The 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Ballot has been released, and while the season is young, it's never too early to start evaluating candidates. Many have already begun to stand out, while others are sure to hit their strides in the coming months leading up to the 2016 All-Star Game presented
The 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Ballot has been released, and while the season is young, it's never too early to start evaluating candidates. Many have already begun to stand out, while others are sure to hit their strides in the coming months leading up to the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard on July 12 at San Diego's Petco Park.
As fans cast their votes for who they deem worthy of 2016 All-Star status, MLB.com is going to look position by position through each league, continuing today with the American League first basemen.
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Perennial All-Star Miguel Cabrera has been among the most steady offensive producers in baseball for more than a decade. The Detroit slugger is off to a slow start this year, but if his previous body of work -- and his two-homer, four-hit game Monday -- is any indication, it won't be long before his numbers begin to climb closer to his .320/.398/.560 career slash line.
It's been a while since Joe Mauer made an All-Star team, but the 33-year-old veteran looks like his old self again, batting .329 with six RBIs. Entering Tuesday, he was tops in the AL in on-base percentage (.455) and tied for fifth in batting average (.329).
The fast starters
The Orioles have been among the hottest offenses throughout the first month of the regular season, and Chris Davis has been right at the heart of this power surge. He's already driven in 13 runs and is tied for first on the club with six homers. Davis also leads the O's in runs scored (17) and walks (15).
Another first baseman off a strong start is Kansas City's Eric Hosmer, whom many believed was snubbed from last year's AL team. Hosmer is batting .315 with seven extra-base hits (four doubles, a triple and two homers), six RBIs and two stolen bases for the defending champions this season. Could this be the year Hosmer finally breaks through to the All-Star ranks?
The rising stars
Astros rookie Tyler White is making a case for consideration through just 19 big league games. The 25-year-old has flashed some power, homering five times, though his recent 0-for-16 skid has brought him back down to earth.
Although he's struggled this year -- batting .176 with three homers -- Jose Abreu's first two Major League seasons suggest this extended slump won't last. An All-Star as a rookie in 2014, Abreu has totaled 30-plus homers and 100-plus RBIs in consecutive seasons.
Lying in the weeds
Hanley Ramirez is no stranger to the Midsummer Classic, but he's never been there as a first baseman. The former shortstop has made a smooth transition to first base this season for the Red Sox, and while he's hitting a respectable .270, it's still a far cry from his All-Star form of years past. When Ramirez made the team in three straight seasons with the Marlins from 2008-10, he hit 21-plus homers and batted .300 or better.
The Yankees' Mark Teixeira is another candidate who could round into All-Star form as the season progresses. The 14-year veteran made the AL squad last year; don't rule out an encore performance if he can work through his early-season woes at the plate. Teixeira has shown signs of doing just that lately, bating 7-for-16 in his past four games.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on their computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday, June 30, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Vote up to five times in any 24-hour period for a maximum of 35 times.
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.
Following the announcement of the 2016 All-Stars, 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 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.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com.