All season long, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips have paced the Reds and been two of the most exciting players in baseball. It's not surprising, then, that the heart of the Cincinnati order and the right side of the club's infield lead the way at their respective positions in the first National League All-Star balloting update, released Tuesday.
Votto, who ranked fourth in the NL with a .330 batting average to go with his 10 homers and 28 RBIs, is the leading vote-getter at first base by a wide margin. His 1,044,742 votes have nearly doubled that of second-place Brandon Belt (513,371). The race at second base is closer but still belongs to Phillips, who has 1,019,240 votes, about 2,000 more than the Giants' Marco Scutaro.
It took the NL Final Vote in 2010 and the players' vote in 2011 for Votto to reach his first two All-Star Games, but he was selected by the fans as a starter for last season's Midsummer Classic. After the first update, it appears the left-handed slugger is on his way to doing so again.
For Phillips, his current lead in the voting at second base marks the beginning of his efforts to make up for what was seen by many as an All-Star snub last season. Phillips has two All-Star appearances under his belt in 2010-11, and his third is well within reach as he ranked in the top three among all NL second basemen in batting average (.296), home runs (nine) and RBIs (45). The fans have obviously taken notice.
Fans may submit 25 online ballots during the voting period, but can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, visit MLB.com and register in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.
As Votto tries to become the first Reds player to earn back-to-back fan-elected starts since Barry Larkin in 1999-2000, and Phillips looks to be the first Cincinnati second baseman to be voted in by the fans since Joe Morgan did it seven times (1972-78), two of their teammates are in the mix to earn their first All-Star appearances.
Center fielder Shin-Soo Choo ranks fifth among NL outfielders with 743,755 votes, putting him within striking distance of division rivals Carlos Beltran of the Cardinals (847,924) and the Brewers' Ryan Braun (945,665). Choo led all NL outfielders with a .438 on-base percentage, and his 42 runs scored trailed only Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies, heading into Tuesday's action.
At third base, it will be significantly tougher for Todd Frazier, whose 343,201 votes put him in fifth place, while the Giants' Pablo Sandoval leads the way with 1,094,475 votes. Frazier had a slow start to the season, but he's come on as of late, batting .340 with seven RBIs since May 18.
Right fielder Jay Bruce, who's gone to the last two All-Star Games, ranks 15th as of the first ballot update, with 374,852 votes. That could change, though, as Bruce continues to heat up, hitting nine homers and driving in 22 runs since May 8.
The 2013 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 7, on the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com on MLB.com.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
Fans can also once again participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The 2013 Home Run Derby -- part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day -- will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 15.
The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.