We're just hours away from knowing the American and National League starting position players and the bulk of the pitchers and reserves for the 88th MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard. We're also just hours away from getting answers to the questions on many baseball fans' minds.Will Bryce Harper finish
We're just hours away from knowing the American and National League starting position players and the bulk of the pitchers and reserves for the 88th MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard. We're also just hours away from getting answers to the questions on many baseball fans' minds.
Will Bryce Harper finish as the Majors' overall vote leader, or can MLB home run leader Aaron Judge overtake him? Who will win the NL's epic battle at third base between perennial MVP contenders Nolan Arenado and Kristopher Bryant? And what about the three-horse race at the hot corner in the AL between Miguel Sano, Jose Ramirez and Josh Donaldson? Will the Senior Circuit's entire right side be populated by Nationals stars Ryan Zimmerman, Daniel Murphy and Harper?
Meanwhile, Reds fans appear to be flooding the ballot box for shortstop Zack Cozart, who as of the final ballot update held a slim lead over 2016 NL Rookie of the Year Corey Seager.
Taking the field for both ends of the Twins' doubleheader on Saturday, Sano made the most of the opportunity, hitting his 19th and 20th homers. In the Dodgers' rout of the Padres on Saturday, Seager tallied three hits, including his 13th homer, raising his average to .299.
Then there's the Astros, owners of MLB's best record. They have a chance to be well represented by their talented young trio of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer.
The stars will be out, that much is certain. But only 17 position players (nine fan-elected starters in the AL, eight in the NL) will receive one of the game's greatest honors as a starter for the Midsummer Classic. Those elite players will be revealed at 7 ET tonight on the Esurance All-Star Selection Show on ESPN, prior to the network's Sunday Night Baseball telecast featuring the Nationals at the Cardinals. So tune in to find out who gets the starting nod. Then take a breather, because there will still be more votes to cast.
As noted above, the AL All-Star team will have nine elected starters via the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot, while the NL squad will have eight fan-elected starters. Pitchers and reserves for both teams -- totaling 23 for the NL and 22 for the AL -- will be determined through a combination of Player Ballot choices and selections made by the Commissioner's Office.
Following the unveiling of the 2017 All-Star starters, reserves and pitchers, fans should return to MLB.com and cast their 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote for the final player on each league's All-Star roster. Then on Tuesday, July 11, while watching the 2017 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 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.
The fan vote for starters closed at 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, and now it is time to find out how your favorite players fared. On the final day of voting, five positional races were down-to-the-wire finishes, including the starting spot at third base in both leagues. With less than 12 hours left in balloting, here were the five key races:
AL third base
Fewer than 60,000 votes separated three players. Miguel Sano of the Twins was still leading with 1,764,734 votes, followed closely by Jose Ramirez of the Indians (1,730,869) and Josh Donaldson of the Blue Jays (1,671,408).
Who will replace retired David Ortiz in the lineup in Miami? New leader Corey Dickerson of the Rays (1,616,809) was holding a small edge over Nelson Cruz of the Mariners (1,557,747) and Edwin Encarnacion of the Indians (1,505,226).
NL first base
Did Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs catch Washington's Ryan Zimmerman? This has been a vote battle royale, and Rizzo (1,915,790) was fewer than 75,000 behind Zimmerman (1,989,104).
NL third base
There is a rich tradition of final-week takeovers, and we'll see whether the big move by Colorado's Nolan Arenado is the latest example for an All-Star starter. He finally surpassed Kris Bryant of the Cubs, and was trying to hold onto a lead of 2,426,431 to 2,322,249.
Dodgers fans were pouring it on, and it remained to be seen whether the lead by Zack Cozart of the Reds (2,260,205) would stand up against early NL MVP contender Corey Seager of Los Angeles (2,151,923).
The 88th Midsummer Classic on July 11, at Marlins Park in Miami, 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, while MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM will have 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.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub.