Hot-hitting Upton seeks All-Star vote support

Hot-hitting Upton seeks All-Star vote support

DETROIT -- Justin Upton has three All-Star selections to his credit as a National League player. After a rough first season as a Tiger, the slugging left fielder is off to the kind of start that could earn him a long look for an American League nod.

Major League Baseball released its annual All-Star Game ballot on Monday. The Tigers have no shortage of familiar candidates, from Miguel Cabrera seeking his eighth consecutive All-Star selection as a Tiger to Ian Kinsler vying for his first-ever All-Star start and first selection since 2014. But quietly, Upton is making a case as an intriguing candidate, parlaying his torrid stretch run in 2016 into a strong start this season.

VOTE: Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot

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.

No Tiger had more RBIs in the opening month than Upton, who batted .290 (20-for-82) for April with four doubles, five home runs and 15 RBIs. His .968 OPS leads the Tigers and ranks sixth among all AL outfielders. He helped Detroit's offense overcome slow starts from bigger names and injuries to Cabrera and J.D. Martinez.

Upton has three All-Star selections as a reserve, most recently in 2015 with San Diego, but has never garnered the fan vote for a start.

Cabrera has been an All-Star selection every year since 2010, but lost out to Kansas City's Eric Hosmer in fan balloting at first base last year. Kinsler was an All-Star snub among a cluttered group of second basemen that included All-Star Jose Altuve, reserve Robinson Cano, and perennial All-Star candidate Dustin Pedroia. Kinsler gained a nice prize at season's end with his first Gold Glove selection.

Other Tigers on the ballot include designated hitter Victor Martinez, catcher James McCann, shortstop Jose Iglesias, third baseman Nicholas Castellanos and rookie center fielder JaCoby Jones.

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.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.