DETROIT -- Ian Kinsler missed out on the All-Star vote at second base the last two years. His hot start atop the Tigers' lineup, combined with his strong finish last season, could put him in his strongest position yet for a nod as All-Star balloting gets underway.
Ballots were released Sunday as fans get their chance to choose the starting lineups for the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard. The American League Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot features several familiar names, including Miguel Cabrera vying for his third consecutive All-Star vote selection and Victor Martinez trying to earn his sixth All-Star berth.
Kinsler finished fourth among second basemen in balloting last year coming off a struggling first half that saw his OPS dip to .674 by the start of July. He rebounded with an .842 second-half OPS, then started this season on a tear with nine multihit performances in his first 14 games. He entered Sunday ranked fifth among American League hitters with a .343 batting average, and tops among AL second basemen.
Kinsler finished third in balloting in 2014 behind Robinson Cano and eventual AL batting champion Jose Altuve. Both will be strong contenders for the starting nod this season, with Altuve trying for a third consecutive starting berth.
Other Tigers who could merit consideration include J.D. Martinez and Jose Iglesias, both of whom earned spots on last year's All-Star bench through the players vote. Iglesias, who earned more votes from players than All-Star starter Alcides Escobar last year, is off to another strong start on both sides of the ball. Martinez continues to build on last year, raising his April average.
One player who isn't on the All-Star ballot is catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who has shockingly provided the power to Detroit's offense with six home runs and 15 RBIs through Sunday. Since James McCann opened the season as the regular starter before a sprained right ankle forced him onto the disabled list, McCann is on the ballot.
Browsing the ballot
The other side:Neil Walker never received much All-Star consideration in Pittsburgh, but Don Kelly's brother-in-law has powered the Mets offense since his offseason trade. He stood two off the Major League home run leaders as of Sunday afternoon.
Tip of the cap:Mark Trumbo earned a spot in the AL All-Star outfield with the Angels in 2012 but hasn't been back since. Now in Baltimore, his power numbers and average are going to garner consideration once more.
A rising star: The AL shortstop race could be one of the most intriguing positions to follow. While Carlos Correa's offense is going to merit strong consideration in Houston, Francisco Lindor's all-around play in Cleveland can't be overlooked.
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.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.