There will be a Royal influence in the Queen City, as four Kansas City Royals players were named American League starters for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game being hosted by the Cincinnati Reds.
Outfielders Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain join Alcides Escobar (shortstop) and Salvador Perez (catcher) as Royals representatives for this year's All-Star Game. Much was said of the potential ballot stuffing being done by Kansas City fans, but ultimately, only four players from the AL Central leaders made it to the starting lineup. Long a doormat in the AL, the Royals have more starters this season than in the previous 25 years combined.
"It's just been the support of our fans, really, over the last two years," said Gordon, making his third straight All-Star appearance. "Winning brings attention, and that's what we've been doing. I think we play with a lot of energy, a lot of fun. People have noticed it."
Although the Royals led the way with the most players per team, the leading vote-getter came from north of the U.S. border.
Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson set a single-season record with more than 14 million votes cast for him. Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper led all National League selections by garnering 13.9 million votes.
Donaldson is third in RBIs (56) and fourth in wins above replacement (4.3) among all AL players while playing for a Blue Jays team that is first in runs scored, doubles, total bases, RBIs, slugging and OPS.
I feel honored to represent the AL All Star team!! Thank you to all the fans who voted! #blessed #teammatesarestuds #truenorth— Josh Donaldson (@BringerOfRain20) July 6, 2015
Already a star, Harper's first half has put him in the top tier of players in all of baseball. The Nats outfielder leads the majors in WAR (5.9) and is among the NL leaders in home runs, RBIs and batting average.
Only two teams placed multiple players on the All-Star rosters, the Royals, who won the AL pennant last season, and the Miami Marlins, who entered Sunday eight games under .500 and 11 games back in the NL East.
Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon and outfielder Giancarlo Stanton were both voted to the NL squad, although Stanton won't play in the Midsummer Classic.
Stanton, who signed a $325 million contract this offseason to stay in Miami, is on the disabled list with a broken bone in his hand. He will join Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (calf) and St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday (quad) as All-Star starters who are on the DL.
The Reds will host the All-Star Game for the first time since 1988 and will be represented by Todd Frazier, who was voted the NL team's starting third baseman.
"I was really nervous. I was excited. It was a huge comeback," said Frazier, who went from trailing the Cardinals' Matt Carpenter by 2.5 million votes in June to winning the starting nod by 2.1 million. "I'm pretty much on cloud nine."
All-Star pitchers, reserves and the finalists for the Final Vote will be announced Monday.
Royals manager Ned Yost and San Francisco Giants skipper Bruce Bochy will helm the AL and NL teams, respectively, when the 2015 All-Star Game is played on July 14.
"We're going to have a blast," Yost said. "The All-Star Game is an experience you never forget, and to do it with so many of our teammates there is really special."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.