Nats fans can help send Harper, Murphy to ASG

Nats fans can help send Harper, Murphy to ASG

WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper, the reigning National League Most Valuable Player, has established himself as one of baseball's best and most exciting players, and he is making a strong case to start the 2016 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at Petco Park in San Diego on July 12.

Harper is hitting .311/.397/.803, pacing the National League in slugging percentage, OPS (1.201) and tied for the lead in home runs.

Eight Nationals were featured on the 2016 Esurance All-Star ballot, which launched Sunday. Harper was joined on the ballot by Wilson Ramos, Ryan Zimmerman, Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon, Danny Espinosa, Jayson Werth and Ben Revere.

Harper's scorching-hot start has made him a frontrunner for what would be his fourth All-Star Game appearance this season, but Murphy has also been very productive at the plate.

Murphy, the Nationals' biggest free-agent signing this offseason, began the day Sunday with the highest batting average in the NL (.411), and ranked third in on-base percentage (.484) and fourth in slugging percentage (.679). He has hit safely in 14 of the 16 games he has played this season, with nine multi-hit games.

Murphy has one previous All-Star game appearance in his career, in 2014 with the Mets, but with the way he is swinging the bat lately, he deserves consideration for a second.

Browsing the ballot

The other side: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas has matured into a strong hitter over the past few seasons and is off to his best start yet. He is hitting .273/.324/.621 with six home runs, second most in the American League.

Tip of the cap: After battling injuries for much of last season, Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is off to a fast start and back to being one of the most exciting players in the league. He is batting .302/.371/.444 and making highlight-reel throws from right field.

A rising star: He has been inserted as the No. 3 hitter in the Mets' lineup, and with a .920 OPS outfielder Michael Conforto has been hitting like he belongs.

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.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.