Red’s SS Zack Cozart name NL starter for 2017 MLB All-Star Game

(WYMT) – Rounding out the NL infield will be Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart, who received 2,466,143 votes to finish ahead of 2016 NL Rookie of the Year Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers (2,380,026). Cozart, an All-Star for the first time in his seven-year career, becomes the third Reds shortstop to earn a fan election, joining Dave Concepcion (1975-77, 1981-82) and Hall of Famer Barry Larkin (1993, 1996-97, 1999-2000). The 31-year-old Cozart is batting .323 on the season with nine home runs, 33 RBI, 16 doubles and five triples.

Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, the game’s leading vote-getter, and New York Yankees rookie outfielder Aaron Judge, who led the American League in voting, will be among the starters in the 2017 Major League Baseball All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, to be played on Tuesday, July 11th at Marlins Park in Miami. The 2017 American League and National League All-Star starters were unveiled earlier this evening during the “2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Selection Show” on ESPN.

For the third consecutive season, the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot was conducted exclusively online. The AL All-Star Team has nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the NL All-Star Team has eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 23 for the NL and 22 for the AL – are determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by Major League Baseball.
Harper, who received 4,630,306 votes, became the first Nationals player ever to top the Majors in All-Star balloting, and he is the second player in franchise history (Expos/Nationals) to do so, joining Hall of Famer Gary Carter (1982). In addition, the 24-year-old Harper is the fourth-youngest player ever to lead the Majors in All-Star voting, behind fellow 24-year-olds Darryl Strawberry (1986) and Hall of Famers Johnny Bench (1972) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1994). Harper is also the first NL player to pace the Majors in balloting since Albert Pujols did so for the St. Louis Cardinals in his NL MVP season of 2009. This marks the third consecutive fan election for the five-time All-Star, and his fourth fan-elected start in five seasons. His four fan elections are the most in Nationals history (since 2005), and match Carter for the most in franchise history. The Las Vegas native entered play on Sunday batting .313 on the season with 18 home runs and 58 RBI.

Judge topped the AL with 4,488,702 en route to becoming the first AL rookie fan-elected starter since Hideki Matsui of the Yankees in 2003. Other Yankees rookies to receive starting roles at the Midsummer Classic include Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio in 1936 and Tom Tresh in 1962. The 25-year-old Judge leads the Majors with 27 home runs, while batting .325 with an AL-best 62 RBI and 70 runs scored. He is the youngest player to lead the AL in voting since the 24-year-old Griffey in 1994, and he is the first Yankee to pace the AL since Derek Jeter in 2009. Judge also becomes the first Yankees outfielder to receive a fan-elected starting assignment since Curtis Granderson in 2012.

Joining Judge in the AL outfield is Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and George Springer of the Houston Astros. Trout totaled 3,208,925 votes to earn his sixth consecutive All-Star selection and fifth straight fan-elected start. The reigning AL Most Valuable Player hit .337 with 16 home runs and 36 RBI before being placed on the disabled list on May 29th with a torn ligament in his thumb. With five fan elections, Trout now owns the second-most in Angels history, trailing only Hall of Famer Rod Carew (6). Springer, a first-time All-Star who received 2,207,329 votes, becomes just the second Astros outfielder to earn a fan election, joining Cesar Cedeño (1973). The 27-year-old Connecticut native is batting .285 on the season with 24 home runs and 52 RBI. His nine leadoff homers pace the Majors and are already the most in a single season in Astros history.

Harper will be joined in the NL outfield by Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies and Marcell Ozuna of the host Miami Marlins. Blackmon totaled 4,163,666 en route to his second All-Star selection (also 2014) and first fan-elected start. The 31-year-old Georgia native joins Dante Bichette (1996), Larry Walker (1997-99) and Carlos González (2013) as Rockies outfielders to earn starting assignments. Blackmon, who leads the NL with 104 hits on the season, is batting .311 with 17 home runs, 57 RBI and a Major League-best 10 triples. Ozuna received 1,756,663 votes to seize his first starting assignment and second All-Star selection overall (also 2016). The 26-year-old native of the Dominican Republic joins teammate Giancarlo Stanton (2015) as the only Marlins outfielders in history to earn starting roles. Ozuna, who is batting .312 on the season with 20 home runs and 55 RBI, is tied for third in the Majors with 30 multi-hit games.

