ST. PETERSBURG -- If Royals manager Ned Yost or, for that matter, Rays manager Joe Maddon were filling out an All-Star ballot, they'd probably be voting for Salvador Perez at catcher.
Perez, just 23, has made a strong impression since he came up to the Royals late in the 2011 season. Not only is he hitting .316 this season, his defensive prowess has earned widespread admiration.
Fans, however, have not put Perez among the top five American League catchers in the latest vote tally for the All-Star Game, announced on Saturday. Joe Mauer of the Twins was on top with 2,127,175 votes. Rounding out the top five were Matt Wieters, Orioles; A.J. Pierzynski, Rangers; Carlos Santana, Indians, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Red Sox.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
If Perez doesn't win the fans' vote, the hope is he'll be selected in the players' vote or by manager Jim Leyland's selection.
"If I was All-Star manager, I'd darn sure take Salvador Perez when he throws the way he does," Yost said. "Who blocks? Who can catch? And the kid's hitting .315. I mean, gosh dang, how can you not consider the kid?"
Maddon has been watching Perez since his debut at Tampa Bay in 2011. He picked off two Rays runners that night.
"There are certain catchers that will stop you, like this kid Perez. Even if the pitcher is somewhat slow, you have to factor him in. But for the most part bases are stolen on pitchers, not catchers," Maddon said.
"[Perez is] one of the better throwers in the league right now. [Yadier] Molina in the National League. ... He's young, but he's really, really good. He blocks balls well. He's got a great energy about him. Likes to be behind the plate. Love the energy, love it. Absolutely love it, pitchers have to feel it."
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via a mobile device -- using the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, July 4, at 10:59 p.m. CT.
Fans may submit 25 online ballots during the voting period but can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, fans must be logged into an MLB.com account when submitting any online ballot. To obtain an MLB.com account, visit www.mlb.com and register in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.
The only Royals player among the announced vote leaders continues to be left fielder Alex Gordon, still eighth among outfielders in the fans' vote. He has 1,040,685 votes, more than 400,000 behind third-place Nick Markakis of the Orioles.
The Orioles' Adam Jones and the Angels' Mike Trout are the top two vote-getters in the race for the three outfield starting spots.
Fans can also once again participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league whom they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The 2013 Home Run Derby -- part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day -- will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 7 p.m. CT on Monday, July 15.
Though originally scheduled for July 7, the 2013 rosters will now be unveiled Saturday, July 6, at 6:30 p.m. ET on the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Taco Bell. The show will be televised nationally on FOX.
From Saturday, July 6 to Thursday, July 11, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by freecreditscore.com for the final player for each League's All-Star roster.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Former Royals outfielder Carlos Beltran of the Cardinals leads the National League outfield voting. Other ex-Royals listed among the leaders are John Buck of the Mets, third among catchers, and Gregor Blanco of the Giants, 12th among outfielders in the NL; and Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays and Coco Crisp of the A's, fifth and 11th respectively among AL outfielders.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com.