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Ever-tightening All-Star races going to the wire

Cards' Molina, Giants' Posey only about 5,000 votes apart; balloting ends Thursday
June 27, 2016

Entering the final hours of the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot, it seems increasingly likely that Major League Baseball's tradition of surprising late-surge selections will continue as fans decide the starting position players for the 87th All-Star Game presented by MasterCard on July 12 in San Diego.In the National

Entering the final hours of the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot, it seems increasingly likely that Major League Baseball's tradition of surprising late-surge selections will continue as fans decide the starting position players for the 87th All-Star Game presented by MasterCard on July 12 in San Diego.
In the National League, there is now a virtual dead heat at catcher between to-date leader Yadier Molina of the Cardinals and surging Buster Posey of the Giants, while the Cubs' seemingly once-certain bounty of having five starters at Petco Park might be reduced to as few as two if leads keep disintegrating at this rate for infielders Ben Zobrist, Kris Bryant and Addison Russell.
Cast your Esurance All-Star Game Ballot for #ASGWorthy players
In the American League, two-time All-Star Game MVP Mike Trout of the Angels is the only one seemingly assured of a starting spot in the outfield. Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts of the Red Sox are still following him, respectively, in position for the other two spots, but the race is on. Betts is closing on his teammate, and only 208,503 votes separate Betts from No. 4 Lorenzo Cain of the Royals, No. 5 Mark Trumbo of the Orioles and No. 6 Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays.
Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday. Fans can submit up to five ballots per any 24-hour period, with a maximum of 35 ballots per account, exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 clubs sites using the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot.
Molina, bidding for his eighth consecutive All-Star selection, led in every weekly NL voting update for the past month. But Posey outvoted him since the last one, 433,716-363,433, so the previous lead that hovered around 70,000 is now down to just 5,130. The Nationals' Wilson Ramos, who made a big surge in the last update, outdrew Molina for the second week in a row, this time 383,224-363,433, and is very much in the picture given the massive voting volume.
The Cubs have dominated at all four infielder spots throughout the past month of updates, but at this moment, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, still holding a narrow lead over Trout in the race for top overall vote-getter, is the only sure thing. The other three have leads in the 300,000s, but that is a big dropoff over the past several days.
At third base, Nolan Arenado of the Rockies has outgained Bryant since Wednesday, 564,988-388,966.
At shortstop, Trevor Story of the Rockies outgained Russell, 313,545-251,184. Meanwhile, Dodgers rookie Corey Seager received more support than either of them -- 379,204 votes -- to make a late bid.
And at second base, few Major Leaguers have had a better time lately than Daniel Murphy of the Nationals. He received a whopping 594,028 votes since Wednesday's update -- compared to 417,730 for Zobrist. That reduced Zobrist's lead to 306,934, the smallest among those three Cubs.
Miguel Cabrera, Josh Donaldson and Nelson Cruz all made late-surge starts last year. Pablo Sandoval, Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera did it in 2012. So did Alex Avila and Jose Reyes in 2011. There was Josh Hamilton in 2010, Dustin Pedroia in 2009, Barry Bonds in 2007, Mark Teixeira and David Eckstein in 2005. In 2004, Hideki Matsui surged past fellow countryman Ichiro Suzuki to start for the American League. There were others as well, going back to Cal Ripken Jr. in 2001 -- enough evidence to know that some big leads are not safe.
All-Star Game roster FAQs
Fans may also receive the ballot by texting VOTE to 89269 (USA) or 101010 (Canada). Or text VOTA for a ballot in Spanish. Message and data rates may apply. Up to five messages. No purchase required. Reply STOP to cancel. Reply HELP for info.
Rosters for American and National Leagues will be revealed at 7 p.m. ET on July 5 during the one-hour Esurance All-Star Selection Show on ESPN.
Following that announcement, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote for the final player on each league's All-Star roster. On Tuesday, July 12, watch the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.
The 87th All-Star Game, in San Diego, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
AMERICAN LEAGUE ALL-STAR BALLOTING LEADERS
CATCHER

