All-Star Game Voting Now Open, Tougher Competition than Usual

Every new season brings with it excitement, surprises, and some difficulty when filling out All-Star Game ballots. However, the first month of the 2017 season has been more exciting and surprising than in most previous years. This, in turn, might make for some close voting results.

On Monday, May 1, Major League Baseball announced the commencement of its 2017 All-Star Game voting. Fans are able to vote up to five times per day until a maximum of thirty-five ballots have been filled out. Polls will close on June 29.

You can bet a sizable portion of those ballots will have Bryce Harper penciled in as a starting outfielder. The Nationals star has been red-hot in his first twenty-five games this season, batting .391 with nine homers and twenty-six RBIs. Harper is well on his way to a bounce-back year, and is definitely playing like an MVP once again.

It's safe to say that the MLB's outfield crop is and has been pretty strong, but it just keeps getting better. Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge already has ten home runs in his first full season in the league, and he's only played in twenty-three games. Milwaukee Brewers' Eric Thames recently returned back to the U.S. after playing three seasons for the NC Dinos in the Korean Baseball Organization. Thames is doing everything he can to not waste his second chance at playing in the MLB, and crushing eleven homers in the first month of the season is a pretty good place to start.

Then, of course, there's Mike Trout. The Angels center fielder is maintaining a .364 batting average with seven bombs so far this season. No surprise there. Never a surprise there.

Another Washington National may be on his way down to Marlins Park for the All-Star Game, as well. Ryan Zimmerman is batting .420 (yes, you read that right) with an MLB leading eleven home runs (tied), and twenty-nine RBIs for good measure.

The National League could see close voting results at second base. Brandon Phillips, Daniel Murphy, and (surprisingly) the Phillies' young middle infielder Cesar Hernandez are all having great starts to the season. At shortstop, the D-Backs' Chris Owings and Dodgers' Cory Seager are both off to hot starts and will probably battle each other for the job. And, as always, Kris Bryant and Nolan Arenado will clash, while fans get to sit back and vote for who they think deserves to start the All-Star Game at the hot corner.

In the AL, the strongest, most intense competition will stem from middle infielders. Xander Bogaerts, Francisco Lindor, Elvis Andrus, Carlos Correa, and Jean Segura are all strong candidates for a 2017 All-Star shortstop. On the other side of the bag, Robinson Cano, Jose Altuve, Starlin Castro, and Jonathan Schoop could all make runs at second base.

There are many All-Stars from years past that are off to sluggish starts in 2017. However, many young stars and average players who are starting to figure things out are finding their way onto what is shaping up to be an extremely competitive All-Star Game ballot. The rosters for the 2017 All-Star Game around now in the hands of baseball fans around the world.

(Follow @ECSportsBiz on Twitter! More social media sites coming soon.)