On July 16, baseball's best will face off in the All-Star Game, which is being played at the Mets home park of Citi Field in New York. The voting will end on July 4, and until then fans can cast votes for their favorite players to appear in the game. Over in the American League, at shortstop, Derek Jeter's season-long injury has created an opening at the position for the first time in a while, leaving J.J. Hardy and Jhonny Peralta fighting for votes.
J.J. Hardy, 3,509,180
The Orioles have established themselves as a team that can hang with the rest of the impressive American League East, and along with that success has come a wave of fan support for their top players. Hardy, along with Chris Davis, both stand to start at their respective positions for the American League in the 2013 All-Star Game as part of this surprising movement. Hardy has hit .267 with 15 home runs, and has been a solid glove up-the-middle for the Orioles -- with shortstop a tough position to find hitters in, as usual, that's enough to stand out.
Jhonny Peralta, 2,505,348
The power-hitting Tigers shortstop has been on again, off again with his offense through much of his career, and while that switch is flipped to on in 2013, it seems not enough people have noticed. Sure, he's second in the shortstop vote, but he's also over 700,000 votes back despite being on a first place team that's received plenty of media attention this year and last. Peralta is a big part of that success, even if his name isn't mentioned as often, as he's hitting .324 with an 867 OPS, and has been a steady defender in an infield featuring Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. He has only made the All-Star team once, and that was in 2011, the last time he hit anything like this.
Elvis Andrus, 2,122,277
Andrus is typically a productive enough hitter for a shortstop, but in 2013, his OPS+ of 55 is flat out ugly. His current third place standings in the voting likely comes on name recognition alone, though, the Rangers' fan base is certainly plentiful enough to give him a boost in spite of his performance as well. After signing an enormous extension prior to the season, Andrus has struggled, and has no business being on the All-Star team. As he's even further behind Hardy than Peralta, though, his making it through the vote isn't likely to be a problem, barring a Texas-sized surge in the last week for ballots.