MLB All-Star voting is open until July 4, but the race to name a National League starter at second base remains inconclusive according to the voting numbers released on June 23. Even if the race isn't over yet, though, Brandon Phillps' 300,000-vote advantage would seem to suggest that the Cincinnati Reds' second baseman will be making his first start in the third All-Star game of his career.
Brandon Phillips: 2,597,742
Phillips' 2013 season has been mostly in line with his most productive seasons in Cincinnati — it's maybe even been a little bit below average based on his numbers from 2006 on — but this season, he's added a bit of home run pop to go with his .265 batting average and always-stellar defense at second base. Phillips has hit 11 home runs in 2013 and seems on pace to have his best homer season since hitting 30 in 2007. Other than that year, Phillips has never had more than 21 bombs in a season, and finished with an even 18 in each of the past three. By virtue of hitting in the Reds' cleanup spot behind on-base machines Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto (and an ever-rotating black hole in Dusty Baker's No. 2 spot), Phillips has 60 RBI so far this year.
Marco Scutaro: 2,272,484
It would seem unusual that a 12th-year utility infielder playing for his sixth major-league franchise would make his first All-Star team at the age of 37, but the story of Scutaro is indeed unusual. He got the biggest free-agent contract of his career last offseason when he signed a three-year, $20 million deal with San Francisco to be its full-time second baseman. He's delivered on the agreement so far, too, hitting .323/.378/.424 with 23 walks and a paltry 20 strikeouts.
Unless an emergency situation arises, this would be the first season of Scutaro's career in which he only played one position. An All-Star bid -- which would almost certainly come via National League manger Bruce Bochy, whose full-time gig is with Scutaro's Giants, assuming Phillips holds on to win the fan vote -- would mark another unusual late-career flourish in Scutaro's story.
Matt Carpenter: 2,251,248
Carpenter has made the most of his opportunity as the Cardinals' everyday second baseman, turning in nearly four wins above replacement already, which easily ranks best among National League second basemen. His .396 on-base percentage and .316 batting average, which includes 21 doubles, confirm that he's right there in the conversation with Phillips and Scutaro. In fact, those figures maybe even suggest he should be somewhere other than third when ordering those players. For someone who played five different positions in the field in 2012 and has played four already in 2013, his defense at second has been outstanding.