It has already been assumed that Brian McCann will earn his sixth consecutive All-Star selection in his sixth full Major League season. But this year could certainly be different, because it looks like it will be the first in which McCann is elected to serve as the National League's starting catcher.
With the balloting process concluding on Thursday night, McCann has further widened his lead over all NL catchers. The 26-year-old has garnered nearly 800,000 more votes than the Cardinals' Yadier Molina, who ranks second in this group.
Molina was elected the NL's starter in each of the past two years. But as long as McCann continues to draw support over the next couple of days, the Braves backstop would be in line to secure this year's top spot, having led all NL catchers in batting average (.300), on-base percentage (.379), slugging percentage (.512) and home runs (13) entering Monday.
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via your mobile device -- using the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint until Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Rosters will be announced during the 2011 All-Star Game Selection Show on TBS on Sunday. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint.
And the voting doesn't end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet at the Midsummer Classic via the 2011 All-Star Game MVP Vote Sponsored by Sprint.
The All-Star Game, to be played in Phoenix on July 12, will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.
It appears McCann will be the only Braves player elected to start this year's All-Star Game. Chipper Jones ranks second among NL third basemen but stands more than one million votes behind the Phillies' Placido Polanco.
Shortstop Alex Gonzalez and second baseman Dan Uggla also stand more than one million votes behind the leaders at their respective positions.
Braves right fielder Jason Heyward was elected to serve as one of the NL's starting outfielders when he was just 20 years old last year, but he has struggled through an injury-plagued season in 2011 and ranks ninth in this year's NL outfield race.
Rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman still ranks fifth at a position filled with superstars. Each of the players positioned in front of him -- Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Joey Votto and Ryan Howard -- has garnered more than one million votes.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.