MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Can Story, Seager ride early buzz into ASG?

National League shortstops represent two of six rookies on All-Star ballot

Can Story, Seager ride early buzz into ASG?

Trevor Story was more a curiosity than anything else during the spring. A highly regarded shortstop prospect in the Rockies' system (ranked No. 10 by MLBPipeline.com), the general feeling was he might be a year away from the Major Leagues.

As big league teams were reporting to Spring Training, however, veteran shortstop Jose Reyes was placed on paid leave, pending the disposition of domestic abuse allegations.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Story, Seager and other #ASGWorthy players

The door of opportunity opened, and Story beat out Cristhian Adames to claim Colorado's Opening Day shortstop spot. He has more than reaffirmed his status in the lineup since then.

Story homered twice on Opening Day, which was his Major League debut; hit a big league-record seven home runs in the first six games of the season, and finished April with 10 home runs, matching the rookie record for the opening month of the season set by Jose Abreu of the White Sox two years ago.

Story hits 10 homers in April

Next thing Story knew, he was the Rockies' representative at shortstop on the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot, one of six rookies among 255 position players from the American League and National League listed.

Along with Story, the rookies include shortstop Corey Seager of the Dodgers, first baseman Tyler White of the Astros, designated hitter Byung Ho Park of the Twins, and outfielders Tyler Naquin of the Indians and Joey Rickard of the Orioles.

Seager arrived with the most preseason fanfare, having been slotted into the Dodgers' Opening Day lineup in the minds of most people before Spring Training even opened.

Seager's two-run triple

Story, however, has received more attention since the season started.

Story and White were the NL and AL Players of the Week for Opening Week, the first time a rookie won the award in both leagues, which put both of them on the radar in a hurry.

Story, who hit his 11th home run to lead off a 13-run fifth inning in Colorado's 17-7 victory at San Francisco on Thursday night, entered Friday ranked second in the Majors in homers, one behind teammate Nolan Arenado. He was tied with Edwin Encarnacion for sixth in the Majors with 24 RBIs despite hitting in the No. 2 spot in the order.

Seager, brother of All-Star third baseman Kyle Seager of the Mariners, was hitting .252 with two home runs and 13 RBIs for the Dodgers, who went into Friday tied with the Rockies and Giants for first place in the NL West.

Seager's shot to center

What remains to be seen is whether the early attention will give them a lift in the fan voting for a starting position in the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard at Petco Park in San Diego on July 12.

There have been only 62 rookies on All-Star Game rosters since the game began in 1933, beginning with Joe DiMaggio in '36. Other Hall of Fame players to make an All-Star team as a rookie include Frank Robinson ('56), Rod Carew ('67), Johnny Bench ('68), Carlton Fisk ('72), Gary Carter ('75), and Mike Piazza ('93).

Among active position players to have appeared in an All-Star Game in their rookie season are outfielders Mike Trout of the Angels and Bryce Harper of the Nationals in 2012, Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners in '01, Jason Heyward of the Braves in '10 and Joc Pederson of the Dodgers in '15; third basemen Evan Longoria of the Rays in '08 and Kris Bryant of the Cubs in '15; first basemen Abreu of the White Sox in '14 and Albert Pujols of the Cardinals in '01, and catcher Geovany Soto of the Cubs in '08.

Suzuki and Soto are among only six rookie position players voted to the starting lineup since fans were given back the chance to select the starting lineups for each league in 1970. Wally Joyner of the Angels was selected in '86, Sandy Alomar, Jr., of the Indians in '90, Hideki Matsui of the Yankees in 2003, and Kosuke Fukudome joined his Cubs teammate, Soto, on the NL roster in 2008.

Pederson did start in the All-Star Game last year, but he was a replacement for Matt Holliday, who was voted to the lineup by the fans and withdrew because of an injury.

Fans also voted on the starting lineup from 1947-57, during which time the following rookies were selected: Richie Ashburn in '48, Eddie Kazak in '49, Walt Dropo in '50 and Robinson in '56.

Never, however, have the fans voted a rookie shortstop into the starting lineup.

That means Story, who has taken over for three-time All-Star Reyes, and Seager not only will battle with each other in the NL All-Star voting, but they will also have to buck tradition if they are to earn a starting spot.

There, however, is not an active player in the NL for whom the fans have voted to start an All-Star Game at shortstop. Jhonny Peralta of St. Louis, who started last year, underwent left thumb surgery in March and has been on the disabled list since Opening Day. Troy Tulowitzki, the NL starter for Colorado in 2011, '13 and '14, was traded to the Blue Jays in the AL last July. Hanley Ramirez, who started for the NL from '08-10, is now a first baseman for the Red Sox, and Jimmy Rollins, the '02 NL starter, is now with the White Sox in the AL.

All other former NL All-Star starting shortstops are retired.

That at least opens the door for Story and Seager in the fan voting.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.