Arenado leading Rockies' charge on All-Star ballot

Arenado leading Rockies' charge on All-Star ballot

DENVER -- Third baseman Nolan Arenado said traveling last year to Cincinnati for his first All-Star Game was that much more enjoyable because he had a couple of Rockies teammates with him -- second baseman DJ LeMahieu and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (now with the Blue Jays).

"It was awesome, and way better knowing that DJ and Tulo were there with me, because I was pretty nervous, but being with those guys and talking to them about the game was one of the best experiences of my life, for sure," Arenado said.

With seven early home runs going into Sunday's game against the Dodgers, Arenado looks as if he'll roll up plenty of votes on the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot, which was released Sunday.

Vote Rockies to 2016 All-Star Game

And there are plenty of chances to give Arenado some company in San Diego on July 12.

Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, a two-time All-Star, entered Sunday hitting .338 with four home runs and looking much like the player he was last year, when his 40 home runs were topped only by the 42 hit by Arenado and the Nationals' Bryce Harper.

Rookie shortstop Trevor Story put himself in All-Star consideration with eight early-season home runs and some dazzling defensive plays as he makes the most of his chance to uphold Tulowitzki's standards at the position.

LeMahieu is hitting .304 with two homers and six RBIs. He had to play through groin pain for the last week-plus, and has been shuffling throughout the batting order. But he continues to contribute offensively and defensively.

Also representing the Rockies on the ballot are first baseman Mark Reynolds, catcher Nick Hundley and outfielders Charlie Blackmon and Gerardo Parra.

Browsing the ballot

The other side: The Rockies briefly considered trading for outfielder-first baseman Mark Trumbo, but the Mariners ended up sending him to the Orioles. While the American League outfield picture is jammed with stars, it would be really sad if Trumbo ended up being lost in the shuffle. Entering Sunday, his .381 batting average was second in the AL, and his 15 RBIs tied him for third.

Tip of the cap: Folks weren't sure what to think when the Pirates signed former Athletics and Rays catcher-designated hitter John Jaso to play first base -- a position he'd played all of two career games. Jaso has been solid defensively, and went into Sunday with a .361 batting average -- fourth in the National League.

A rising star: The Spring Training question of how the Rangers were going to make way for the bat of outfield prospect Nomar Mazara was answered when Shin-Soo Choo suffered an early-season calf strain. Mazara led American League rookies with a .357 batting average and was second with five multi-hit games.

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 9:59 p.m. MT. 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.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.