Royals catcher Salvador Perez continues to lead all AL players with 2,681,063 total votes, and he heads a group of five Royals currently leading at their position. With five players among the voting leaders, the defending AL Champion Royals could become just the second Major League team, and the first AL team, to have five players earn starting All-Star assignments since voting was returned to fans in 1970. In that time, only the 1976 "Big Red Machine" Cincinnati Reds (Johnny Bench, Dave Concepcion, George Foster, Joe Morgan, Pete Rose) had five players earn starting bids in the Midsummer Classic. In AL history, there have been nine teams to have four players win starting assignments, including the 1975 Oakland Athletics, 1981 New York Yankees, 1982 California Angels, 1987 Yankees, 1999 Cleveland Indians, 2001 Seattle Mariners, 2005 Boston Red Sox, 2008 Red Sox and 2011 Yankees.
Perez is striving for his first career starting assignment in the All-Star Game after making the AL squad as a reserve in each of the last two seasons. The Valencia, Venezuela native would join Darrell Porter (1979) as the only Royals catchers to earn a fan-elected start. Since fan voting was returned to fans in 1970, the only catchers to lead the AL in All-Star balloting were Carlton Fisk of the Chicago White Sox (1982), Ivan Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers (2000) and Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins (2010). In addition, the only Royals to pace the league in voting were Hall of Famer George Brett (1981 and 1984) and Bo Jackson (1989). Perez is tied for the AL lead among backstops with 48 hits on the season, he is tied for second with nine doubles and ranks third with 25 RBI. Overall, the 25-year-old is hitting .281 on the season with six home runs, nine doubles, 25 RBI and 14 runs scored. Since the start of 2013, Perez is hitting .314 with runners in scoring position, which ranks ninth overall in the AL. He is followed behind the plate by Oakland Athletics catcher Stephen Vogt (1,401,747), who is trying for his first career All-Star selection.
Perez is followed overall by two of his Royals teammates - Lorenzo Cain, who leads AL outfielders and ranks second in the league overall with 2,506,859 votes, and Mike Moustakas, who paces third basemen and ranks third in the AL overall with 2,385,024 tallies. Cain, the 2014 AL Championship Series Most Valuable Player, is attempting to make his first trip to the Midsummer Classic. He would join Amos Otis (1973), Jackson (1989) and Jermaine Dye (2000) as the only Royals outfielders to land a fan-elected starting assignment. The 29-year-old Cain is hitting .297 on the season with three home runs, nine doubles, a triple, 20 RBI, nine stolen bases and 35 runs scored. In addition, he has recorded 22 two-out hits, which is tied for third in the AL, and his .379 batting average with two outs is tied for second in the league behind teammate Kendrys Morales (.394). Moustakas, who is bidding for his first All-Star selection, ranks eighth in the AL in batting average (.320), is tied for eighth in multi-hit games (17) and tied for ninth in hits (56). The 26-year-old has added five home runs, 11 doubles, 16 RBI and 28 runs scored this season. Moustakas, the second overall selection in the 2007 MLB Draft, is trailed by 2014 AL All-Star Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays (1,496,065).
Rounding out the AL outfield leaders are Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and Cain's Kansas City teammate, Alex Gordon. Trout, the reigning AL Most Valuable Player, has received 2,371,435 total votes, which ranks fourth overall in the league. The 23-year-old is trying for his fourth consecutive All-Star appearance and third consecutive start after claiming the Ted Williams All-Star Game MVP at Target Field in Minnesota last summer. Trout would join Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson (1982-84) and Rod Carew (1979-84) as well as Vladimir Guerrero (2005-07) as the only Angels to earn at least three consecutive fan-elected starts. The 2012 AL Rookie of the Year is hitting .295 on the season with 12 home runs, 11 doubles, 27 RBI, eight stolen bases and 38 runs scored, which ranks third in the AL. The New Jersey native has scored 391 runs since the start of the 2012 campaign, 50 more than any other Major Leaguer (Cabrera, 341). Gordon, bidding for his third consecutive All-Star selection and first fan-elected start, has received 1,917,834 votes. Gordon is hitting .273 on the season with six home runs, 11 doubles, 25 RBI and 21 runs scored. The four-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner leads all Major League players with 64 assists since becoming a full-time outfielder in 2011. He collected his 500th career RBI on Sunday, becoming the 11th player to compile 500-or-more RBI with Kansas City. Cain and Gordon could become the first pair of teammates to earn starts in the AL outfield since Boston's Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez in 2005. Gordon is trailed for third among AL outfielders by four-time All-Star Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles (1,514,836), who has earned a starting assignment in each of the last two seasons. Gordon's teammate and two-time All-Star Alex Rios ranks fifth (1,249,073) and 2014 AL All-Star Yoenis Cespedes of the Tigers is sixth (1,024,346).
