Frazier, Altuve, Cruz, Donaldson have time to make up ground; Harper, Perez eyeing record
By Cash Kruth
The final day for fans to cast their All-Star ballots is nearing. So not only is this weekend important to voters, but also for players who are looking to make a push and earn a starting nod in this year's Midsummer Classic.
Here are five All-Star storylines to watch this weekend, with all vote totals from the latest release:
1. Hometown hero makes his push Todd Frazier is the All-Star Game ambassador and will be representing the Reds in Cincinnati regardless of whether or not he's starting at third base for the National League. However, not only does he have the credentials to be a member of the NL All-Star team, but he has the numbers to start. Frazier is building upon his impressive May with a .306/.333./653 line in June. Frazier (4,308,446 votes) ranks ahead of the current NL vote leader at third base -- St. Louis' Matt Carpenter (5,504,534) -- in average, home runs, RBIs and WAR, while sitting atop all NL third basemen in homers, RBIs and WAR.
2. Healthy Altuve humming along
Astros second baseman Jose Altuve has been battling a hamstring injury, but he showed no issues Thursday against the Yankees while going 3-for-4 and stealing two bases against a team that had given up the fewest steals in the American League. Altuve (6,086,193) is closing in on AL second-base leader Omar Infante (6,521,733), and a few more good games against the Yankees this weekend would certainly help Altuve's case.
3. Record setters?
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has already broken the NL record with 9,224,370 votes, but he and Royals catcher Salvador Perez (10,199,151) have a chance to record the two highest vote totals of all time. Josh Hamilton received the most votes in a year, getting 11,073,744 in 2012.
4. Cruz looks to bolster case vs. Angels
Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (7,298,451) is closing in on the AL DH leader -- Kansas City's Kendrys Morales (7,584,560) -- and this weekend should be a good one for Cruz: he has 26 career homers against the Angels, his most against any team.
5. What will Donaldson do next?
Toronto third baseman Josh Donaldson (9,004,876) made the play of the week by diving into the stands during Marco Estrada's perfect-game bid Thursday, but he'll need the help of fans to catch Kansas City's Mike Moustakas (9,037,844). Moustakas has the edge in batting average -- .328 to .298 -- but Donaldson has more than double the homers (17 to seven) of Moustakas.
Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.