Indians need votes to garner All-Star starts
Francona hopes Brantley gets recognition among game's elite
CLEVELAND -- The first American League All-Star ballot update on Tuesday revealed the Indians need some support if fans want to see a Cleveland player in the starting lineup for the Midsummer Classic.
Angels outfielder Mike Trout led all players with 764,007 votes, followed by the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista (675,290) and Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (602,525). Notably missing from the leaders list was Tribe outfielder Michael Brantley, who entered Tuesday with a .307/.377/.516 slash line in 50 games this season.
Among all AL outfielders, the left-handed Brantley is tied for the fourth-most home runs (nine), has the second-most RBIs (39) and owns the third-best batting average.
"I've really never been big into the politics of trying to help guys get votes, but I think when guys do things within the framework of their team and those numbers start to get better, that's when you're seeing a guy turning into one of the better players in the game," manager Terry Francona said. "That's what Brantley does. He's not only got seven or eight stolen bases -- that's not leading the league -- but that's a part of the game, he always seems to do it when they're big.
"Two-out hitter, hitting for average, hitting for power, Gold Glove-caliber defense. There's things that don't jump out on the stat sheet that make him even better. So when I get asked the question I guess I do feel a little obligation to brag about him, because he won't do it by himself."
Right-handed pitcher Justin Masterson and second baseman Kipnis were the only members of the Tribe to earn a selection to last year's All-Star Game. Masterson has struggled to a 2-3 record with a 5.32 ERA through 11 starts this season, while Kipnis has been sidelined since April 29 with an oblique strain.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15.
Fans may submit up to 25 online ballots, but they can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, register on the site in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.
The 2014 All-Star teams will be unveiled on the 2014 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show during the weekend of July 5-6, with further details to follow on MLB.com. The AL will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the NL will have eight fan-elected starters. Pitchers and reserves for both squads -- totaling 25 for the NL and 24 for the AL -- will be determined through a combination of "Player Ballot" choices and selections made by All-Star managers Mike Matheny (NL) and John Farrell (AL).
Immediately following the announcement of the rosters, you can select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Choose again at that point from among five players in each league. The Final Vote returns for its 13th season with more than 430 million votes cast to date, and you'll be able to make selections on MLB.com, club sites and your mobile device.
You'll be on a voting tear at that point, having already selected starters and the last men, and the ritual will not end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the big game, vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi. The fan voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, 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 will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.