SEATTLE -- When fans glance at the loaded shortstop position on the American League All-Star ballot that was released Friday, they'll see Manny Machado, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, Andrelton Simmons and Didi Gregorius.One name that shouldn't be overlooked in that flock of first-rate talent, however, is Mariners shortstop
SEATTLE -- When fans glance at the loaded shortstop position on the American League All-Star ballot that was released Friday, they'll see Manny Machado, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, Andrelton Simmons and Didi Gregorius.
One name that shouldn't be overlooked in that flock of first-rate talent, however, is Mariners shortstop Jean Segura.
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The 28-year-old has played extremely well over the first two months and even among that star-studded group, it is Segura who was either leading or tied for the lead for hits, doubles, stolen bases and batting average while sitting second in RBIs and runs scored at the end of May.
"Jean has had an outstanding start to the season," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He certainly should be in that conversation. And it is a really good group. The strength of the American League right now is probably young shortstops."
Segura, acquired from the D-backs in 2017, doesn't have the high profile of some of his AL competitors. But he was a 2013 National League All-Star for the Brewers, led the NL in hits for Arizona in '16 and batted .300 with 22 stolen bases and 80 runs in 125 games last year as the Mariners' leadoff hitter.
This season he's excelled even further after dropping into the No. 2 spot in Seattle's order between newcomer Dee Gordon and Robinson Cano. And when Cano was suspended for 80 games and Gordon went on the disabled list with a broken toe, Segura moved back to the top spot in the lineup and just kept hitting for a team that has stayed close on the heels of the Astros in the AL West.
"I know the offensive numbers are easy to look at," Servais said, "but defensively he's done a really nice job, making the plays that are supposed to be made, showing range. He's always had a good arm. He's finishing plays."
Cano, an eight-time All-Star, isn't on the ballot this year. Gordon, who began the year in center field, is listed at second base after being shifted there following Cano's suspension.
Gordon, a two-time NL All-Star for the Dodgers and Marlins in 2014-15, certainly deserves consideration as well as he led the AL in stolen bases through May and has been a catalyst for the Mariners' surprising start with his speed atop the lineup.
Right fielder Mitch Haniger is another Mariner worthy of All-Star consideration as he's ranked among the AL outfield leaders in homers, RBIs, slugging percentage and OPS over the first two months.
Designated hitter Nelson Cruz, a five-time All-Star, is off to a slower start than usual while dealing with some nagging injuries, but he figures to draw support as well in an interesting position that includes Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton and Angels rookie Shohei Ohtani on this year's ballot.
Fans may cast votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot until Thursday, July 5, at 8:59 p.m. PT. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps. Each fan can vote up to five times in any 24-hour period, for a maximum of 35 ballots cast.
Following the announcement of this year's All-Star starters, reserves and pitchers, fans should return to MLB.com and cast their 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Final Vote for the final player on each league's roster. Then on Tuesday, July 17, while watching the 2018 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 2018 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.
The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM 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 @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.