Rizzo, Castro, Bryant headline Cubs on All-Star ballot
CHICAGO -- Could Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro be named to the National League All-Star team again for a second consecutive year? Will Dexter Fowler and Chris Coghlan be picked for the first time? And what about top prospect Kris Bryant -- is he All-Star-worthy?
The Cubs have eight players on the All-Star ballot, released on Wednesday. The list includes Rizzo and Castro, who both made the NL team last year, plus Bryant, Fowler, Coghlan, Miguel Montero, Tommy La Stella and Jorge Soler.
Bryant, called up to the big league team on April 17, was surprised to learn he'd been included.
"With 11 games, I don't feel like I've done much to earn that yet," Bryant said. "I play the game to win, not to get those type of awards. It definitely is something pretty cool."
Since going 0-for-4 in his debut, Bryant was batting .378 with a .511 OBP and 10 RBIs in his last 10 games entering Wednesday's action.
"I'm just a lot more relaxed and just another guy in the locker room, honestly," he said. "That's just what I want. I don't want all the attention, and I don't want all that stuff, I just want to come out here and play and help the team win.
"This homestand has been a whole lot different."
Other than Rizzo and Castro, only Montero has been selected to the All-Star team, and that was in 2011 and '14 while he was with the D-backs.
La Stella was placed on the ballot before he was injured. The second baseman played two games before he was sidelined with a strained side. Addison Russell, the Cubs' No. 2 prospect, has now taken over at second while La Stella rehabs.
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Rizzo was named to the NL team in the Final Vote competition in 2014, while Castro is a three-time All-Star, having played in 2011, '12 and '14.
If Bryant or Soler were to make the NL team, they would be the first Cubs rookies named to the All-Star team since Geovany Soto and Kosuke Fukudome were selected in 2008. Before Soto and Fukudome, the Cubs had not had a rookie chosen for the All-Star Game since Sam "Toothpick" Jones in 1955. The only other Cubs rookies to make the event were Toby Atwell in '52 and Don Johnson in '44.