Belt up for All-Star berth via Final Vote

Belt up for All-Star berth via Final Vote

SAN FRANCISCO -- To achieve his goal of winning the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote, first baseman Brandon Belt hopes he can depend on the deep loyalty of Giants fans.

That, and their technological savvy.

"I have a lot of faith in our fans," Belt said Tuesday after becoming one of five National League candidates for the Esurance Final Vote. "They know how to vote very well."

Cast your Esurance Final Vote for Belt

As an example, Belt cited the success story of San Francisco's Buster Posey, who overtook St. Louis' Yadier Molina in fan balloting and was elected this year's starting NL catcher for next Tuesday's Midsummer Classic at San Diego's Petco Park (coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. PT).

"I hope I can sneak in," said Belt, 28. "It would be an awesome experience and something I'll never forget."

Belt doesn't have to rely on sheer favoritism. He's on pace to record his most productive season as he strives to make his first big league All-Star team.

The sixth-year veteran began Tuesday hitting .295 with a league-leading 26 doubles, garnished by 10 home runs, 44 RBIs, a .398 on-base percentage and a .510 slugging percentage in 82 games. His effort has encouraged the Giants, who demonstrated their belief in his ability by signing him to a six-year, $79 million contract extension in April.

Belt attributed his increased production to improved steadiness at the plate.

"I've had probably a couple of weeks mixed into the first half where I didn't do so great, but for the most part I think I've been able to be a consistent contributor, help produce runs and help win ballgames," he said.

Belt's statistics compare favorably with those of the other finalists: Milwaukee's Ryan Braun (.323 batting average, 13 home runs, 44 RBIs), Arizona's Jake Lamb (.267-19-59), Pittsburgh's Starling Marte (.321-6-31) and Colorado's Trevor Story (.264-19-500.

No Giant ever has won the Final Vote competition. They've had four other nominees since its inception in 2002: catcher Benito Santiago (2003), center fielder Aaron Rowand (2008), third baseman Pablo Sandoval (2009) and right fielder Hunter Pence (2013).

Fans can vote for the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote until 1 p.m. PT on Friday. The winners, as chosen exclusively by online fan voting totals, will be announced during a Final Vote-themed telecast of "MLB Now" featuring commentary from political analyst Jeff Greenfield, live on MLB Network and MLB.com from 1-2 p.m. PT. MLB Network will provide extensive coverage across all of its studio programming during the Final Vote, including interviews with the candidates, frequent updates, heat maps indicating the cities where votes are being cast for each candidate, news on player and club campaigns and a running countdown clock leading up to the announcement.

Baseball fans have cast nearly 600 million online votes for Final Vote candidates since the program's inception in 2002. In addition to MLB.com and the official club websites, fans can use their mobile devices to cast votes at MLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, fans can text their choice to 89269. EXAMPLE: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Message and data rates may apply. Text "STOP" to end and "HELP" for information. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text their choices to 101010.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Final Vote will include social balloting, as Twitter support for the 10 candidates over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their vote totals. From 7 a.m.-1 p.m. PT on Friday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners.

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, in San Diego, 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.