Latest All-Star tally in Mets' favor
Four players on pace to start after Reyes passes Eckstein
New York's impressive rise to the top of the National League East standings has provided some Met momentum at the ballot box for next month's All-Star Game.
According to the latest National League vote totals released Monday by Major League Baseball, Jose Reyes has passed the Cardinals' David Eckstein for the lead in the shortstop voting, giving the Mets four players on pace to start the 77th Midsummer Classic with only 10 days remaining in the elections.
Reyes joins teammates David Wright (third base), Paul Lo Duca (catcher) and Carlos Beltran (outfield) as leaders at their respective positions.
Also moving into position to start were Pittsburgh outfielder Jason Bay and Washington outfielder Alfonso Soriano. Beltran moved into the top spot while Soriano and Bay took over second and third place, respectively.
The Braves' Andruw Jones, who was leading the outfield balloting until the latest count, and Ken Griffey Jr., who was in second place ahead of Beltran last week, are within approximately 55,000 votes of Bay.
Albert Pujols of St. Louis still leads the race at first base by more than one million votes over Carlos Delgado of the Mets. The other position race remained unchanged, with Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley leading Houston's Craig Biggio by more than 150,000 votes.
With Pujols on the disabled list, there is a chance the Cardinals slugger might miss the All-Star Game, which could possibly open the door for Delgado to join the starting lineup as the fifth New York representative, assuming the other Mets maintain their leads.
The Mets have had five All-Star representatives twice previously, in 1986 and 1987, but only once has the franchise had four All-Star Game starters in the same game: Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry and Gary Carter back in '86.
Of course, there's also the possibility of a Met starter on the mound. Lefty Tom Glavine, who is tied with Detroit's Kenny Rogers for the Major League lead in victories (10), as well as right-hander Pedro Martinez, who is tied with Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs for the NL lead in strikeouts, are both among the pitchers under consideration to start the game by NL manager Phil Garner.
Before any of these scenarios can play out, the balloting still has a few more days to run, and the races at several positions are too close to call.
Reyes leads Eckstein by roughly 80,000 votes, with Edgar Renteria of the Braves, Jack Wilson of the Pirates and Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies all within striking distance.
Wright, whose .336 batting average ranks 10th-best in the Major Leagues, quadrupled his lead over Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen from approximately 50,000 votes to around 200,000. Rolen, who is hitting .341, has been elected by the fans to start the last four All-Star Games at third base, but he did not start last year's game at Detroit due to injury.
Beltran leads Soriano by less than 50,000 votes, and Soriano's margin over Bay is razor thin: less than 15,000 votes.
Bay, who moved past nine other outfielders into ninth place two weeks ago, and then climbed all the way to sixth last week, jumped to third during the last seven days and leads Griffey by less than 40,000 votes. Atlanta's Jones is roughly 16,000 votes behind Griffey.
Lo Duca leads former Met and current San Diego Padre Mike Piazza by more than 275,000 votes. Piazza is followed by Yadier Molina of the Cardinals, Brad Ausmus of the Astros and Michael Barrett of the Cubs.
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, to be played July 11 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, will be released 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 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 the 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.
Jim Molony is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.