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Bell leads the way for Bucs in All-Star Primary

@adamdberry
June 11, 2019

Read our FAQ on this year’s revamped balloting format, which includes two phases of fan voting to determine the All-Star starters, and the ability to vote through Google Search.

Read our FAQ on this year’s revamped balloting format, which includes two phases of fan voting to determine the All-Star starters, and the ability to vote through Google Search.

ATLANTA -- Josh Bell’s breakout season and tape-measure home runs may help him earn a spot in the National League’s starting lineup at the Midsummer Classic.

VOTE NOW: Google MLB All-Star Ballot

Bell ranked first among all NL first basemen with 621,915 votes in the first Google All-Star balloting update for the NL, which was released on Tuesday. He currently holds a sizable lead over the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo (461,210) and the Braves’ Freddie Freeman (406,283).

Bell, 26, has a chance to play in his first All-Star Game and join an exclusive club of Pirates All-Star starters.

The last Pittsburgh player to start the All-Star Game in any capacity was Andrew McCutchen in 2015. The last Pirate to start in the infield was Bobby Bonilla, who got the nod at third base in 1988. The last time the Bucs had a first baseman start in the Midsummer Classic? That would be Dale Long in 1956.

Bell has earned every bit of the recognition he’s receiving. The switch-hitting slugger, recently named NL Player of the Month for May, entered Tuesday slashing .324/.388/.660 with 18 home runs -- more than he hit last season -- and 58 RBIs. Bell started 64 of the Bucs’ first 65 games, all 64 of them in the cleanup spot and 63 at first base.

As of Tuesday morning, Bell was the Major League leader in doubles (25) and RBIs. He ranked eighth among all hitters in batting average, 18th in on-base percentage and third in slugging percentage (behind leading All-Star vote-getters Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich).

Bell is one of four Pirates listed on the first balloting update. Hot-hitting veteran Melky Cabrera ranks 13th among NL outfielders with 135,216 votes. Adam Frazier is 10th among second basemen with 58,785 votes. Francisco Cervelli is 10th among catchers with 54,395 votes.

Fans may vote in "The Primary" at MLB.com and all 30 club sites, the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark apps up to five times in any 24-hour period. Fans in the US and Canada can also vote on Google Search for every position, or up to 17 unique players per day, by searching "MLB Vote" or the names of their favorite players. Primary voting ends at 4 p.m. ET on Friday, June 21.

The top three vote-getters at each position (including nine outfielders) per league will move on to "The Starters Election," which begins at noon ET on Wednesday, June 26. The votes will reset for a 28-hour voting window that ends at 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 27. Starters for the 2019 Midsummer Classic will be unveiled on ESPN that night at 7 ET. The pitchers and reserves will be announced on Sunday, June 30, at 5:30 p.m. ET.

Then on Tuesday, July 9, during the 2019 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, fans may visit MLB.com and the 30 club sites to submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet.

The 90th Midsummer Classic, at Progressive Field in Cleveland, 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. 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, please visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.