Turner, Moose in tight races; Final Vote ends today!
Balloting continues until 4 p.m. ET today, Twitter voting starts at 10 a.m.
We are down to the final hours of the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote. That means a different wrinkle as you can use your Twitter account to send two players to the 88th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard.
Will it be the first time two third basemen win the competition? Will a pair of 2016 All-Star starters make their moves behind giant fan bases? Will a middle infielder win for the first time? Can the Florida first basemen rally? And how will the Twitter vote help decide the 32nd and final roster spots Tuesday in Miami?
The leaders -- Mike Moustakas of the Royals and Justin Turner of the Dodgers -- maintained their leads on Wednesday after making strong statements on the field on Tuesday. But Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius responded with a big hit of his own on Wednesday afternoon, stroking a two-run double that capped a four-run New York rally.
• Cast your Esurance Final Vote now
Balloting for the #FinalVote, held exclusively online via MLB.com, club sites and mobile devices, is underway through 4 p.m. ET today. The winners, as chosen exclusively by online fan voting totals, will be announced during MLB Tonight, live on MLB Network and MLB.com, at 6 p.m.
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Now in its 16th season, with more than 680 million votes cast, the Final Vote again will include social-media votes on the last day of balloting, as Twitter support for the 10 candidates over the final six hours of balloting will count toward vote totals. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ET today, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners.
The last day of voting in the 16th annual Final Vote historically has seen impassioned activity and creative campaigning, leading to late-stage runs at the overall leaders. As of 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the standings remained the same as they were on Tuesday, meaning that Cubs third baseman Kristopher Bryant and Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts are still in second place after starting in the infield at last year's Midsummer Classic in San Diego. Whatever happens in the next 24 hours is up to you.
Turner, who's batting average continues to boggle the mind, is followed in order by Bryant, Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon, Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds and Marlins first baseman Justin Bour.
In the American League, Moustakas, who added to his career-high total with his 25th homer Wednesday, is on pace to join Shane Victorino as the only two-time Final Vote winner. Moustakas was followed in order by Bogaerts, Gregorius, Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus and Rays first baseman Logan Morrison.
• Interactive map: Where are the votes coming from?
Last year's Final Vote winners were first baseman Brandon Belt (Giants) and left fielder Michael Saunders (Blue Jays). Here is a closer look at this year's nominees:
Elvis Andrus: The Rangers shortstop was placed on the paternity list on Wednesday so he won't have a chance to make a final audition for fans, but given the reason why he's away from the field, Andrus probably doesn't mind. The official "Game of Thrones" Twitter account gave him a nod, one of the more legitimate campaign moves we've seen so far. The World Famous Wheelie-ing Elvi, a group of Elvis Presley lookalikes who drive mini-motorcycles, made their way to Globe Life Park to promote Andrus. Andrus, the Rangers' nine-year veteran, was an All-Star in 2010 and '12, and he has a strong case to return amid what is shaping up to be a career year. He was 1-for-3 in Tuesday's loss to Boston. Andrus already is in double figures in home runs for the first time in his career (11) and is batting .301. Can he join Yu Darvish ('12) as a Rangers winner in the Final Vote? Andrus has the largest Twitter following among AL nominees. #ElectElvis
Xander Bogaerts: The Red Sox were on the wrong end of an 8-2 decision against the Rangers on Wednesday, but Bogaerts still found a way to make his mark. His two-run homer in the sixth inning ended a no-hit bid by Texas righty Andrew Cashner. After coming up short to Moustakas in the 2015 Final Vote, the question is whether Bogaerts will have a better showing and get back to the big game. Boston is 0-for-4 in the Final Vote since closer Hideki Okajima won in 2007. #VoteX
Didi Gregorius: Did you know that Derek Jeter was a Final Vote candidate in 2005 ... and came up short? He and Hideki Matsui split the AL vote that year, and Scott Podsednik of the White Sox won. Now, another Yankees shortstop has a chance to earn the honor. Gregorius doubled home a pair of runs in a loss to Toronto on Wednesday, and this has been another year of constant improvement as the player who had to follow Jeter's act. Gregorius missed most of April with an injury, but he has made up for lost time as a quiet leader for the Yanks along with Aaron Judge and is in a third straight season of raising his OPS by at least 50 points. The most recent Yankees player to win the Final Vote was Nick Swisher in 2010 -- thanks largely to his Twitter presence. Player Page for David Robertson and Brett Gardner have come up short since then. #sirdidi4sure.
