AJ and Co. need more All-Star support

AJ and Co. need more All-Star support

LOS ANGELES -- When the first update of the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot was released on Wednesday afternoon, veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski stood as the only Braves player who ranked among the top five at his respective position.

Surprisingly, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and shortstop Andrelton Simmons have not yet received the same level of support that they had the previous couple of seasons.

Pierzynski replaced Christian Bethancourt as Atlanta's primary catcher during the regular season's second week. The 38-year-old, two-time All-Star ranks fourth among National League catchers. He has garnered approximately 500,000 fewer votes than the leader, St. Louis' Yadier Molina.

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.

Fans may also receive the ballot by texting VOTE to 89269 (USA) or 101010 (Canada). Or text VOTA for a ballot in Spanish. Message and data rates may apply. Up to five messages. No purchase required. Reply STOP to cancel. Reply HELP for info.

Freeman has been selected to participate in the past two All-Star Games as a reserve. Los Angeles' Adrian Gonzalez has thus far garnered more votes than any other NL first baseman. Rounding out the top five are Chicago's Anthony Rizzo, Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis' Matt Adams and Cincinnati's Joey Votto.

Though he is widely considered the game's premier defensive shortstop, Simmons has not yet received much love from those casting All-Star ballots. St. Louis' Jhonny Peralta currently leads the tight battle among NL shortstops. Peralta holds a narrow lead over the Cubs' Starlin Castro, but less than 200,000 votes separate him from San Francisco's Brandon Crawford, who ranks fifth in this category.

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 during the game visit MLB.com 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.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.