Three Braves in line to start All-Star Game af­ter vote up­date

At­lanta’s Free­man, Al­bies, Markakis among top vote-get­ters at po­si­tion

Calhoun Times - - SPORTS WEDNESDAY -

any other NL player. The Na­tion­als’ Bryce Harper (498, 189) is the only NL out­fielder who has drawn more votes than Markakis (494,206). Al­bies is also cur­rently po­si­tioned to start, as he has drawn more votes (398,816) than any other sec­ond base­man from the Se­nior Cir­cuit.

The Braves are also well rep­re­sented at each of the other po­si­tions through the early stages of the bal­lot­ing process. Kurt Suzuki is within 60,000 votes of Gi­ants catcher Buster Posey’s lead­ing to­tal among NL back­stops. Ron­ald Acuna Jr. and En­der In­cia­rte rank fifth and sixth, re­spec­tively, among out­field­ers. Dansby Swan­son ranks sec­ond among short­stops, and Jo­han Ca­margo has gar­nered the third­most votes among third base­men.

Fans may cast votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -on com­put­ers, tablets and smart­phones -ex­clu­sively on­line us­ing the 2018 Camp­ing World MLB All-Star Bal­lot un­til Thurs­day, July 5, at 11:59 p.m. ET. On smart­phones and tablets, fans can also ac­cess the bal­lot via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ball­park mo­bile apps. Each fan can vote up to five times in any 24-hour pe­riod, for a max­i­mum of 35 bal­lots cast.

As Free­man ar­guably stands as the early fa­vorite to be win the NL Most Valu­able Player Award, it seems fit­ting that he has re­ceived more than 100,000 votes more than any other NL player. His to­tal puts him com­fort­ably ahead of Rock­ies third base­man Nolan Are­nado, who has gar­nered the sec­ond­high­est to­tal (527,683).

Free­man’s lead among NL first base­men is nearly 400,000 votes. The Cubs’ An­thony Rizzo ranks sec­ond with 248,275 votes.

Free­man gained Al­lS­tar se­lec­tions in 2013 and ‘14, but he has never been elected to serve as a starter. The 28-year-old first base­man en­tered Mon­day with the NL’s best bat­ting av­er­age (.340) and slug­ging per­cent­age (.568). His .430 on-base per­cent­age ranked sec­ond, just be­hind Joey Votto’s .433. He also led the NL in of­fen­sive WAR (3.0), Weighted Runs Created Plus (167) and OPS (.998).

Markakis’ vote to­tal puts him less than 4,000 votes be­hind Harper. Dodgers out­fielder Matt Kemp, a for­mer Brave, has gar­nered 351,780 votes, which puts him in po­si­tion to gain the third start­ing NL out­field spot.

Along with hav­ing matched Free­man’s NL-lead­ing hits to­tal (85), Markakis ranked first among NL out­field­ers with a .388 on-base per­cent­age. He ranked sec­ond with a .327 bat­ting av­er­age and fourth with a .492 slug­ging per­cent­age. The 34-year-old vet­eran also ranked sec­ond in this group with 139 wRC+. His .881 OPS ranked third.

Al­bies is ahead of the Cubs’ Javier Baez (360,307) and the Reds’ Scooter Gen­nett (309,512). The 21-year-old Al­bies has re­cently slumped, but he still leads the NL with 52 runs scored. His 19 dou­bles have him tied for the league lead with Free­man, Markakis and the Padres’ Eric Hos­mer.

Fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment of this year’s All-Star starters, re­serves and pitch­ers, fans should re­turn to MLB.com and cast their 2018 Camp­ing World MLB All-Star Fi­nal Vote for the fi­nal player on each league’s ros­ter. Then on Tues­day, July 17, while watch­ing the 2018 Al­lS­tar Game pre­sented by Mastercard live on FOX, fans may visit MLB.com to sub­mit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valu­able Player Award pre­sented by Chevro­let with the 2018 MLB Al­lS­tar Game MVP Vote.

The 89th Mid­sum­mer Clas­sic, at Na­tion­als Park in Washington, D.C., will be tele­vised na­tion­ally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sport­snet and RDS; and world­wide by part­ners in more than 180 coun­tries. FOX De­portes will pro­vide Span­ish­language cov­er­age in the United States, while ESPN Ra­dio and ESPN Ra­dio De­portes will pro­vide ex­clu­sive na­tional ra­dio cov­er­age of the All-Star Game. MLB Net­work, MLB.com and Sir­iusXM also will pro­vide com­pre­hen­sive All-Star Week cov­er­age.

MARK J. TERRILL / The As­so­ci­ated Press

At­lanta’s Fred­die Free­man (right) gets a high five from team­mate Dansby Swan­son dur­ing Satur­day’s game against the Los An­ge­les Dodgers af­ter they both scored on a Tyler Flow­ers’ dou­ble in the third in­ning.

OR­LANDO RAMIREZ / The As­so­ci­ated Press

At­lanta’s Nick Markakis is look­ing for his first-ca­reer All-Star Game ap­pear­ance af­ter 13 years in the MLB.

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