SEATTLE -- Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado can mark the All-Star Game on his calendar, now that he's headed to his fourth in a row. Still, he wasn't taking for granted being voted a National League starter for the second straight year."Starting an All-Star Game two years in a row
SEATTLE -- Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado can mark the All-Star Game on his calendar, now that he's headed to his fourth in a row. Still, he wasn't taking for granted being voted a National League starter for the second straight year.
"Starting an All-Star Game two years in a row is an amazing feeling," Arenado said Sunday, when the All-Stars were announced. "I'm a little bit in shock. It doesn't get old, so I'm just very thankful that they appreciate the way I play my game. I just can't thank them enough."
Arenado will be joined by two teammates, voted as reserves by NL players, managers and coaches: outfielder Charlie Blackmon, making his third appearance (he was a fan-voted starter last year), and shortstop Trevor Story, going for the first time.
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"Those three fellows are all deserving," said Rockies manager Bud Black, who will be a coach for the National League. "Nolan is at a place in his career where he is recognized perennially as an All-Star-type player. He's talked about in our circles, those of us in uniform, general managers, people in the game, as one of the premier players in the game, and the fans recognize that as well.
"With Trevor, this is a year where he's broken through. He's recognized by players, coaches, managers, executives as one of the best shortstops in the game. Charlie, the last couple years, he's been coming on as an outfielder, as a player, that he's talked about as a really solid big league player. ... A guy that's talked about amongst us, and when that happens it really signifies the arrival of a player."
Arenado is tied for the NL lead with 22 home runs and has a team-leading 63 RBIs to go with a .305 batting average. Arenado finished with 3,261,425 votes from fans using the Camping World 2018 All-Star Game Ballot to easily outdistance the Cubs' Kristopher Bryant, who drew 2,198,966 votes. Aenado had the third-most votes of any NL player, behind two Braves -- first baseman Freddie Freeman (4,039,219) and outfielder Nick Markakis (3,556,469).
"[One of] those goals going into the season is to make an All-Star team, and obviously there's going to be a time when I'm not going to be able to make it," Arenado said. "This year, I'm happy I was able to make it again.
"There are a lot of great players in this game, a lot of good third basemen."
Blackmon is hitting .276 -- well below last year, when he finished at .331 -- but has 17 homers and 40 RBIs mostly from the No. 2 spot in the lineup. Blackmon recently has been emerging from a lengthy June slump, but those in the game recognize what he means to the Rockies. He finished sixth in fan voting.
"That makes me feel better about being there, in the sense that your peers respect the effort that you're putting out there on the field," Blackmon said. "It's a great way to represent your team.
"I didn't necessarily do what I did last year to this point. To still get voted in by your peers means that they appreciate what you're doing."
Story, hitting .284 with 17 homers and 62 RBIs, plus gaining notice for his defense, was a Final Vote candidate as a rookie in 2016. He finished fourth in fan voting at shortstop this year.
"Ever since I was a little kid, you kind of dream about that -- playing in the All-Star Game," Story said. "To be voted in by the players and the managers means a lot to me. It's hard to explain. I don't even know if it's set in yet."
Right-handed setup reliever Adam Ottavino was left off the team despite his 1.79 ERA -- with 63 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings -- in 37 appearances. Ottavino is yielding a 0.92 WHIP.
"I'm not surprised, because I'm on the Rockies and I kind of gave up some runs last week," Ottavino said. "You've gotta be pretty much perfect. Pitchers don't get any credit playing for the Rockies."
Another Rockies candidate who didn't make the squad was starting pitcher Kyle Freeland (8-6, 3.18 ERA).
On Tuesday, July 17, while watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, fans can submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote.
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Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.