Kipnis in need of big ASG ballot push

Kipnis in need of big ASG ballot push

ST. PETERSBURG -- Jason Kipnis will likely be named an All-Star this season for the second time in his career, but the Indians second baseman's inclusion in the Midsummer Classic would require a miracle to come via the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot.

• Many ASG races up for grabs

In the final American League voting results revealed on Monday, Kipnis faced a substantial gap behind Kansas City second baseman Omar Infante, who led the way at their position with 7,514,642 votes. Houston's Jose Altuve ranked second in balloting with 7,282,934 votes, while Cleveland's second baseman had tallied 3,841,898 votes ahead of Sunday's announcement of the All-Star starters.

"He's been a force for a while," Indians manager Terry Francona said last week. "He's one of the better players in the game and he continues to show it every game. That's what the premier players do."

Kipnis' only All-Star appearance came in 2013, when he made the American League roster as a selection by former Tigers manager Jim Leyland. This year, while fan voting is ongoing, Kipnis will likely need to be picked by AL manager Ned Yost or via the players' ballot.

The only other Indians player listed within the latest fan voting results is outfielder Michael Brantley, who ranked eighth among AL outfielders with 3,211,743 tallies. The Angels' Mike Trout (11,461,212), and Royals outfielders Lorenzo Cain (10,4189,343) and Alex Gordon (8,934,052) are currently projected as the AL's starting outfield.

Heading into Monday's action, Kipnis boasted a 4.4 WAR, according to Fangraphs.com, ranking him first in the AL among position players and second to only Nationals slugger Bryce Harper (4.9) in baseball. The Tribe's second baseman had a .342/.418/.503 slash line to go along with four triples, five homers, 10 stolen bases, 24 doubles, 31 RBIs, 35 walks, 49 runs and 100 hits in 73 games.

Infante had a .237/.243/.320 slash line, while Altuve's stood at .292/.333/.406, entering Monday.

Cleveland's lone All-Star a year ago, Brantley entered Monday batting .294 with four homers and 37 RBIs in 65 games, in which he also had 22 doubles, 27 runs, eight stolen bases and more walks (31) than strikeouts (22).

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 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.

The 2015 All-Star starters will be unveiled on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET on the Esurance All-Star Starters Selection Show on ESPN. Then on Monday at 7 p.m. ET, the All-Star reserves, pitchers and Final Vote candidates will be announced on the Esurance All-Star Selection Show on ESPN, immediately after which fans can return to MLB.com to begin casting their 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Votes for the final player for each league's All-Star roster. Final Vote ends Friday, July 10, at 4 p.m. ET. 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.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.