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Gennett talks All-Star Game ballot

MLB.com @alysonfooter

CINCINNATI -- If selection on the Camping World 2018 MLB All-Star ballot was based on merit, Scooter Gennett would not only be a favorite to be selected to the National League All-Star team as one of manager Dave Roberts' second-base options -- he'd be starting it.

VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

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CINCINNATI -- If selection on the Camping World 2018 MLB All-Star ballot was based on merit, Scooter Gennett would not only be a favorite to be selected to the National League All-Star team as one of manager Dave Roberts' second-base options -- he'd be starting it.

VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

View Full Game Coverage

Gennett is having a career year that, projected over a full season, will likely earn him National League Most Valuable Player consideration. He leads all NL second basemen in every major offensive category, and, compared to all players at all positions in the league, is no lower than sixth in those same categories.

Yet, he has some catching up to do if he's going to win the fan vote as the NL's starting second baseman in the All-Star Game. The most recent tallies revealed Gennett is third in voting, behind the Braves' Ozzie Albies (915,736) and the Cubs' Javier Baez (767,417). Gennett, as of Monday's tally, has 743,979 votes.

If Gennett makes the team, it will likely come from either the player vote or one of the few selections that are placed in Roberts' hands. Gennett said he'd be honored to be selected in any manner and noted that the player vote does carry special significance, considering they're basing their votes on merit and not so much on popularity.

"It's something I would be extremely honored for, to be selected by your peers," Gennett said. "It's really cool. We're seeing each other on a daily basis. We know who should be in there and maybe who shouldn't be."

A handful of Major Leaguers have expressed their desire this year to have players more involved with picking the starting lineup, but it's highly unlikely the selection process will ever shift from the fans' hands to the players'. The way the current system is set up -- fans can vote online on up to 35 ballots, five times in any 24-hour period -- there is a risk that players from bigger market teams will draw more voters than those from more modest Major League cities.

Though the quality of past All-Star starting lineups suggests the fans usually get it right, it's also fair to say that the system is never going to be perfect.

"Ultimately, it's not that the fans don't know who's the best, or who should be in the game, but [players are] playing each other on a daily basis," Gennett said. "We see guys out there playing the game the right way, playing hard, rather than maybe just the bigger-market guys. It seems more like who's the most popular rather than who's the best at the time."

At this time, Gennett is the best. He entered Tuesday's opener against the Tigers sixth in baseball with a .336 average, which ranks second in the NL. He's sixth in the NL in slugging (.537) and OPS (.909). No second baseman in the NL has better numbers.

With the All-Star Game less than a month away and weekly updates being released by Major League Baseball, Gennett's output so far this season has naturally attracted attention. But the second baseman was emphatic that vote totals are not what drive him.

"The individual stuff's great, but it's not what gets me up every day and gets me going," Gennett said. "It's winning ballgames and doing what I can to contribute. But it's definitely a good thing."

Video: CIN@PIT: Votto lines a double to right, plates a pair

Votto, by the numbers
It's not exactly news that Joey Votto may be on a straight path to an eventual induction into the Hall of Fame, but when he reaches certain milestones, it opens up the opportunity to examine how his numbers compare to other first basemen who are already in Cooperstown.

Votto made his 1,500th Major League appearance on Sunday in Pittsburgh. That nice round number accompanies a slash line of .313/.428/.536, which compares favorably to past greats who played his position.

Through 1,500 appearances, Jeff Bagwell, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2017, was slashing .305/.418/.553. Ernie Banks, Hall of Fame class of 1977, batted .283/.344/.536. And Votto's numbers dwarf another Reds great, Hall of Famer Tony Perez (class of 2000), who posted a line of .284/.347/.484 through the same number of games.

Zoo Night
Tuesday was Zoo Night at Great American Ball Park, where Sam the Bald Eagle from the Cincinnati Zoo performed a flight from the center field Riverboat Deck to the pitcher's mound at the conclusion of the national anthem.

The pregame event also included a Cincinnati Zoo parade for select zoo tenants and their keepers that extended from dugout to dugout.

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

Cincinnati Reds, Scooter Gennett, Joey Votto