Close races abound in AL All-Star balloting

Judge challenging Trout; Castro, Altuve separated by 536 votes

Close races abound in AL All-Star balloting

The All-Stars are beginning to be aligned.

On Tuesday, fans were treated to the first Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot updates for the National League for the 88th All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, set for Marlins Park in Miami on July 11. And on Wednesday, the opening American League voting totals were revealed.

VOTE NOW for #ASGWorthy players

In an unfortunate twist of timing, the leading vote-getter, Angels all-everything center fielder Mike Trout, just went on the disabled list with a torn left thumb ligament. Trout has opted for surgery and the time frame for his return is beyond All-Star Week.

National League ballot update

But there are still plenty of AL luminaries aiming to represent their league in Miami, and the tabulation has begun. Here are the AL results:

CATCHER
1. Salvador Perez, Royals: 420,268 votes
2. Welington Castillo, Orioles: 339,902
3. Brian McCann, Astros: 296,187
4. Gary Sanchez, Yankees: 267,683
5. Yan Gomes, Indians: 240,688

Perez is the league's standard for defense behind the plate and he's also been the best hitter at his position in the league, with 11 home runs, 29 RBIs and an .787 OPS entering Wednesday's games. Castillo has a .317/.339/.467 slash line, and McCann is enjoying his new home in Houston with six homers and a .360 on-base percentage.

Last year's rookie sensation, the Yankees' Sanchez, missed a month due to a strained right biceps but has four homers in 95 at-bats and is getting hot with the weather. Gomes has four homers and is a solid presence behind the plate for Cleveland.

FIRST BASE
1. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: 326,952
2. Yonder Alonso, A's: 287,975
3. Carlos Santana, Indians: 270,816
4. Eric Hosmer, Royals: 225,989
5. Yuli Gurriel, Astros: 182,945

A .780 OPS with five homers and 22 RBIs isn't very Cabrera-like, but reputation goes a long way toward All-Star Game selection, and fans are clearly expecting Miggy to be Miggy again very soon. Alonso, meanwhile, is one of the true breakout stars of early 2017, with a 1.052 OPS, 14 homers and 31 RBIs.

Santana ranks tied for fifth among AL first basemen with 30 RBIs, Hosmer has posted a .299/.357/.438 slash line, and Gurriel has contributed to a formidable Astros attack with four homers in his first full Major League season.

SECOND BASE
1. Starlin Castro, Yankees: 516,268
2. Jose Altuve, Astros: 515,732
3. Jason Kipnis, Indians: 253,409
4. Robinson Cano, Mariners: 159,557
5. Jonathan Schoop, Orioles: 149,060

Yankees fans are turning up at the online polls in droves for Castro, who is hitting .322/.358/.477 with seven homers and 28 RBIs, building on a terrific 2016. Altuve is Altuve, with a .320/.383/.510 line, and Kipnis has come back from injury well, with six homers and 20 RBIs.

Cano is leading all AL second basemen with 10 homers and 34 RBIs and has an OPS of .877, while Schoop is as solid as ever with an OPS of .801 plus seven homers and 24 RBIs.

THIRD BASE
1. Manny Machado, Orioles: 369,069
2. Miguel Sano, Twins: 363,607
3. Jose Ramirez, Indians: 351,814
4. Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays: 221,350
5. Chase Headley, Yankees: 174,702

Machado hasn't gotten hot yet, but he does have 10 homers with 25 RBIs and the dynamic skillset that has voters believing he'll steam into July on a torrid streak. Sano, meanwhile, is becoming a star, with 12 homers, a .996 OPS and 39 RBIs, the most in the AL among those who play the hot corner.

Ramirez has an OPS of .860, Donaldson is a former AL Most Valuable Player Award winner who is just getting back on the field after missing more than a month with a lingering right calf strain, and Headley is getting lots of votes from Yankees fans who appreciate his presence in the lineup and at third base for a first-place club.

SHORTSTOP
1. Francisco Lindor, Indians: 602,238
2. Carlos Correa, Astros: 253,518
3. Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox: 252,379
4. Didi Gregorius, Yankees: 239,170
5. Jean Segura, Mariners: 169,487

Lindor finished second to his countryman Correa in AL Rookie of the Year Award voting two seasons ago, but he's well ahead of his fellow Puerto Rican star in this vote. Lindor leads AL shortstops with 11 homers and has a .276/.347/.531 slash line. Correa has rebounded from a slow start and is among the AL leaders at shortstop in batting average (.309) and leads in OPS (.895).

Bogaerts is batting .339 for the Red Sox, and Segura's batting average of .345 is tops in the AL among shortstops.

DESIGNATED HITTER
1. Nelson Cruz, Mariners: 457,050
2. Edwin Encarnacion, Indians: 282,837
3. Matt Holliday, Yankees: 276,855
4. Corey Dickerson, Rays: 216,350
5. Albert Pujols, Angels: 154,626

Cruz just keeps getting it done, with a .279/.364/.525 line, 12 homers and a position-best 42 RBIs, which has him comfortably ahead, at least for now, of second-place Encarnacion, who hasn't quite gotten it going as compared to years past.

Holliday is doing just fine for the Yankees, with 11 homers and 32 RBIs, and Dickerson has been brilliant for Tampa Bay, with a 1.006 OPS, 12 homers and 25 RBIs. Pujols sits one career homer from the magical 600 mark.

OUTFIELD
1. Mike Trout, Angels: 776,937
2. Aaron Judge, Yankees: 730,438
3. Mookie Betts, Red Sox: 337,473
4. Michael Brantley, Indians: 333,703
5. Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox: 327,047
6. Avisail Garcia, White Sox: 303,603
7. Adam Jones, Orioles: 236,481
8. Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians: 229,856
9. Abraham Almonte, Indians: 202,999
10. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: 195,199
11. Brett Gardner, Yankees: 192,288
12. Jacoby Ellsbury, Yankees: 179,600
13. Carlos Beltran, Astros: 175,700
14. George Springer, Astros: 162,087
15. Kevin Pillar, Blue Jays: 160,484

It's amazing to consider that prior to his injury, Trout was having the best year of his career, with a 1.203 OPS, 16 homers and 36 RBIs plus 10 stolen bases. Judge has been a phenom in the Bronx, with 17 homers, many of which have been tape-measure moonshots, but also a 1.112 OPS. And Betts has been his stellar self, with nine homers, 32 RBIs and an .849 OPS.

Brantley has rebounded from the injuries that derailed his 2016 season and is batting .307 while driving in 22 runs. And Benintendi, who's among the top candidates for the AL Rookie of the Year Award, has 27 RBIs and seven stolen bases while batting .272.

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.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.