The early season numbers don't reflect it yet, but there is a reason Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins has gone from unknown young player to a hot name among the fantasy baseball set.
Atkins has yet to get to the .300 level, where he has spent much of his career. But if he takes off as he knows he can, he could be a popular name among those voting for the National League All-Star team. The 78th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be held July 10 at San Francisco's AT&T Park.
Atkins hit his first two home runs of the season on the Rockies' recent road trip and reports that he is finding his groove.
"I've been trying to find my swing since the season started, but now I'm starting to drive some balls," Atkins said. "That's what you're looking for."
First baseman Todd Helton has made five All-Star Game appearances, left-handed closer Brian Fuentes has gone the last two years and left fielder Matt Holliday, one of a recent wave of young players to break through with the Rockies, went last year.
Atkins, who batted .329 with 29 home runs and 120 RBIs last season, could be the next young Rockies homegrown player to make a name at the national level.
Second baseman Kazuo Matsui was garnering consideration by posting a .361 batting average and going 5-for-5 on stolen-base attempts through nine games, but he went on the disabled list Sunday with a lower-back strain.
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the Monster 2007 All-Star Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until Thursday, June 28, at 9:59 p.m. MT.
Fans around the world will again have the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team via the Monster 2007 All-Star Final Vote. The vote will begin immediately following the 2007 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show Presented by Chevrolet, which will be televised by Turner Sports on Sunday, July 1.
Selecting the rosters isn't the end of the fun in 2007, either. Concluding the All-Star balloting process, fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the All-Star Game via the Monster 2007 All-Star Game MVP Vote at MLB.com.
The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage and MLB Radio will have exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.