Votebook: Diverse choices at second
Savvy vets, fast-charging youngsters among keystone options
Under "second basemen" on the All-Star ballot, you'll find the usual list of accomplished veterans who are no strangers to the Midsummer Classic.
But you'll also find several rookies, inexperienced and perhaps unpolished, who are nonetheless quickly making a name for themselves.
In the National League, the first name on the ballot is J. Barfield -- that's San Diego's Josh, son of former Major Leaguer Jesse -- who is hitting .268 with three homers and 13 RBIs.
The Florida Marlins may be in rebuilding mode, but they have a gem in rookie Dan Uggla, who's sporting a .315 average.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the old favorites, the handful of players who are continually among the top vote-getters year after year. Houston's Craig Biggio is at the top of that list -- the four-time All-Star is off to another impressive start, hitting .295 with 19 doubles.
The Dodgers' Jeff Kent, who has made five trips to the All-Star Game, could increase his streak to three years in a row if he's voted in by the fans in '06. Kent is only hitting .258, but his 32 RBIs lead all NL second basemen.
Several NL second basemen fall somewhere in between rookies and grizzled veterans and are simply having legitimate All-Star seasons. Washington's Jose Vidro (.347), Philadelphia's Chase Utley (.328, nine homers, 30 RBIs) and Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks (.301) are all off to solid starts. And if you're looking for a write-in candidate, try the Reds' Brandon Phillips, who's hitting .312 with 31 RBIs.
In the American League, Kansas City second baseman Mark Grudzielanek leads all players at his position with a .327 average, through Tuesday. Minnesota's Luis Castillo is next with a .314 mark, followed by Tadahito Iguchi of the White Sox (.307).
Seattle's Jose Lopez (seven homers, 38 RBIs), Boston's Mark Loretta (.303 average), Detroit's Placido Polanco (.299) and the Yankees' Robinson Cano (.299) are also worthy recipients of a vote.
Fans can cast votes up to 25 times with the Monster.com 2006 All-Star Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites. Online balloting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on June 29.
Rosters for the 77th All-Star Game will be unveiled at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 2. The announcement will reveal the 16 elected starters, as determined by fan balloting, and 45 pitchers and reserves, as determined by the player ballot, the two All-Star team managers -- Ozzie Guillen of the World Series champion Chicago White Sox and Phil Garner of the NL champion Houston Astros -- and Major League Baseball.
Fans will once again have the opportunity to select the final position player for each league's 32-man roster at MLB.com. The Final Vote will provide fans the opportunity to cast their votes from a list of five players from each league over a three-day period. Fans added Roy Oswalt (NL) and Scott Podsednik (AL) to the rosters with that Final Vote last summer.
For the fourth consecutive year, the league that wins the All-Star Game will receive home-field advantage during the World Series. The AL has won back-to-back-to-back Midsummer Classics since that provision was added prior to the 2003 World Series, and eight straight overall.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.