#ASGWorthy: Yadi, Buster again in NL mix behind plate
Cards, Giants vets have started 5 of past 7 All-Star Games for Senior Circuit
By Cash Kruth
The 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Ballot has been released, and while the season is still young, it's never too early to start evaluating candidates. Many have already begun to stand out, while others are sure to hit their stride in the coming months leading up to the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard on July 12 at San Diego's Petco Park.
As fans cast their votes for who they deem worthy of 2016 All-Star status, MLB.com is going to look position by position through each league, continuing today with the National League catchers.
St. Louis' Yadier Molina and San Francisco's Buster Posey have been the class of NL backstops for the past several years, with one of the two starting five of the seven All-Star Games since 2009. Molina, who backed up Posey in the Midsummer Classic last year, has returned from offseason left thumb surgery with relative ease and is hitting .333 with 10 RBIs.
Posey, a three-time All-Star, is hitting .294 with four homers for the first-place Giants.
Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, the 2014 NL starter behind the plate, is hitting .309 with eight RBIs after dealing with a broken left big toe last season.
The fast starters
Philadelphia's Carlos Ruiz has a .341/.413/.634 slash line with three home runs at 37 years old after hitting just .211 a season ago. The 2012 All-Star is a key contributor for the surprising Phillies.
D-backs catcher Welington Castillo leads all NL backstops with six home runs after launching 17 a year ago. He's also hitting .282 as he looks for his first All-Star nod.
Colorado's Nick Hundley is hitting .286 with two homers and seven RBIs. We know what you're thinking -- but, no, he's not a product of Coors Field. He's actually batting .350 on the road, where he's hit both of his home runs.
The rising stars
Offseason Lasik surgery may or may not be why Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos has started the season hitting .316 with two home runs, but the former top prospect appears to be living up to his potential.
Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto is hitting .312 with two homers and five doubles while appearing in 20 of Miami's 24 games.
Lying in the weeds
Pittsburgh's Francisco Cervelli has continued to hit for a high average -- checking in at .309 -- while getting on base at a .430 clip. He's also driven in 12 while mostly hitting out of the five-hole for the Pirates.
Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal is once again off to a quick start after making his first All-Star team in 2015. He's hitting .295/.426/.477 with one home run.
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.
Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.