Past Giants All-Stars look to return to Classic

Past Giants All-Stars look to return to Classic

SAN FRANCISCO -- Consider this an expansion era regarding the Giants' annual All-Star Game contingent. That is, their sustained success has resulted in expanded representations of players being selected to the Midsummer Classic.

At least three Giants have been chosen for the National League All-Star squad every year since 2011. Before that, two or fewer Giants made the All-Star team for eight years in a row.

Participants on this year's 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot, which was unveiled Sunday, have the opportunity to vote for four Giants who have enjoyed the privilege of being elected or picked to join the NL All-Stars: catcher Buster Posey, second baseman Joe Panik, shortstop Brandon Crawford and right fielder Hunter Pence.

Posey and Pence are three-time All-Stars. Last year, Crawford and Panik became the first keystone combination of Giants to gain All-Star recognition since second baseman Jeff Kent and shortstop Rich Aurilia earned this distinction in 2001.

Also, as last year's runner-up in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting, third baseman Matt Duffy knows all about delivering performances that get out the vote.

Other Giants on the ballot include first baseman Brandon Belt, left fielder Angel Pagan and center fielder Denard Span.

Browsing the ballot

The other side: Across the San Francisco Bay is based a worthy All-Star candidate: Oakland catcher Stephen Vogt.

Tip of the cap: Colorado's Nolan Arenado has emerged as one of baseball's most talented performers -- a Gold Glove Award-winning third baseman who ranks among the game's most dangerous hitters. Yet he's rarely mentioned among the sport's biggest stars, except by more knowledgeable fans. Occasionally, Arenado's still even overshadowed on his own team by outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. A second career All-Star berth for Arenado might help him earn the recognition he deserves.

A rising star: Miami saw fit to lock up left fielder Christian Yelich to a contract that lasts through 2021 with a team option through 2022. Entering his third full Major League season, the 24-year-old left-handed batter has established himself as one of baseball's most promising young hitters.

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 8:59 p.m. PT. 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.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.