At third base in the NL, Colorado’s Nolan Arenado came from behind in the final week to surpass reigning NL Most Valuable Player and 2016 starter Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs. Arenado drew 2,658,643 votes, while Bryant received 2,478,184. Arenado, now a three-time All-Star (also 2015-16), becomes the first third baseman in Rockies history to earn a fan election, and just the third infielder, joining first baseman Todd Helton (2001-03) and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2013-14). The duo of Arenado and Blackmon is just the second pair of Rockies players to earn starting assignments in the same season, joining Tulowitzki and the aforementioned González (2013). The 26-year-old Arenado is hitting .296 on the season with 15 home runs, 61 RBI and a Major League-high-tying 27 doubles.

On the AL side, three players claimed starting roles in the final days of voting as first baseman Justin Smoak of the Toronto Blue Jays, third baseman José Ramírez of the Cleveland Indians and designated hitter Corey Dickerson of the Tampa Bay Rays all jumped in front at their respective positions. Smoak, who garnered 2,566,181 votes, topped Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer (2,011,679) to earn his first career All-Star selection. The 30-year-old Smoak joins John Olerud (1993) and Carlos Delgado (2003) as Blue Jays first basemen to receive the starting nod from the fans at the Midsummer Classic. The eight-year veteran, who is hitting .300 on the season, has already posted a career-best 22 home runs on the season to go along with 52 RBI. Ramírez totaled 1,969,696 votes to finish ahead of Toronto’s Josh Donaldson (1,915,830) and previous leader Miguel Sanó of the Minnesota Twins (1,882,684). The 24-year-old Ramírez, who is an All-Star for the first time in his career, is the first Indians player to earn a fan-elected start on the left side of the infield, and the first Cleveland infielder overall since Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar in 2000. Ramírez, a native of the Dominican Republic, is batting .319 on the season with a career-best 13 home runs, four triples, and 38 RBI. Dickerson, who received 1,793,821 votes, finished ahead of Cleveland’s Edwin Encarnacion (1,718,884) and previous leader Nelson Cruz of the Seattle Mariners (1,649,342) to collect his first All-Star selection. Dickerson becomes the fourth Rays player ever to earn a fan election, joining designated hitter Jose Canseco (1999), outfielder Carl Crawford (2010) and teammate Evan Longoria (2009-10). The 28-year-old Dickerson leads the AL with 104 hits, matching Blackmon for the Major League lead, and is batting .325 on the season with 17 home runs and 40 RBI.

Astros teammates occupy the middle of the AL infield as second baseman Jose Altuve and shortstop Carlos Correa are given starting nods. Altuve, who received 3,880,372 votes, is an All-Star for the fifth time in his career (also 2012, 2014-16), while Correa makes his first trip to the Midsummer Classic. This marks the third consecutive fan-elected start for the Venezuelan-born Altuve, who trails only Hall of Famer and fellow second baseman Craig Biggio (4) for the most fan elections in Astros history. The 27-year-old Altuve, a two-time AL batting champion, is hitting .327 on the season with 11 home runs, 40 RBI and 16 stolen bases. The 22-year-old Correa, who was the 2015 AL Rookie of the Year, becomes the first shortstop in Astros history to earn a fan election. The Puerto Rico native is hitting .311 on the season with 17 home runs and 55 RBI. The last pair of teammates to start at second base and shortstop for the AL was Robinson Canó and Jeter of the Yankees in 2012. The Astros trio of Springer, Altuve and Correa marks the first time that three Astros received fan-elected starts in the same season. The club’s previous mark of two came in 1997, when Biggio was joined by 2017 Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Bagwell.

