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 American League catchers. (All stats entering play Wednesday)
You can't mention AL catchers without first talking about Salvador Perez. The heart of the Royals has not only begun the season with sound defense, but his offensive numbers are also quite impressive. Perez ranks second among AL catchers with 14 RBIs, and he has hit four home runs.
"I know I can get better pitches to hit if I'm more patient," Perez said about his approach at the plate this season. "It's hard, but I have to do it."
If Perez makes the All-Star team, it would mark his fourth straight appearance in the Midsummer Classic.
As for other veteran backstops who have been standing out, Brian McCann has been a steady presence in the Yankees' lineup so far this season. Taking his fair share of hits behind the plate, McCann is still producing for a Yanks club that's struggling to score runs so far this season. The backstop has tallied three home runs and seven RBIs and has a .380 on-base percentage.
The fast starters
An injury to Tigers catcher James McCann thrust Jarrod Saltalamacchia into the starting role, and he has definitely taken advantage. Saltalamacchia leads AL catchers in home runs (six) and RBIs (16) and has a .932 OPS.
A's backstop Stephen Vogt has played an important role for the team to begin the season. He leads the AL in average among everyday catchers (.279) and has the highest OPS (.780) on the A's.
The rising stars Christian Vazquez has made a triumphant return to the Red Sox after missing the 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery. His defensive prowess is undeniable, but Vazquez has also made a huge effort to become an offensive threat. His biggest hit so far this season came on Sunday against the Yankees, when he drilled a game-winning home run over the Green Monster for an 8-7 victory.
"He's been working extremely hard," Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz said. "Trust me, I believe the same thing that happened with Yadier [Molina] is going to happen to [Vazquez], because he works extremely hard on his hitting. He doesn't just work on his defense. At some point, I won't be surprised if he figures it out."
Lying in the weeds
Cleveland's Yan Gomes isn't hitting for a high average (.192), but he's coming through when it counts. He's totaled three home runs and 12 RBIs, which rank third among AL catchers.
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.
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.