  1. Salvador Perez, Royals: 3,754,594
  2. Matt Wieters, Orioles: 1,033,217
  3. Russell Martin, Blue Jays: 981,618
  4. Brian McCann, Yankees: 578,013
  5. Robinson Chirinos, Rangers: 511,308
    FIRST BASE
  6. Eric Hosmer, Royals: 2,638,022
  7. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: 2,088,920
  8. Chris Davis, Orioles: 952,053
  9. Justin Smoak, Blue Jays: 772,948
  10. Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox: 769,385
    SECOND BASE
  11. Jose Altuve, Astros: 2,186,949
  12. Robinson Cano, Mariners: 1,276,010
  13. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: 1,081,667
  14. Omar Infante, Royals: 949,308
  15. Ryan Goins, Blue Jays: 757,923
    THIRD BASE
  16. Manny Machado, Orioles: 2,196,732
  17. Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays: 1,590,183
  18. Mike Moustakas, Royals: 1,135,431
  19. Adrian Beltre, Rangers: 1,099,086
  20. Nick Castellanos, Tigers: 789,144
    SHORTSTOP
  21. Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox: 2,825,025
  22. Alcides Escobar, Royals: 1,478,645
  23. Troy Tulowitzki, Blue Jays: 1,136,479
  24. Elvis Andrus, Rangers: 917,112
  25. Carlos Correa, Astros: 694,103
    OUTFIELD
  26. Mike Trout, Angels: 2,972,582
  27. Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox: 2,184,884
  28. Mookie Betts, Red Sox: 1,915,637
  29. Lorenzo Cain, Royals: 1,821,746
  30. Mark Trumbo, Orioles: 1,801,969
  31. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: 1,707,134
  32. Alex Gordon, Royals: 1,165,980
  33. Ian Desmond, Rangers: 1,133,422
  34. Paulo Orlando, Royals: 1,065,647
  35. Carlos Beltran, Yankees: 964,473
  36. Kevin Pillar, Blue Jays: 934,982
  37. Michael Saunders, Blue Jays: 903,050
  38. Adam Jones, Orioles: 726,916
  39. Melky Cabrera, White Sox: 518,476
  40. J.D. Martinez, Tigers: 497,102
    DESIGNATED HITTER
  41. David Ortiz, Red Sox: 3,400,200
  42. Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays: 1,131,827
  43. Kendrys Morales, Royals: 1,102,349
  44. Victor Martinez, Tigers: 865,194
  45. Nelson Cruz, Mariners: 799,967
    NATIONAL LEAGUE ALL-STAR BALLOTING LEADERS
    CATCHER
  46. Yadier Molina, Cardinals: 1,568,930
  47. Buster Posey, Giants: 1,563,800
  48. Wilson Ramos, Nationals: 1,282,287
  49. Miguel Montero, Cubs: 854,629
  50. Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers: 846,380
    FIRST BASE
  51. Anthony Rizzo, Cubs: 2,630,049
  52. Brandon Belt, Giants: 1,233,499
  53. Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs: 977,889
  54. Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers: 734,448
  55. Brandon Moss, Cardinals: 522,808
    SECOND BASE
  56. Ben Zobrist, Cubs: 2,474,852
  57. Daniel Murphy, Nationals: 2,167,918
  58. Joe Panik, Giants: 768,312
  59. Neil Walker, Mets: 500,384
  60. Chase Utley, Dodgers: 488,170
    THIRD BASE
  61. Kris Bryant, Cubs: 2,459,704
  62. Nolan Arenado, Rockies: 2,108,503
  63. Matt Carpenter, Cardinals: 882,135
  64. Matt Duffy, Giants: 665,802
  65. Martin Prado, Marlins: 396,859
    SHORTSTOP
  66. Addison Russell, Cubs: 1,741,182
  67. Trevor Story, Rockies: 1,423,547
  68. Corey Seager, Dodgers: 1,082,434
  69. Brandon Crawford, Giants: 1,002,201
  70. Zack Cozart, Reds: 528,785
    OUTFIELD
  71. Dexter Fowler, Cubs: 2,320,877
  72. Bryce Harper, Nationals: 2,253,083
  73. Yoenis Cespedes, Mets: 2,249,489
  74. Jason Heyward, Cubs: 1,485,679
  75. Ryan Braun, Brewers: 1,327,209
  76. Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies: 1,155,982
  77. Jorge Soler, Cubs: 992,174
  78. Starling Marte, Pirates: 893,952
  79. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: 816,079
  80. Stephen Piscotty, Cardinals: 793,912
  81. Hunter Pence, Giants: 764,004
  82. Matt Holliday, Cardinals: 680,416
  83. Charlie Blackmon, Rockies: 644,191
  84. Marcell Ozuna, Marlins: 578,015
  85. Angel Pagan, Giants: 561,677

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog.