Homer-hitting Thames leads Crew, seeks vote

Homer-hitting Thames leads Crew, seeks vote

ST. LOUIS -- Will Eric Thames' triumphant return to Major League Baseball, not to mention his popularity abroad, propel him to his first All-Star Game?

First base is one of the most difficult positions to crack, but Thames did his part during a franchise record-setting April for the Brewers, positioning himself as a worthy pick on his first Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot, which was released Monday. Thames and seven other Brewers position players are all vying to play in the July 11 MLB All-Star Game presented by MasterCard.

VOTE: Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot

Besides Thames, Brewers on the ballot include catcher Jett Bandy, second baseman Jonathan Villar, third baseman Travis Shaw, shortstop Orlando Arcia and outfielders Ryan Braun, Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana.

Of those players, only Braun has played in a Midsummer Classic, and he's made the National League roster six times. Thames was an All-Star during his three-year rampage through the Korea Baseball Organization, making the highlight reel last year by mockingly charging the mound after being hit by a pitch. Thames only took a few steps before breaking into a big smile and trotting to first base.

Thames' popularity in Korea, where fans nicknamed him "God" and mobbed Thames on the sidewalk every time he left the stadium or his apartment, will surely help in online balloting. But Thames is building a strong statistical case, too, tying for the Major League lead with 11 home runs in April, a Brewers record for the opening month, and ranking fourth in the Majors with a 1.276 OPS.

Fans may cast votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday, June 29, at 11:59 p.m. ET. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB.com At Bat and MLB.com Ballpark mobile apps. Vote up to five times in any 24-hour period for a maximum of 35 ballots cast.

Following the announcement of the 2017 All-Star starters, reserves and pitchers, fans should return to MLB.com and cast their 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote for the final player on each league's All-Star roster. Then on Tuesday, July 11, while watching the 2017 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard live on FOX, fans may visit MLB.com to submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.

The 88th Midsummer Classic, at Marlins Park in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM will have comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit AllStarGame.com and follow @AllStarGame on social media.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.