Thames' hot start nets him early ballot support

Brewers first baseman ranked 5th in first All-Star vote update; Braun lands at 12th among OFs

Thames' hot start nets him early ballot support

NEW YORK -- Among the biggest surprises in baseball during the first two months of the season, Eric Thames has accomplished another feat.

The Brewers' first baseman can now say he is a potential All-Star. Thames received the fifth-most votes -- 170,244 -- for National League first basemen, according to the first round of balloting, which was released earlier Tuesday.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Thames and other #ASGWorthy players

Despite Thames' recent cooling off period, he is hitting .273 with 13 home runs, and 26 RBIs with 30 walks.

The latest ballot results are just another pleasant surprise for Thames on his journey from dominant Korean-league player to MLB force.

"There's studs in this week if you look at first base," Thames said before Tuesday's game against the Mets. "Especially with the cold streak I've had the last few weeks. I'm really excited to keep working and keep getting better and get hot again and see where it ends up."

It could end up with a trip to Miami.

"I know the fans are excited," Thames said. "Hopefully they keep clicking away."

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 10:59 p.m. CT. 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.

Outfielder Ryan Braun, currently on the 10-day disabled list with a calf issue, ranks 12th among outfielders with 143,587 votes. He and Thames are the only Brewers making the top five at each infield position, or top 15 in the outfield.

Yet, the Brewers find themselves leading the NL Central the day after Memorial Day. Manager Craig Counsell says it's because of the team's collective approach.

"This is an advantage of youth, I think," Counsell said. "Show up, have fun being together, compete, enjoy the game, try to get better at your skill set, and that's kind of the focus every day. The other stuff is kind of high-in-the-sky stuff that's not really on our radar."

Chris Bumbaca is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.