Cano, Cruz aiming for another All-Star season

Voting opens for '16 Midsummer Classic in San Diego

Cano, Cruz aiming for another All-Star season

ANAHEIM -- Major League Baseball released its 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot on Sunday and the Mariners figure to have at least two position players in Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz who draw strong support in the voting.

Cano saw his string of All-Star selections snapped at five when he struggled through a tough first half last year, but the 33-year-old has come out of the gates quickly this year with six homers and 14 RBIs in his first 17 games going into Sunday's series finale with the Angels.

Cruz was elected by voters last year as the AL's starter at designated hitter -- his fourth All-Star selection -- and lived up to that by finishing second in the league with 44 home runs while batting .302.

The 35-year-old Cruz is producing well again this season for Seattle, batting .273 with four homers and 11 RBIs in his first 17 games.

Cruz's solo shot

The Mariners have one player on the ballot at each position, with Chris Iannetta at catcher, Adam Lind at first, Ketel Marte at short, Kyle Seager at third and Norichika Aoki, Leonys Martin and Seth Smith in the outfield.

Browsing the ballot

The other side: Rockies rookie shortstop Trevor Story is having a sensational season and should draw lots of votes in the National League balloting. But don't overlook his infield teammate, third baseman Nolan Arenado, who is quickly becoming one of the elite hitters in the game. The 25-year-old put up 42 homers, 130 RBIs and an .898 OPS last year and he's producing at an even better clip so far this year.

Arenado's dinger to left

Tip of the cap: Want to hear a surprising fact? Adrian Beltre has only made four All-Star teams in his 19-year Major League career. The 37-year-old seems to be hitting as well as ever in the early going for the Rangers and while third base in the AL is very competitive, it would seem fitting to get another trip to the Midsummer Classic for a guy who may well end up in the Hall of Fame.

A rising star: While much of the media focus on the Astros deservedly centers on 21-year-old shortstop Carlos Correa as well as Jose Altuve and Dallas Keuchel, keep an eye on right fielder George Springer. The 26-year-old missed a couple months last year with a broken wrist, but he brings a special combo of speed and power and should be a perennial All-Star if he can consistently produce the numbers he's shown he's capable of in spurts so far in his career.

Springer's diving catch

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.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.