The Reds have had to endure injuries to All-Star caliber players such as Joey Votto and Jay Bruce this season, but while those staples in the Cincinnati lineup haven't had a full opportunity to build their case for a trip to the Midsummer Classic, another pillar of the team is looking for his fourth All-Star selection.
In the first National League All-Star balloting update released Wednesday, Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips was third among the league's second basemen with 187,067 votes. He trailed Philadelphia's Chase Utley (509,390) and Los Angeles' Dee Gordon (304,258).
Phillips is batting .276 with 14 doubles, three home runs and 16 RBIs, and has displayed his usual sensational defense this season, tied for first among NL second basemen with a .995 fielding percentage and leading all second basemen in the Majors with a 4.3 ultimate zone rating -- an advanced metric used to measure the number of runs a player saves with his defense.
Phillips has become a familiar name in All-Star balloting over the years, but a new name that could become familiar in the years to come appears among the top five catchers receiving votes.
Devin Mesoraco is fifth among NL backstops with 154,489 votes. He trails the fourth-place vote-getter, the Brewers' Jonathan Lucroy, by 82,446. Only 4,070 votes separate Lucroy and third-place Evan Gattis of the Braves (241,005). The Cardinals' Yadier Molina leads the pack with 640,464 votes, followed by the Giants' Buster Posey, who has 421,100 votes.
The 25-year-old Mesoraco has provided a big lift to the Reds offense to start the season, hitting .361 with eight doubles, six home runs and 20 RBIs despite missing 16 games due to a strained hamstring. He has posted a .407 on-base percentage and has slugged .675, making a strong case for selection to his first All-Star team.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15.
Fans may submit up to 25 online ballots, but they 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, register on the site in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.
The 2014 All-Star teams will be unveiled on the 2014 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show during the weekend of July 5-6, with further details to follow on MLB.com. The AL will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the NL will have eight fan-elected starters. Pitchers and reserves for both squads -- totaling 25 for the NL and 24 for the AL -- will be determined through a combination of "Player Ballot" choices and selections made by All-Star managers Mike Matheny (NL) and John Farrell (AL).
Immediately following the announcement of the rosters, you can select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Choose again at that point from among five players in each league. The Final Vote returns for its 13th season with more than 430 million votes cast to date, and you'll be able to make selections on MLB.com, club sites and your mobile device.
You'll be on a voting tear at that point, having already selected starters and the last men, and the ritual will not end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the big game, vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi. The fan voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, 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 will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.