Up the middle of the AL infield, Alcides Escobar of the Royals (2,269,046) continues to leads at shortstop, while Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros (2,020,143) has maintained his lead at second base. Escobar is trying for his first career All-Star appearance, and he would join Fred Patek (1978) as the only Royals shortstops to earn a fan-elected start. The 28-year-old native of La Sabana, Venezuela is hitting .276 on the season with two home runs, eight doubles, a triple, 17 RBI, three stolen bases and 21 runs scored. He is the fourth-hardest to strike out in the AL, averaging 11.1 plate appearances between strikeouts, and his 17 RBI out of the leadoff spot ranks fifth in the AL. Escobar, who appeared in all 162 contests in 2014, ranks second in the Majors with 514 games at shortstop since the start of the 2012 season, trailing only Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox (521). Moustakas and Escobar could become the seventh pair of teammates to earn starts on the left side of the AL infield, and the first since Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees in 2011. Escobar is followed at shortstop by Jose Iglesias of the Tigers (1,277,655), who is also attempting to make his first All-Star team. Altuve is aiming for his third career Midsummer Classic selection (2012, 2014), and he is trying to become just the seventh player (10th time overall) in Astros history to earn a fan-elected start, and the first to do so since Houston moved to the AL for the 2013 season. He would join Craig Biggio (1995-98) and Jeff Kent (2004) as Houston second basemen to earn a fan election, while the other Astros fan-elected starters include first basemen Lee May (1972), Jeff Bagwell (1997) and Lance Berkman (2008), and outfielder Cesar Cedeno (1973). The 25-year-old Altuve is batting .296 on the season with five home runs, 10 doubles, 25 RBI, 24 runs scored and 15 stolen bases, which is the most in the AL. Since his debut in 2011, Altuve leads the Majors with a .351 batting average against left-handed pitching. With 691 career hits in 564 games played, he could become the first player in Astros history with 700 hits within his first 600 career games. The Maracay, Venezuela native is followed at second base by 2010 NL All-Star Omar Infante of the Royals (1,442,990).
Rounding out the AL leaders is three-time All-Star Nelson Cruz (2009, 2013-14) of the Seattle Mariners, who has accumulated 2,108,584 votes to lead AL designated hitters. Cruz, bidding for his second consecutive starting assignment, is tied for first in the Majors with 18 home runs, paces the AL with a .660 slugging percentage and ranks third in the league with a .335 batting average in his first year with the M's. The 34-year-old native of the Dominican Republic has also tallied seven doubles, a triple, 38 RBI and 32 runs scored on the season. Cruz, who has hit safely in 38 of his last 46 games, would join Edgar Martinez (1997, 2001, 2003) as Seattle designated hitters to earn a fan election. Cruz is followed closely by Kansas City's Kendrys Morales (1,827,730), who is pushing for his first career All-Star selection.
The Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot, the largest program of its kind in professional sports, for the first time, is being conducted exclusively online. Last year's program saw more than 300 million votes cast for elected starters. Fans around the world can cast their votes for starters 35 times exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 Club web sites - online or via their mobile devices - with the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot. During the voting period, which ends on July 2nd at 11:59 p.m. (ET), the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot will be available in English and Spanish, and will offer audio CAPTCHA functionality for visually-impaired fans. Traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese versions of the online ballot are also available. Banco BHD sponsors online All-Star balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish-language ballots available to fans in the Dominican Republic via LasMayores.com, the official Spanish-language Web site of Major League Baseball.
Details regarding the unveiling of the 2015 American League and National League All-Star Teams will be available in the coming weeks. The AL All-Star Team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the NL All-Star Team will have eight fan-elected starters. The 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 the two All-Star managers - NL skipper Bruce Bochy of the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants and AL manager Ned Yost of the Kansas City Royals.
Following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters, fans will begin voting to select the final player for each League's 34-man roster via the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over the balloting period. Now in its 14th season with more than 480 million votes cast, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on MLB.com, Club sites and their mobile phones.
This year's final phase of All-Star Game voting again will 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 can vote exclusively at MLB.com and the 30 Club sites - online or via their mobile devices - with the 2015 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining this year's recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2015 All-Star Game will be played at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday, July 14th. The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.