Ozuna making push on NL All-Star ballot

Ozuna making push on NL All-Star ballot

MIAMI -- Marlins left fielder Marcell Ozuna is having one of the best first halves of any player in franchise history, and the All-Star voters are starting to take notice.

Ozuna has moved up to the fifth spot among National League outfielders, according to the latest Esurance All-Star Game Ballot results that were released on Monday. With 871,393 votes, Ozuna is fifth, and closing in on the Cubs' Jayson Heyward for a starting spot.

Cast your Esurance All-Star Game Ballot for Ozuna and other #ASGWorthy players

To secure a place in the starting lineup, Ozuna must finish in the top three. Heyward is third with 973,333 votes.

Washington's Bryce Harper (2,827,330) and Colorado's Charlie Blackmon (2,259,867) have sizeable advantages over the rest of the outfield contenders.

Besides Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton is the only other Marlins position player to rank among the leaders. The right fielder is seventh among outfielders with 823,558 votes.

Ozuna and Stanton are each having All-Star-worthy years.

Ozuna has been among the best players in the NL. He belted a grand slam on Monday in an 8-7 win over the Nationals. It was his 19th of the season, and his 53rd RBI.

"I think he's playing All-Star-caliber baseball," manager Don Mattingly said. "I think he's been able to do that all year long. I've said it many times. He's probably been our most consistent guy through the course of the season. At this point, if he continues like this, it'll be hard to keep him off that team."

Stanton, a three-time NL All-Star, entered Monday with 17 home runs and 45 RBIs.

Stanton's two-run homer

The Marlins have a couple of other players worthy of consideration, but they aren't among the voting leaders. First baseman Justin Bour began Monday with 17 home runs and 44 RBIs. J.T. Realmuto is a rising star at catcher, and he's one of the most athletic at his position.

"We've got other guys playing well," Mattingly said. "Bour, Giancarlo, J.T. We definitely have other guys you talk about, but [Ozuna] has probably been our most consistent guy."

Center fielder Christian Yelich and second baseman Dee Gordon also are worth noting, even though they have had their ups and downs in the first half.

Fans may cast votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday, June 29, at 11:59 p.m. ET. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB.com At Bat and MLB.com Ballpark mobile apps. Vote up to five times in any 24-hour period for a maximum of 35 ballots cast.

Following the announcement of the 2017 All-Star starters, reserves and pitchers, fans should return to MLB.com and cast their 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote for the final player on each league's All-Star roster. Then on Tuesday, July 11, while watching the 2017 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard live on FOX, fans may visit MLB.com to submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.

The 88th Midsummer Classic, at Marlins Park in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM will have comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit AllStarGame.com and follow @AllStarGame on social media.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.