Cutch among 8 Bucs on 2016 All-Star ballot

Cutch among 8 Bucs on 2016 All-Star ballot

PHOENIX -- Andrew McCutchen has started for the National League in the last two All-Star Games. Now, fans have a chance to make it three in a row.

The 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot launched online Sunday, and the Pirates are represented by eight starting position players: Francisco Cervelli, John Jaso, Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer, Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco and McCutchen. Jung Ho Kang, on the disabled list but expected to return soon, is also on the ballot at third base.

Pittsburgh sent four players to last year's All-Star Game in Cincinnati: McCutchen and pitchers Gerrit Cole, A.J. Burnett and Mark Melancon. This year could be another opportunity for McCutchen, despite his slow start, and a few hitters who have never taken part in the Midsummer Classic.

Cervelli, Jaso, Marte and Polanco should all earn consideration at their respective positions. Cervelli, Jaso and Polanco have three of the NL's 10 highest on-base percentages, while Marte has emerged as one of the league's best all-around outfielders.

McCutchen has had an up-and-down April, carrying a .217 average into the 19th game of the season, but last season, he broke out in May and earned his fifth straight All-Star nod. Last year, the star center fielder became the first Pittsburgh player to make five straight All-Star Games since Roberto Clemente appeared in eight straight from 1960-67.

Browsing the ballot

The other side: The American League is loaded with quality second basemen, but the Tigers' Ian Kinsler deserves fans' consideration alongside Jose Altuve and Robinson Cano. Kinsler -- a four-time All-Star and classic "backyard ballplayer," as Clint Hurdle would say -- has hit .343 with a .922 OPS, four homers and 12 RBIs.

Tip of the cap: Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado probably deserves more attention than he gets -- he's one of baseball's best all-around players -- and the Reds' Eugenio Suarez is quickly joining him in that respect. Suarez doesn't just beat up the Bucs, either; he's hitting .303 with a .907 OPS, five homers and 14 RBIs.

A rising star: Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich has been a solid hitter the last three years, but he may be ready to turn into a star. Yelich is batting .396 with a 1.113 OPS and more walks (15) than strikeouts (10).

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.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.