Logan Morrison: His best support has to be the words of a 2008 Final Vote winner, teammate Evan Longoria: "His numbers speak for themselves. That's what the All-Star Game should be about. It shouldn't be about a popularity contest. You're an All-Star based on your numbers and he's second or third in the league in home runs. If not in the All-Star Game, then he definitely should be in the Home Run Derby." The Rays first baseman, who went 2-for-4 Wednesday, is zooming toward the top of the list of the best available free agents after the season, putting up huge numbers, hanging behind only Judge and Moustakas in the AL with 24 home runs. #GoLoMo
Mike Moustakas: Since being named one of the Final Vote candidates, Moustakas has made a compelling case with homers in three straight games, including his 25th on Wednesday against the Mariners. The Royals' third baseman has surpassed his previous career high of 22 homers and is within reach of Steve Balboni's longstanding club record of 36, set in 1985. Moustakas previously won the Final Vote in 2015. #VoteMoose
Justin Bour: Pro wrestler Ric Flair urged his 773,300 Twitter followers to vote for Bour, which opens up a whole new kind of campaigning. Bour slugged his 19th home run Wednesday, a solo shot during the Marlins' 9-6 victory over the Cardinals. Besides the backing of Flair and others, the biggest news surrounding Bour is that he will be in his hometown T-Mobile Home Run Derby, along with teammate Giancarlo Stanton, who hit two homers of his own Wednesday. This is the Marlins' first Final Vote representation since Luis Castillo (2003) and Juan Pierre ('04) came up short. #VoteBour
Kris Bryant: Jessica Bryant has been all-out on social media for her husband, and she is getting a lot of help from past Final Vote winner and other Cubs teammates. "It's cool to see their support," Kris Bryant said. "This is kind of cool to be in the Final Vote considering how I made it the last two years. It's a new experience." The 2016 NL Most Valuable Player Award winner, who went 1-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored in Wednesday's 7-3 win over the Rays, was overtaken in All-Star voting by Colorado's Nolan Arenado in a classic last-week surge, and the question is whether Bryant can avoid becoming the first MVP Award winner since James Rollins in 2008 to not make the All-Star Game the following year. The Cubs are 1-for-3 in Final Vote history. Bryant is projected to finish with 32 homers and 100 runs. He has the largest Twitter following in the Final Vote. #VoteKB
Anthony Rendon: "He does everything. He does defense, offense, steals bases. It's really hard for me to swallow that he's not up here at the table right now. I think he's had that type of year." Those were Max Scherzer's words when four Nationals talked about their All-Star selections. Rendon, who had his last chance to pad his Final Vote resume rained out Wednesday, leads all NL third basemen in Wins Above Replacement (3.4), according to Fangraphs, weighted runs created plus (146) and OPS (.953). He has 16 homers, 51 RBIs and a .297/.398/.549 slash line. The Nationals are 0-for-5 in the Final Vote, as Rendon knows well enough after coming up short against Anthony Rizzo in 2014. He has another chance now to top a Cubs corner infielder. #VoteRendon
Mark Reynolds: He was 1-for-3 with a run scored in the Rockies' 5-3 win over the Reds on Wednesday, and now has 19 homers, 61 RBIs and a .286 average. His manager, Bud Black, asked reporters: "You guys see that [interactive] map? Did you see the Front Range? It's all Reynolds, man. So, hey, we've got to expand that. There's a couple pockets in Kentucky, in Pikeville [Reynolds' birthplace], Charlotte. He's trying to get Cam Newton on board, because they're neighbors." Reynolds was a Final Vote candidate in 2009, when he represented Arizona but was a distant finisher behind Victorino. This is the fourth consecutive bid by Colorado, which fell short with Justin Morneau ('14), Troy Tulowitzki ('15) and Trevor Story ('16). #BeLikeMark
Justin Turner: "There's no better way to support yourself than to do it on the field," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, and Turner has been doing just that. After missing three weeks with a right hamstring injury, he returned on June 9 and went on to hit .425 (27-for-65) with 18 runs, three doubles, five homers and 13 RBIs for the rest of the month. Besides leading the Dodgers in a key 10-game winning streak, he has one of the 10 highest batting averages at this point in a season since 1969 -- currently .384, though he's still just under the required minimum number of at-bats to qualify for the leaderboard. Only Judge and the D-backs' Paul Goldschmidt were ahead of him in WAR among position players. #VoteJT
Extensive coverage throughout the Final Vote will be provided by MLB Network and MLB.com, including interviews with the candidates, frequent updates, heat maps indicating where votes are being cast for each candidate, news on player and club campaigns, and a running countdown clock leading up to the announcement.
On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, tune in to the 2017 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 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 88th All-Star Game, in Miami, 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.