5 Cubs lead on NL ballot; Rizzo tops in voting

June 1st, 2016

CHICAGO -- The first round of results was released on Wednesday, and the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo is the leading vote-getter in the National League in fan balloting (874,471) for the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, and he could have plenty of company at the July 12 game in San Diego.

The rest of the Cubs' infielders are among the top vote-getters at their positions: second baseman Ben Zobrist (732,519 votes), third baseman Kris Bryant (776,107) and shortstop Addison Russell (544,240). Dexter Fowler has received 797,160 votes and is second among NL outfielders behind the Nationals' Bryce Harper (838,599).

"It's awesome," Bryant said about having the entire Cubs infield leading their respective positions. "It says a lot about our fan base and this city and the people behind us. It's incredible. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out. Right now it feels awesome."

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Miguel Montero is third among NL catchers, trailing the Cardinals' Yadier Molina and the Giants' Buster Posey; Jason Heyward was fourth and Jorge Soler sixth among outfielders.

"We have a lot of popular players," general manager Jed Hoyer said. "They're good guys, they play hard, and they endear themselves to the fan base."

A two-time All-Star who is aiming for his first fan-elected start, Rizzo could become the second Cubs first baseman to win a fan election, joining Derrek Lee (2005). Rizzo has 11 home runs, 10 doubles, a triple and 30 runs scored, and is tied for second in the NL in RBIs, with 37.

"It's awesome to see," Rizzo said. "It's an honor with what we've been doing on the field. For the fans to recognize it, it's awesome."

He didn't expect to be the top vote-getter.

"It's unreal," he said. "I'm very appreciative of [the fans' support]. I try to go out every day and play the game hard and the way it's supposed to be played."

The last Cubs to win a fan election were Kosuke Fukudome, Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto, all of whom were chosen by the fans in 2008.

The last time a team had five position players elected as starters to an All-Star team was in 1976, when five Reds -- third baseman Pete Rose, second baseman Joe Morgan, outfielder George Foster, catcher Johnny Bench and shortstop Dave Concepcion -- started.

The only team to have all four starting infielders was the 1963 Cardinals -- first baseman Bill White, second baseman Julian Javier, third baseman Ken Boyer and shortstop Dick Groat.

Russell said that his wife, Melisa, told him about the voting update.

"My wife informed me -- she made me blush a little," Russell said. "It'd be awesome. I think that's every kid's dream [to play in an All-Star Game]."

Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on their computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday, June 30, at 9:59 p.m. CT. Vote up to five times in any 24-hour period for a maximum of 35 times.

Fans may also receive the ballot by texting VOTE to 89269 (USA) or 101010 (Canada). Or text VOTA for a ballot in Spanish. Message and data rates may apply. Up to five messages. No purchase required. Reply STOP to cancel. Reply HELP for info.

Following the announcement of the 2016 All-Stars, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote for the final player on each league's All-Star roster. On Tuesday, July 12, watch the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.

The 87th All-Star Game, in San Diego, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Rizzo and Bryant represented the Cubs at the 2015 All-Star Game. In 2008 the Cubs sent eight players to the event, including Fukudome, Soto, Soriano and Aramis Ramirez, and pitchers Ryan Dempster, Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano.