Missing a month of the season has finally caught up with Bryce Harper in all-star voting. In the last voting tallies released before the final selections, Harper dropped to fourth among National League outfielders. Carlos Beltran of the St. Louis Cardinals leads all by a wide margin with over five million fan votes. Surging Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies is second with 2.93 million votes and slumping Justin Upton of the Atlanta Braves is third with 2.92 million votes.
Harper trails Upton by about 15,000 votes and is ahead of Matt Holliday of the St. Louis Cardinals by over 200,000 votes. Harper returned to the field on Monday after missing 31 games, but even as he rehabbed his injured left knee he still maintained a firm hold of third place. Online fan voting ends on Thursday night at the final selections are announced on Fox at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The top outfield vote-getters will be the starters for the NL in the All-Star Game held at Citi Field in New York on July 16. Even if Harper isn’t among the starters, he is a likely bet to make the team as a reserve.
Ryan Zimmerman, fifth among NL third basemen, was the only other Nationals player to place in the voting results. Ian Desmond, who is second among NL shortstops with 15 home runs and is second among qualifiers with a .822 OPS, didn’t even place among the top five for his position. Desmond has a strong case to be added for the second straight season as a manager’s selection. And with injuries to Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki and San Diego’s Everth Cabrera, his odds seem higher. Players with weaker overall resumes, such as St. Louis’ Pete Kozma and Atlanta’s Andrelton Simmons, rank fourth and fifth respectively in the voting results.
Players can also be added by the all-star manager’s choice or selected by fans in the 34th man final vote, named on July 11. San Francisco Manager Bruce Bochy is the NL’s all-star game manager, with Nationals Manager Davey Johnson serving on his staff.
Fans vote on the starting player for each position. Pitchers — five starters and three relievers — and the backups for each position are chosen players, managers and coaches votes. Jordan Zimmermann is a leading candidate to land one of those spots, as he is seventh in the NL with 2.46 ERA and tied for the major league lead with 12 wins. Closer Rafael Soriano has an outside shot to be selected as reliever with his 21 saves in 24 chances, tied for third most in the NL and his 2.38 ERA.