Blue Jays full of All-Star candidates in 2016

Blue Jays full of All-Star candidates in 2016

TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson set the record for most votes in All-Star Game history last year, and he has a chance to do it again, but it won't be easy. There's a lot of big-name competition, including some from his own team.

Donaldson headlines an impressive list of Blue Jays on the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot, which also includes outfielder Jose Bautista, designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and catcher Russell Martin. The group has made a combined 19 appearances at the Midsummer Classic.

As the reigning American League MVP, Donaldson normally would be considered a lock at his position, but he'll need a lot of support to fight off Orioles star Manny Machado. Bautista will be looking to make his seventh consecutive All-Star Game, while Encarnacion is the underdog at DH against Boston's David Ortiz.

Tulowitzki and Martin each got off to slow starts this season, but they have plenty of time to reverse course and make their cases. Martin also got off to a slow start last year as well, but he then quickly turned things around in May and ended up making his first All-Star team since 2011.

The list of Toronto players on the ballot also includes first baseman Justin Smoak, second baseman Ryan Goins and outfielders Kevin Pillar and Michael Saunders.

Browsing the ballot
The other side: Over in the NL, most of the attention always goes to Washington's Bryce Harper and Miami's Giancarlo Stanton, but outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is off to yet another fast start. He enters play Sunday with a .338 average and a 1.001 OPS in 17 games and should have another big year.

Tip of the cap: Robinson Cano was once the mainstay All-Star at second base, but that title may now belong to Houston's Jose Altuve. The 25-year-old hasn't missed a beat from last season as he entered play Sunday hitting .314 with a 1.043 OPS.

A rising star: Carlos Correa still doesn't even have a full big league season under his belt, but he is already considered by some to be one of the best players in the game. The future is now for Houston's shortstop, and with six extra-base hits and seven RBIs in 16 games this season, he's on his way to living up to the hype.

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.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.