Votebook: Lee seeking another rally
Pujols leading Cubs slugger; Tino facing Millar challenge in AL
If at first, more than one succeed, then vote, vote again.
That seems like a good proverb as balloting continues to heat up a little over a month before the 76th All-Star Game, which descends on Comerica Park in Detroit on Tuesday, July 12.
There's a bit of a conundrum brewing in the National League, where perennial powerhouse Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals has received more votes than any other player in the entire NL. Pujols, who's off to his usual stellar start with a .330 batting average, 14 home runs and 47 RBIs through Thursday, had 570,004 votes according to the most recent vote totals released Wednesday by Major League Baseball.
And while Pujols is deserving of his now-annual All-Star nod, it's pretty tough to say he's the best first baseman in his league this year.
That's because Derrek Lee of the Chicago Cubs has simply been the best offensive player in baseball.
Lee, the Chicago Cubs first baseman, finished Thursday's games with a solid chance at Triple Crown immortality.
He's leading the Majors with a .378 batting average, he's leading the NL with 17 homers, and he's second in the NL with 53 RBIs.
But somehow, he's got less than half of Pujols' All-Star votes as of Wednesday's tally.
Don't pity D. Lee, though. Nick Johnson of the Washington Nationals is having an incredible year -- he's second in the NL in batting with a .341 average and has eight homers and 38 RBIs plus a .454 on-base percentage -- and hasn't even cracked the top five.
Other NL first baseman with a shot are Florida's Carlos Delgado (.322, 12 homers, 42 RBIs) and Sean Casey of the Cincinnati Reds (.322, three homers, 28 RBIs).
In the AL, it might not be so confusing.
Tino Martinez's ridiculously hot May has the Yankees veteran leading the voting with 347,501 tallies, but Kevin Millar of the Red Sox has a hot bat of late and is on Martinez's heels in second place with 248,921 votes as of Wednesday.
But as far as pure stats go, no first baseman in the AL is close to Texas slugger Mark Teixeira right now, and Teixeira is fourth in the voting.
"Tex" entered Friday's play with a .304 batting average, 16 homers, 48 RBIs and a .579 slugging percentage. Given the fact that he's been a second-half player in his first two seasons in the big leagues, these early numbers might lay the foundation to one historic season.
Other AL first basemen of note at this stage in the season are Mike Sweeney of the Kansas City Royals (.298, nine homers, 37 RBIs), Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox (15 homers, 40 RBIs) and Seattle's Richie Sexson (13 homers, 47 RBIs).
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.