Fans rewarding Bay's play with votes
Former NL All-Star could be starter in first full AL season
If there was ever any doubt that Red Sox left fielder Jason Bay is one of the biggest attractions in the American League, the fans have eliminated that notion.
Bay is not only playing like an All-Star, he's getting votes like one.
The second 2009 AL balloting update for Major League Baseball's All-Star Game, to be held July 14 in St. Louis, was released Tuesday, and for the second consecutive week, Bay (729,590) received the most votes among AL outfielders.
His popularity is rivaled only by his performance on the field.
Entering Tuesday, Bay is hitting .288 and has 15 home runs and 49 RBIs in 50 games for Boston. Bay ranks ahead of Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton (685,463) and Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki in votes once again.
Bay tops a list of some of the most talented players in the game. The Rays' Carl Crawford (439,870) and the Mariners' Ken Griffey Jr. (452,849) round out the list of top five vote-getters for outfielders in the AL. The Orioles' Nick Markakis dropped out of the top five while Angels star Torii Hunter (422,220) made the jump from the 10th to the sixth spot among vote-getters.
The voters have been consistent. Including Bay, every AL position player that led in the ballot last week also led this week.
The popularity of Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (1,017,560) remains unrivaled. The Yankees' captain is -- as usual -- living up to his title, hitting .311 with 10 stolen bases and 25 RBIs. The race for second-place among AL shortstops this week starts with the Rays' Jason Bartlett (435,456), Rangers rookie Elvis Andrus (393,906), the Blue Jays' Marco Scutaro (349,922), and Baltimore's Cesar Izturis (178,701).
At second base, Rangers slugger Ian Kinsler (787,619) leads former Arizona State teammate and Red Sox star Dustin Pedroia (641,281), the Yankees' Robinson Cano (413,605), Toronto's Aaron Hill (388,457) and Detroit's Placido Polanco (277,033).
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until July 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Starting rosters will be announced during the 2009 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on July 5. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote at MLB.com.
And the voting doesn't end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet at the Midsummer Classic via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote at MLB.com.
The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.
A snapshot of the other AL leaders:
The AL East is well represented at third base. Tampa Bay's Evan Longora (1,036,071), leads all AL vote-getters, followed by Rangers' team leader Michael Young (441,912) and Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez (428,690). Boston's Mike Lowell and Toronto's Scott Rolen complete the list of the top five.
At first base, Boston's Kevin Youkilis (600,175) remains on top, but the Yankees' Mark Teixeira (506,339), who hit .330 last month after a slow start in New York, jumped past Detroit's Miguel Cabrera (444,492) this week for the second spot. Behind Teixeira is Minnesota's Justin Morneau (483,226), Cabrera and Texas rookie Chris Davis (320,912).
Joe Mauer (769,320), the Minnesota Twins catcher, is again leading on the field and in the ballot box. In 28 games, Mauer is hitting .414 with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs. In his first full season behind the plate, Rangers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (401,375) ranks behind Mauer and Boston captain Jason Varitek (406,788). Cleveland's Victor Martinez (396,708) and New York's Jorge Posada (393,431) rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in this impressive list of AL backstops.
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.