Brantley earning recognition but needs more votes
Outfielder Tribe's lone representative in latest AL ballot update; vote through July 3
CLEVELAND -- Michael Brantley's torrid pace at the plate this season is no secret in the Indians' clubhouse. Now fans are starting to take notice as well.
As of Monday's American League All-Star ballot update, Brantley was Cleveland's lone representative among the top vote-getters, ranking ninth among outfielders with 460,384 votes. Angels outfielder Mike Trout continued to lead all AL players with 1,361,649 votes, followed closely by Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista (1,351,896).
This second weigh-in marks Brantley's first appearance on the voting leaderboards this season, and he credits his offseason training regimen and a consistent approach at the plate.
"It's the first time I've had a healthy offseason in two years, so I had a full offseason to train how I want, hit when I want, run when I want, throw when I want," said Brantley. "I think that's the biggest thing -- I was coming in to this season healthy."
Entering Monday's action, the left-handed-hitting Brantley had a .307/.370/.505 batting line with nine home runs and eight steals. He boasted the fourth-best on-base plus slugging percentage among AL outfielders (.875), was tied with Bautista for the second-most RBIs (40) and was tied for the most outfield assists this season with six.
"He's one of the better players in the game," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Brantley. "It's not just hitter -- it's baserunner, outfielder, teammate. He's gotten to the point now where you're going to start seeing national recognition."
Because teammate and 2013 All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis was injured for almost all of May, Brantley has spent more time batting third for the Tribe this season. He entered Monday hitting .339/.400/.541 in that spot through 109 at-bats.
"The unique thing about Brant is he's so multi-dimensional," designated hitter Jason Giambi said. "He can steal a bag, you can lead him off, you can hit him third, you can hit him fifth, you can hit him fourth in a pinch. He has that type of approach at the plate. I always say, 'If you're going to build a winning team, you need guys like him.'"
If Brantley earns an All-Star selection, it would be the fifth-year outfielder's first trip to the Midsummer Classic.
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.
Fans this year once again can participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The 2014 Home Run Derby will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 14.
The 2014 American League and National League 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. Immediately following the announcement of the AL and NL All-Star rosters, fans can begin voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each league over the balloting period.
And the voting doesn't 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 Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their 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.