Stanton seeking voting push for All-Star start
WASHINGTON -- A transition is occurring for Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton. The 24-year-old is progressing from a slugger to a star.
One of the strongest players in the game, Stanton has been a force for the surprising Marlins, who find themselves in contention a season after losing 100 games.
The improved overall play is a primary reason for Miami's meteoric rise. Stanton paces the Majors in RBIs with 49 entering Wednesday, and the National League in home runs with 15.
But if Stanton is to win a starting spot in the All-Star Game, he will need some help from the fans.
The first round of All-Star voting results was revealed on Wednesday and Stanton finds himself fourth among NL outfielders. Colorado's Charlie Blackmon, Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen and Milwaukee's Ryan Braun currently hold the top three spots.
Stanton approaches the voting process as he has handled the season -- he remains focused on what he can control, and nothing else.
"This isn't a prom king or a prom queen, your play should be what takes you there, not everything else," Stanton said.
Stanton is the only Miami regular who ranks among the leaders at his position.
While Stanton isn't about to plea for votes, his manager and teammates are picking up the cause.
"If we've got to campaign for him, then something is wrong with the process," right-hander Tom Koehler said. "You can't tell me there are [three] better outfielders than him right now. There are some good ones in this league. I'm not taking away anything anybody else is doing. But I don't know if there is anyone who can completely change the complexion of not only the game, but an entire series, like he can. I'm making sure to send out my Tweets, #StantonForAllStar, but if he's not in Minnesota, then there is a problem."
Manager Mike Redmond believes as the process continues, the votes will end up going in Stanton's favor.
"He's having an unbelievable year," Redmond said. "I think over the course of the next few weeks, we will probably start talking more about the All-Star Game, and All-Star team, he's going to probably start getting more and more votes. I'd like to see him in the starting lineup, that's for sure."
It's not often the Marlins have a candidate to receive enough votes to start. Just two players in club history have gotten the starting nod. Hanley Ramirez had a run of three straight seasons (2008-10) where he was the NL shortstop. And in 1993, Gary Sheffield was voted in as the starting third baseman, but a majority of the votes Sheffield collected came while he was with the Padres. He was dealt to Miami shortly before the All-Star Game.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15.
Fans may submit up to 25 online ballots, but they can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, register on the site in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.
The 2014 All-Star teams will be unveiled on the 2014 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show during the weekend of July 5-6, with further details to follow on MLB.com. The AL will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the NL will have eight fan-elected starters. Pitchers and reserves for both squads -- totaling 25 for the NL and 24 for the AL -- will be determined through a combination of "Player Ballot" choices and selections made by All-Star managers Mike Matheny (NL) and John Farrell (AL).
Immediately following the announcement of the rosters, you can select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Choose again at that point from among five players in each league. The Final Vote returns for its 13th season with more than 430 million votes cast to date, and you'll be able to make selections on MLB.com, club sites and your mobile device.
You'll be on a voting tear at that point, having already selected starters and the last men, and the ritual will not end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the big game, vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi. The fan voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Stanton is primed to be selected to the All-Star Game for the second time. However, if he makes it, this would be the first he actually attends.
In 2012, the slugger was picked as a reserve outfielder for the Midsummer Classic played at Kansas City. He also was picked for the Home Run Derby. But on the Sunday before the All-Star break, he underwent left knee surgery, which forced him to skip the entire event.
"I was an All-Star two years ago, but to actually be able to show up would be different this time around," Stanton said.
So while he was an All-Star that season, he ended up observing as a spectator in Miami.
Along with Stanton, the Marlins have a few other players worthy of All-Star votes. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been an impact player since signing as a free agent after winning a World Series with Boston last year.
Third baseman Casey McGehee may have only one home run, but he's been a consistent RBI producer and clutch hitter with runners in scoring position. McGehee also should receive serious consideration as the NL Comeback Player of the Year, because he spent last year in Japan. But that award isn't considered until close to the end of the season.
Last year, the Marlins had just one All-Star, Jose Fernandez.
Fernandez likely would have been a strong candidate again, but the 21-year-old had his season cut short due to a right elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.
Fans don't vote for the All-Star pitchers.
Miami does have a pitcher worthy of consideration. Closer Steve Cishek has been one of the most reliable in the game since he took over the role midway through 2012.
"It's so important for a ballclub when you have someone who can lock these games up," Redmond said. "Steve has been able to do that. It's been tough at times to get him the ball. But when he's gotten that opportunity he's gone out there and he's done it. That's been huge for us."