On the right side of the NL infield, Nationals teammates Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy will start at first and second base, respectively. Zimmerman totaled 2,103,142 votes to edge out 2016 starter Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs (2,061,078). This will be Zimmerman’s second trip to the Midsummer Classic (also 2009), and first via fan election. The 32-year-old is the first Nationals first baseman to earn a fan election, and the second in franchise history, joining Montreal’s Al Oliver (1983). Zimmerman is hitting .335 on the season with 19 home runs and 62 RBI. Murphy collected 3,925,418 votes en route to his third career All-Star selection (also 2014, 2016) and his first fan-elected starting assignment. The 32-year-old Murphy is the first Nationals second baseman to draw a fan-elected start, and the second in franchise history, joining Montreal’s Jose Vidro (2002). Murphy, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, is hitting .334 on the season with 14 home runs and 55 RBI. This marks the second consecutive year that teammates will start at first and second base for the NL following Rizzo and his Cubs teammate Ben Zobrist in 2016. For Washington, this is the first time in Nationals history (since 2005) that the club has three elected starters, and it is the third time in franchise history (also 1982-83 Expos – Hall of Famers Carter and Andre Dawson, along with 2017 Hall of Fame inductee Tim Raines).

Rounding out the NL infield will be Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart, who received 2,466,143 votes to finish ahead of 2016 NL Rookie of the Year Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers (2,380,026). Cozart, an All-Star for the first time in his seven-year career, becomes the third Reds shortstop to earn a fan election, joining Dave Concepcion (1975-77, 1981-82) and Hall of Famer Barry Larkin (1993, 1996-97, 1999-2000). The 31-year-old Cozart is batting .323 on the season with nine home runs, 33 RBI, 16 doubles and five triples.

Familiar faces will be behind the plate as Kansas City’s Salvador Perez and San Francisco’s Buster Posey will start for their respective leagues. Perez, who was MLB’s leading vote-getter a year ago, totaled 3,086,237 votes while collecting his fifth consecutive All-Star selection. Posey, also an All-Star for the fifth time (2012-13, 2015-16), garnered 3,368,263 votes. This marks the third straight fan election for both Perez and Posey, and it is the first time that both starting catchers are the same for three straight years since Hall of Famer Mike Piazza (NL) and 2017 Hall of Fame inductee Iván Rodríguez (AL) were elected to start behind the plate in eight straight All-Star Games from 1994-2001. Perez is batting .290 on the season with 16 home runs and 50 RBI, while Posey is hitting .340 with 10 home runs and 35 RBI.

After having 11 first-time fan-elected starters in 2016, the American League and National League have combined for 12 first-time fan-elected starters this year, marking the most since 1970, when all 16 starters received their first fan election in the first year that All-Star balloting was returned to the fans. In addition, a record-tying seven different teams are represented among the nine starting positions in the AL. The feat has been accomplished 11 times previously, including the last occurrence in 2014.

Following the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, fans can begin casting votes to select the final player for each League’s 32-man roster via the 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over the balloting period, which concludes on Thursday, July 6th at 4:00 p.m. ET. Now in its 16th season with over 680 million votes cast, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on MLB.com, Club sites and their mobile devices. The winners of the Final Vote will be announced live on MLB Network’s MLB Tonight on Thursday, July 6th at 6:00 p.m. ET.

This year’s final phase of All-Star Game voting again will have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans can vote exclusively at MLB.com and the 30 Club sites – online or via their mobile devices – with the 2017 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining this year’s recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

MLB All-Star Week includes the MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at Marlins Park (July 11th), Gatorade All-Star Workout Day featuring the T-Mobile Home Run Derby (July 10th), All-Star Sunday featuring the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game (July 9th), All-Star FanFest at the Miami Beach Convention Center (July 7th-11th), plus a lineup of additional events taking place around the city. The 88th Midsummer Classic 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 Spanish language 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 Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information about MLB All-Star Week, please visit AllStarGame.com and follow @AllStarGame on social media.

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