Duda's hot start worthy of All-Star Game consideration

Duda's hot start worthy of All-Star Game consideration

MIAMI -- Mets first baseman Lucas Duda has accomplished so much over the past calendar year that it's sometimes easy to forget where his career stood a year ago. Last April, the notion of playing in a Major League All-Star Game would have been as foreign to him as thoughts of a 30-homer season.

Duda has since established himself as one of the National League's foremost sluggers, making him a name to watch on the NL All-Star ballot that Major League Baseball released Wednesday.

Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on their computers, tablets and smartphones -- using the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday, July 2, at 11:59 p.m. ET. For the first time, voting is exclusively online, where fans may submit up to 35 ballots.

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Following the announcement of the 2015 All-Stars, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote for the final player for each league's All-Star roster. On Tuesday, July 14, watch the 2015 All-Star Game live on FOX, and visit MLB.com during the game to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2015 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.

MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of All-Star Week festivities.

The 86th 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.

Last summer, second baseman Daniel Murphy was the Mets' lone representative at the All-Star Game in Minneapolis. But Murphy is off to a slow start and third baseman David Wright spent most of April on the disabled list, making the All-Star path more difficult for two of the Mets' most obvious candidates. Catcher Travis d'Arnaud, who shot out to a hot April, has also missed significant time due to injury.

But the Mets do have an extremely strong candidate in Duda, who finished third in the NL in home runs last summer. Center fielder Juan Lagares could challenge for a spot on the strength of his glove alone, while shortstop Wilmer Flores is starting to produce enough with his bat to merit consideration, given the dearth of offensive performers at his position. Right fielder Curtis Granderson has also turned things around over the past week, appearing on the ballot alongside fellow corner outfielder Michael Cuddyer.

Though the strength of this Mets team is pitching, fans do not vote for players at that position. Matt Harvey, Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom and Jeurys Familia may all eventually merit consideration.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.