Buster and Yadi battling for NL ballot lead
League's two top vote-getters competing for starting spot at backstop
The debate has been raging for a couple of years now, and it's getting louder and louder: Buster or Yadi?
It could be a conversation about the best catcher in the Majors, but it has become more than that. It could be a conversation about the Most Valuable Player Award winner in the National League, too, but the discussion has taken another turn.
Now, it's the Giants' Buster Posey and the Cardinals' Yadier Molina battling it out for the top vote-getter in the NL balloting for the 2013 All-Star Game, with millions of voters having their say -- and a slimming margin between their totals.
As of results released Sunday, Posey leads all NL vote-getters with 2,606,434, and Molina is second at catcher and overall at 2,543,588 votes -- a battle that figures to rage well into the summer heading toward the All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York on July 16.
Among the top NL vote-getters, the biggest jump of the week was by Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran, who vaulted to the top spot among the three that would be starters in the All-Star Game, leapfrogging the Braves' Justin Upton and the Nationals' Bryce Harper.
While the Reds continue to hold down the right side of the infield with first baseman Joey Votto and second baseman Brandon Phillips fortifying their leads, another infield position has a new issue: Troy Tulowitzki, the leader at shortstop, sustained a fractured rib this week and is out 4-6 weeks.
And in one of the tighter races as voting continues toward the Midsummer Classic, Pablo Sandoval of the Giants remains ahead of the Mets' David Wright at third base.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, July 4, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16.
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, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, visit MLB.com and register in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free account.
When it comes to the NL vote, the two men who have elevated the catcher position to new heights continue to shine, and this is a storyline that figures to go right down to the end of voting. Over the past week, Molina has cut into Posey's lead in voting, with Posey's advantage going from 277,161 a week ago to 62,846.
Third base is another tight one, with Wright hoping to break through to become a hometown All-Star starter at Citi Field. Sandoval (2,180,147) went on the disabled list with a foot injury this week, while Wright (2,053,744) went on an 8-for-11 tear in three games earlier this week.
Also in the infield, Votto (2,047,945) still has a comfortable lead over the D-backs' Paul Goldschmidt at first, and Phillips (2,021,277) maintains his edge over the Giants' Marco Scutaro at second.
The Tulowitzki situation, meanwhile, emerges as one to watch. It's quite possible Tulo, with a huge lead at 2,443,772 for the No. 3 overall vote total, will not be available to play in the All-Star Game. Behind him in the voting are Brandon Crawford of the Giants (1,293,476) and Jean Segura of the Brewers (1,188,317).
Meanwhile, the outfield vote saw Beltran (2,385,240) emerge as the front-runner, with Upton (2,054,225) and Harper (1,981,030) holding fast to the other two starting spots. Ryan Braun of the Brewers is more than 325,000 votes behind in the No. 4 spot, followed by Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez and St. Louis' Matt Holliday, who made a jump from 10th to sixth in the voting.
There remains a lot of time to vote, and many ways to cast a ballot.
Fans this year can also once again participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who 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.
Though originally scheduled for July 7, the 2013 rosters will now be unveiled Saturday, July 6, at 6:30 p.m. ET on the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Taco Bell. The show will be televised nationally on FOX.
From Saturday, July 6 to Thursday, July 11, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by freecreditscore.com for the final player for each League's All-Star roster.
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.
NATIONAL LEAGUE ALL-STAR VOTING
(as of June 15)
Joey Votto, Reds 2,047,945
Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs 1,524,517
Allen Craig, Cardinals 1,191,229
Brandon Belt, Giants 997,066
Freddie Freeman, Braves 924,937
Brandon Phillips, Reds 2,021,277
Marco Scutaro, Giants 1,717,875
Matt Carpenter, Cardinals 1,508,314
Chase Utley, Phillies 982,966
Daniel Murphy, Mets 786,414
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies 2,443,772
Brandon Crawford, Giants 1,293,476
Jean Segura, Brewers 1,188,317
Pete Kozma, Cardinals 905,976
Andrelton Simmons, Braves 771,665
Pablo Sandoval, Giants 2,180,147
David Wright, Mets 2,053,744
David Freese, Cardinals 1,152,038
Chris Johnson, Braves 829,420
Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals 686,905
Buster Posey, Giants 2,606,434
Yadier Molina, Cardinals 2,543,588
John Buck, Mets 866,471
Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers 630,902
Brian McCann, Braves 627,056
Carlos Beltran, Cardinals 2,385,240
Justin Upton, Braves 2,054,225
Bryce Harper, Nationals 1,981,030
Ryan Braun, Brewers 1,645,094
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies 1,508,355
Matt Holliday, Cardinals 1,330,471
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates 1,319,419
Hunter Pence, Giants 1,286,163
Shin-Soo Choo, Reds 1,274,755
Angel Pagan, Giants 1,131,176
Carlos Gomez, Brewers 1,027,684
Gregor Blanco, Giants 934,174
Jon Jay, Cardinals 884,323
Domonic Brown, Phillies 837,748
B.J. Upton, Braves 733,744
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.