Kemp among Braves needing ASG voting boost

Kemp among Braves needing ASG voting boost

Matt Kemp doesn't yet have the votes he needs for a second career All-Star Game start, but he appears well within striking distance after a first look at the voting.

The Braves outfielder is in sixth place among National League outfielders with 284,420 votes in the first round of results released for the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot on Tuesday. In first place is leading vote-getter Bryce Harper of the Nationals with 900,079, and Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies ranks second among outfielders with 520,479.

Despite those totals, Kemp remains fewer than 60,000 votes away from a starting spot. Sitting between him and third place is the Cubs outfield: Jason Heyward (344,166 votes), Ben Zobrist (327,231 votes) and Kyle Schwarber (305,449 votes).

Kemp's numbers are impressive, as his batting average (.337), on-base percentage (.376), slugging percentage (.577), homers (eight), runs (23), and RBIs (27) top the Cubs outfielders ahead of him.

An All-Star berth this season would be the third of Kemp's career, and his first since 2012.

The 32-year-old said he's not overly concerned with how the voting process plays out.

"Whatever happens, happens," he said. "I'm just playing the game the way I need to play it, and trying to help my team win some games."

Kemp's numbers compare quite favorably to the trio of Cubs ahead of him, considering his batting average (.337), on-base percentage (.376), slugging percentage (.577), homers (8), runs (23), and RBIs (27) top any mark in the Cubs' outfield.

An All-Star berth this season would be the third of Kemp's career, and his first since 2012. Nonetheless, his focus remains on ensuring his hot start carries over to the entire season as a whole.

"It's a long season to go, man," Kemp said. "It's just the first two months of the season, we've got a lot more to go. Hopefully, we keep this thing going. I'm just trying to help my team get to the playoffs."

Also in the middle of a voting race is Freddie Freeman, who is currently third in a stacked group of first basemen with 359,055 votes, and Brandon Phillips, who is third among second basemen with 126,404 votes. Freeman has been sidelined since mid-May with a fractured wrist and is expected to be out until after the All-Star Break.

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.

Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.