Mets fans can help Cespedes earn ASG nod

Conforto, Walker also on ballot for Midsummer Classic in San Diego

Mets fans can help Cespedes earn ASG nod

NEW YORK -- Strong starts from Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto and Neil Walker give the Mets a slew of All-Star worthy candidates at the dawn of fan voting. Those three are among eight Mets on the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game ballot, which Major League Baseball released on Sunday for the All-Star Game presented by MasterCard.

After struggling a bit early in April, Cespedes has broken out in a big way -- particularly in the power department. The Mets came into the season viewing him as their best chance at a 30-homer slugger, and Cespedes is well on pace for that through the season's first three weeks.

That does not, however, mean that Cespedes is even leading his own team in home runs. That honor goes to Walker, who matched a personal best for any month in his eight-year career when he hit his sixth long ball on April 19. While former Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy continues to tear it up in Washington -- more on that later -- Walker's hot start has helped the team move on from Murphy.

Then there is Conforto, a breakout candidate after last year's solid half-season as a rookie. Over his first three weeks, Conforto has become a veteran-like presence as one of the Mets' steadiest offensive performers.

Other Mets on the 2016 ballot are catcher Travis d'Arnaud, first baseman Lucas Duda, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, third baseman David Wright, and outfielder Curtis Granderson.

Last year, starting pitcher Jacob deGrom was the Mets' lone All-Star, and there's a good chance the team will send another pitcher or two -- Noah Syndergaard, anyone? -- to this year's event in San Diego. But the fan vote, which began on Sunday, encompasses only position players.

Browsing the ballot
The other side: Considering how rarely the Mets steal bases, it's impressive to watch two-time reigning American League steals leader Jose Altuve at work. Over Altuve's first 17 games, he more than doubled the Mets' team in stolen bases. It's not outlandish to think Altuve could out-steal the Mets all season long; at the least, he's a worthy AL All-Star.

Tip of the cap: Kudos to Murphy, who has spent much of April batting well above .400. While Walker has him cornered in the power department, Murphy -- the Mets' lone All-Star in 2014 -- is proving that his contact bat plays just as well in Washington as it did in New York.

A rising star: Heading into the season, Steven Matz's primary NL Rookie of the Year Award competition was supposed to be Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager. Instead, Seager has stumbled out to a middling start while his Rockies counterpart, Trevor Story, has taken the NL West by storm. Though Story has cooled off a bit since hitting seven home runs in his first six big league games, he's certainly worthy of All-Star consideration.

Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on their computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday, June 30, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Vote up to five times in any 24-hour period for a maximum of 35 times.

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.

Following the announcement of the 2016 All-Stars, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote for the final player on each league's All-Star roster. On Tuesday, July 12, watch the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard 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 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.

The 87th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.