J. Upton setting outfield pace in NL All-Star votes

J. Upton setting outfield pace in NL All-Star votes

ATLANTA -- Justin Upton has played a key role in helping the Braves gain a comfortable lead in the National League East race. His production has also put him in position to experience his first start in an All-Star Game.

When Major League Baseball released early results of this year's NL All-Star balloting on Tuesday, Upton led all outfielders with 1,184,249 votes. Giants catcher Buster Posey is the only NL player who has garnered more votes (1,275,956).

Upton has received approximately 2,000 more votes than the Nationals' Bryce Harper, who ranks second among NL outfielders. Both have tallied 50,000 more votes than the Brewers' Ryan Braun, who is currently positioned to fill the third and final starting spot in the NL outfield.

Third baseman Chris Johnson is the only other Braves player who currently ranks among the top three vote-getters at his position. The 386,811 votes Johnson has garnered puts him behind the Mets' David Wright and the Giants' Pablo Sandoval, who leads hot cornermen with 1,094,475 votes.

Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via a mobile device -- using the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, July 4, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Fans may submit 25 online ballots during the voting period but can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, fans must be logged into an MLB.com account when submitting any online ballot. To obtain a free MLB.com account, visit www.mlb.com and register in accordance with the enrollment instructions.

Fans can also once again participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league whom they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The 2013 Home Run Derby -- part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day -- will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 15.

The 2013 American League and NL All-Star teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 7, on the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com on MLB.com.

And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again 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 will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.

The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Catcher Brian McCann, who earned six consecutive All-Star selections from 2006-11, and second baseman Dan Uggla, who was voted to start last year's Midsummer Classic, both rank fifth at their respective position. McCann has certainly looked like an All-Star, hitting seven home runs in the first 22 games he has played since coming back from offseason shoulder surgery.

Freddie Freeman has also compiled credentials that could put him in position to gain his first All-Star selection. But Freeman currently ranks fifth among NL first basemen. Andrelton Simmons, widely regarded as the game's top defensive shortstop, ranks fourth at his position.

Jason Heyward does currently not rank among the top 15 NL outfielders, while B.J. Upton sits in the 13th spot.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.