Kipnis would be honored to be on All-Star team

Indians second baseman leads AL in hits; adds 6th HR in Tuesday's win

Kipnis would be honored to be on All-Star team

ST. PETERSBURG -- Jason Kipnis probably knew the question was coming, and the Indians' second baseman shook his head and laughed a little when it did finally come up on Tuesday night. Kipnis was asked if he has paid attention to the All-Star fan voting results over the past few weeks.

"Be honest," said Indians outfielder David Murphy, grinning from a couple lockers away.

"Yeah," Kipnis admitted after the Indians' 6-2 win over the Rays. "I also know there's zero chance I'm going to win it."

While Kipnis appears to be a virtual lock for a spot on his second career American League All-Star team, the red-hot second baseman is trailing by a substantial margin in the fan balloting. If Kipnis is going to get the official nod, it will likely need to come via Royals and AL manager Ned Yost, or through the voting done by Major League players.

At the end of the day, Kipnis said simply making the All-Star team is all that really matters.

"Just going makes it the honor, that's the cool part," Kipnis said. "To me, I don't know, [being voted in by your] peers might be the best one for me. If you get the respect of the other players, where they know you're having a great year and they put you in, that says a lot to me."

There is no denying that Kipnis is putting together an outstanding season.

Kipnis launched a home run in Tuesday's victory, and is now sporting a .346/.421/.515 slash line for Cleveland through 75 games. According to Fangraphs.com, Kipnis' 4.6 position-player wins above replacement (WAR) ranks first overall in the AL and second in the Majors. He is currently sandwiched between Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper (5.0) and Angels star Mike Trout (4.4).

Kipnis is first in the Majors with 25 doubles and second in baseball with 104 hits. Only Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, Texas' Prince Fielder and Trout have a higher OPS than Kipnis (.936) in the AL. Cleveland's second baseman has six homers, four triples, 33 RBIs, 52 runs and 10 stolen bases, too.

In fan voting, though, Kipnis (3,841,898 votes) ranks third at his position, trailing Kansas City's Omar Infante (7,514,642) and Houston's Jose Altuve (7,282,934). Royals fans have come out in force this year, putting five of Kansas City's players in the AL's projected lineup at the moment. At one point, seven Royals players were among the top vote-getters.

"I've got a lot of thoughts [on the voting process]," Kipnis said. "I'm not going to share [them] with you guys. You know what? I think this little Kansas City thing, they're not wrong. They haven't done anything wrong -- the fans. It just brings about the problem a little bit and I think there will be changes coming soon."

Kipnis believes he and the rest of Cleveland's players are at a disadvantage when it comes to fan voting.

"If I'm not winning it this year, I'm not going to win it. Let's put it that way," Kipnis said. "We're just in a small market. That comes with the territory. Our city doesn't have as many people as the other ones do. I think it has a way of working itself out. I think the right guys will get on in there. You know what? It's one thing to go. It's another thing to start. But I think no one's going to complain if they go."

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.