Star for the fourth time overall (2012, 2014-15), Altuve joins fellow second baseman and Hall of Famer Craig Biggio (1995-98) as the only players in Astros history to receive multiple fan elections. Altuve, who leads the Majors with 115 hits and a .353 batting average, has 14 home runs, 49 RBI, 62 runs scored and 21 stolen bases on the season. His 14 home runs are already one shy of his career high of 15 (2015). Altuve has played in 174 consecutive team games, marking the longest active games played streak in the Majors.
In his fifth Major League season, Machado has been selected an All-Star for the third time (2013, 2015) while receiving his first fan-elected starting assignment. The 23-year-old topped reigning AL Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson of the Blue Jays (2,130,329) in voting. Manny is the first Orioles third baseman to garner a fan election since Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. earned five straight from 1997-2001. The Florida native is hitting .325 on the season with 18 home runs, 50 RBI, 29 doubles and 58 runs scored. The third overall pick in the 2010 Draft was named AL Player of the Month for April, batting .344 during the month.
After having 10 first-time fan-elected starters in 2015, the American League and National League have combined for 11 first-time fan-elected starters this year, marking the most since there were also 11 in 2005. In addition, 12 of the 17 fan-elected starters, including eight of the nine AL starters, are 26 years old-or-younger.
Fans will begin casting votes for the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote on MLB.com and the Club sites immediately following the Esurance All-Star Selection Show on ESPN and will continue voting until 4 p.m. (EDT) on Friday, July 8th. The winners, as chosen exclusively by online fan voting totals, then will be announced during a Final Vote-themed telecast of MLB Now, featuring commentary from political analyst Jeff Greenfield, live on MLB Network and MLB.com from 4:00-5:00 p.m. (EDT). MLB Network will provide extensive coverage across all of its studio programming during the Final Vote, including interviews with the candidates, hourly updates, heat maps indicating the cities where votes are being cast for each candidate, updates on player and club campaigns and a running countdown clock leading up to the announcement.
Baseball fans have cast nearly 600 million online votes for Final Vote candidates since the program's inception in 2002. In addition to MLB.com and the official club websites, fans can use their mobile devices to cast ballots at MLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, fans can text the choice to 89269. EXAMPLE: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Message and data rates may apply. Text "STOP" to end and "HELP" for information. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text their choices to 101010. For the fifth consecutive year, the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote also will include social balloting, as Twitter support from the 10 candidates' fans over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their final vote totals. From 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. (EDT) on Friday, July 8th, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the AL and NL winners.
This year's final phase of All-Star Game voting again will have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans can vote exclusively at MLB.com and the 30 Club sites - online or via their mobile devices - with the 2016 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote presented by Chevrolet, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining this year's recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB All-Star Week includes the MLB All-Star Game presented by MasterCard at Petco Park (July 12th), Gatorade All-Star Workout Day featuring the T-Mobile Home Run Derby (July 11th), All-Star Sunday featuring the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game (July 10th), All-Star FanFest at the San Diego Convention Center (July 8th-12th), plus a lineup of additional events taking place around the city. The 87th Midsummer Classic will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM 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 @AllStarGame on social media.