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Lindor, Brantley on pace for All-Star starts

MLB.com @MLBastian

DENVER -- Francisco Lindor has paced the 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot for American League shortstops two weeks running now, putting the Indians star in a strong position to start in the 2017 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard. Last week, Cleveland left fielder Michael Brantley was just outside the top three for the outfield.

"I'm sure he will be in the top three," Lindor said confidently last week. "I believe in the fans."

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DENVER -- Francisco Lindor has paced the 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot for American League shortstops two weeks running now, putting the Indians star in a strong position to start in the 2017 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard. Last week, Cleveland left fielder Michael Brantley was just outside the top three for the outfield.

"I'm sure he will be in the top three," Lindor said confidently last week. "I believe in the fans."

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Lindor's words came to fruition on Tuesday, when the latest voting numbers were revealed. Brantley joined Lindor among the current leading vote-getters to start for the AL on July 11 in Miami. For the second straight week, the Indians had a player within the top five at every position.

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The Indians have not had a player voted into the starting lineup since 2001 (Juan Gonzalez).

Brantley's place among the possible starting outfield is remarkable, considering the left fielder missed nearly all of last season while dealing with right shoulder and biceps issues. This year, Brantley returned from an August surgery on his biceps in time to make the Opening Day roster, and he has since turned in strong production. He ranks third in balloting with 554,620 votes, trailing only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (1,251,543) and Angels outfielder Mike Trout (1,155,356).

"[Brantley] has worked so hard," Indians manager Terry Francona said recently. "He was working during the playoffs, during the World Series -- when it probably wasn't a whole lot of fun to do that, in the offseason. And he worked so dang hard that when he came back, he's actually the same player as before, which is not easy to do."

Heading into Tuesday's game, Brantley had a .309/.375/.448 slash line to go with five home runs, 10 doubles, 24 RBIs and 22 runs scored through 47 games. Brantley (an All-Star in 2014) ranked sixth among AL outfielders in both batting average and on-base percentage, and he had a 123 weighted Runs Created Plus, indicating that he has played 23 percent above league average.

Lindor maintained his hold on the lead at shortstop with 842,166 votes, representing the fourth-most votes among all AL players. Other Indians players on the leaderboard for their position included: first baseman Carlos Santana (third with 420,336 votes), second baseman Jason Kipnis (third with 402,228), third baseman Jose Ramirez (second with 541,040), catcher Yan Gomes (fifth with 381,178), designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (third with 447,275), outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall (10th with 348,816) and outfielder Abraham Almonte (13th with 302,402).

Fans may cast votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday, June 29, at 11:59 p.m. ET. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB.com At Bat and MLB.com Ballpark mobile apps. Vote up to five times in any 24-hour period for a maximum of 35 ballots cast.

Following the announcement 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 88th Midsummer Classic, 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.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

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