As fans cast their votes for who they deem worthy of 2016 All-Star status, MLB.com is looking position by position through each league, continuing with the American League shortstops. (All stats entering play Saturday).
An All-Star in five of the past six seasons with the Colorado Rockies, the Blue Jays' Troy Tulowitzki is looking to make his first appearance representing the AL squad. Tulowitzki's name holds significant weight, but he's off to a slow start at the plate. Though the veteran's .177 batting average bests only the Rays' Brad Miller among AL shortstops, his four long balls and 10 RBIs both rank second in the league at the position.
Since hitting 77 home runs from 2011-13, J.J. Hardy's power has waned with age. The Oriole has clubbed just 19 homers since '13, when he was selected to his second All-Star game, but his rock-solid defense and consistency are not to be overlooked. We may be seeing a resurgence, as Hardy ranks third among AL shortstops in slugging percentage (.444) thanks largely to his seven doubles in April.
The fast starters Xander Bogaerts has picked up right where he left off in 2015, when the Boston star led AL shortstops in batting average (.320), RBIs (81) and runs scored (84). The reigning AL Silver Slugger Award winner at short paces the field with 18 runs scored this year to go along with 10 RBIs and five stolen bases. He has also nearly doubled his walk rate from last season.
Oakland's Marcus Semien is more than one-third of the way to his career high in home runs. The 25-year-old crushed 15 homers last year, but has already hit six in 2016 -- the most among shortstops in the AL. Semien's .447 slugging percentage ranks second in the league at the position, and he's stepped up his play in the field, having contributed to 20 double plays.
Elvis Andrus is making a strong case to return to the Midsummer Classic for the first time since 2012. His .333 batting average, .367 on-base percentage and .472 slugging percentage would all blow away the Rangers veteran's previous career highs. A regression to the mean is likely, but Andrus has seven multihit games, and he is among the hottest hitters in the league right now.
The rising stars Carlos Correa set the world on fire when the Astros called him up to the big leagues in early last June, leading Major League shortstops in homers (22) and earning AL Rookie of the Year Award honors. He's followed up his first season in the Majors with a .368 on-base percentage and .795 OPS thus far, and he recorded his first regular season four-hit game on April 6.
The Indians' Francisco Lindor, 22, has a remarkably well-rounded game for his young age, and he has the look of a perennial All-Star. Lindor led AL shortstops last season with a 4.6 WAR, according to Fangraphs, despite not making his MLB debut until mid-June. Lindor makes the spectacular appear routine with his glovework, and he's tied for second among AL shortstops with 12 runs scored.
Lying in the weeds Alcides Escobar, last year's starting shortstop for the AL, is off to a rough start to the 2016 season, hitting just .223 with three extra-base hits for the Royals, but he already has more steals (six) than he did entering the All-Star break last season (five).
The Tigers' Jose Iglesias, who backed up Escobar in last year's Midsummer Classic, is trying to make it back for the second straight year. His stellar defense keeps him in the running for an All-Star spot, even when his bat goes quiet. He's striking out less than ever in his career and getting on base more as a result.
Arguably best defensive shortstop in the game, the Angels' Andrelton Simmons is pushing for his first All-Star selection. He rarely strikes out or walks, so he often puts the ball in play, but Simmons is getting on base in only 27 percent of his plate appearances. Howewer, he has hit safely in 17 of 23 games this season.
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.
Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.