Ballot deliberations give Judge, Castro leads

Rookie in line as starting outfielder; second baseman holds position by 536 votes

Ballot deliberations give Judge, Castro leads

BALTIMORE -- Aaron Judge and Starlin Castro are in position to represent the Yankees as All-Stars this summer, with the duo enjoying strong showings at their respective positions after the first checkpoint of American League voting in the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot on Wednesday.

Judge's 730,438 votes rank second only to the Angels' Mike Trout (776,937) among all AL players, while Castro (516,268) leads Jose Altuve of the Astros (515,732) by a mere 536 votes in the AL's closest race. The 2017 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard is scheduled to be played on July 11 at Marlins Park in Miami.

"I'm living the dream," Judge said. "I'm getting paid to play a kids' game, a game I've played since I was a little kid playing T-ball. I'm getting here with the New York Yankees, we're in first place, and I enjoy every day I come to the ballpark."

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Judge, Castro and other #ASGWorthy players

A three-time All-Star at shortstop in the National League, Castro is trying to earn his first AL selection at his new position. His 64 hits entering play on Wednesday are tied for second in the AL, and his .322 batting average ranks seventh in the league. 

"I think it's a real honor," Castro said. "There's still a lot of games left before the All-Star Game comes, but I feel really happy that the fans support us. It's really emotional right now. Hopefully we keep playing like we're playing and the fans keep voting for us."

Judge enters play on Wednesday leading the Majors with 17 home runs, while pacing the AL with 39 runs scored. He has amassed nearly twice as many votes as third-place outfielder Mookie Betts (337,473), and is on pace to join Joe DiMaggio (1936) and Hideki Matsui (2003) as the only Yankees rookies to start a Midsummer Classic.

"This is just outside noise. I've got a job to do on the field," Judge said. "It's a great accomplishment, but like I said before, I've got a job to do on the field. That's where 100 percent of my focus is."

Other Yankees with notable showings at the first balloting checkpoint are Matt Holliday (276,855, third among AL designated hitters), Gary Sanchez (267,683, fourth among AL catchers), Didi Gregorius (239,170, fourth among AL shortstops), Chase Headley (174,702, fifth among AL third basemen), Brett Gardner (192,288, 11th among AL outfielders) and Jacoby Ellsbury (179,600, 12th among AL outfielders).

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.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.