NEW YORK -- Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis are still sitting pretty. The Braves' bid to potentially have three players in the National League's starting lineup will depend on whether Ozzie Albies maintains his lead during the final days of this year's All-Star balloting process.• VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB
NEW YORK -- Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis are still sitting pretty. The Braves' bid to potentially have three players in the National League's starting lineup will depend on whether Ozzie Albies maintains his lead during the final days of this year's All-Star balloting process.
• VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot
When the latest balloting update was released on Monday afternoon, Albies was still leading NL second basemen, but he was just approximately 165,000 votes ahead of the Reds' Scooter Gennett, who gained roughly 75,000 more votes than the leader over the past week. The Cubs' Javy Baez ranks third, approximately 270,000 votes behind Albies.
Freeman leads all NL players with 2,905,301 votes and Markakis ranks second with 2,457,648. Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado and Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford are the only other Senior Circuit players with at least 2.3 million votes.
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 at 11:59 p.m. ET. 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.
Albies' bid to earn his first All-Star selection and serve as the starting second baseman has been enhanced as he has hit .475 with a 1.150 OPS over his past eight games. The 21-year-old Curacao native leads the NL in runs (65), doubles (27) and extra-base hits (46). He, Gennett and Baez are tied for the NL lead among second basemen with a 2.9 fWAR (FanGraphs' WAR Model).
Freeman's 3.4 fWAR ties him with Arenado and Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain for the NL lead among all position players. The Braves first baseman has drawn approximately 1.7 million more votes than the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo, who ranks second in balloting among NL first basemen.
Markakis has garnered more than 1.1 million more votes than the Rockies' Charlie Blackmon, who currently ranks fourth among NL outfielders. The top three outfielders will be elected to the starting lineup.
Rookie phenom Ronald Acuna and his Braves' teammate Ender Inciarte rank fifth and sixth respectively among NL outfielders, but they both sit more than 500,000 votes shy of Bryce Harper, who is currently positioned to gain the third starting spot.
Bidding for his first career All-Star selection, Markakis leads the NL with 104 hits and ranks second in doubles (one behind Albies). The 34-year-old veteran ranks third among NL outfielders with 134 Weighted Runs Created Plus and fourth with a 2.3 fWAR.
The other Braves still in contention to be elected to the NL's starting lineup include Dansby Swanson, who ranks second among shortstops, and Kurt Suzuki, who ranks third among catchers.
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, visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.