Though deserving, Kipnis not on All-Star radar
Asdrubal only member of Tribe making noise in early balloting
DETROIT -- It might be time for the Indians to roll out an All-Star campaign for emerging second baseman Jason Kipnis.
On Tuesday afternoon, the first round of All-Star balloting results were revealed and Cleveland's lone representative in the early totals is shortstop Asdrubal Cabera, who ranked fifth in voting for his position. Kipnis -- one of the American League's top second basemen so far this season -- was nowhere to be found.
"He's not in the top five?" Indians manager Manny Acta said of Kipnis. "Well, it is a popularity contest."
Cabrera started for the AL All-Star team in last season's Midsummer Classic after Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter -- currently the leading vote-getter at the position -- pulled out of the contest. Cabrera once again ranks among the league leaders at his position, but it has been his double-play partner who has been enjoying a breakout campaign.
Heading into Tuesday's action, Kipnis led AL second basemen in RBIs (34) and stolen bases (13) and was tied for the lead at his position in home runs (nine) and games played (53). He ranked second in slugging percentage (.453), triples (three) and runs (38) and was tied for second in hits (60) and at-bats (214).
The AL's leading vote-getter at second base was Texas' Ian Kinsler (1,447,171), followed by New York's Robinson Cano (1,164,448), Boston's Dustin Pedroia (699,422), Baltimore's Robert Andino (317,434)and Kansas City's Chris Getz (278,585). Considering this is Kipnis' first full season in the Majors -- he suited up in the Futures Game last July -- the second baseman has an uphill battle in terms of gaining ballots.
"He just plays a tough position to crack in in the American League," Acta said. "You've got the Kinslers and the Pedroias and the Canos of the world. It's tough, but he's been an All-Star."
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via a mobile device -- using the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until June 28, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Fans can also once again participate in the State Farm 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 State Farm Home Run Derby. The 2012 State Farm 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 July 9.
The 2012 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on July 1, on the 2012 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2012 All-Star Game Final Vote on MLB.com.
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 2012 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 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium on July 10. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 83rd 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 Sirius XM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg.
Cabrera headed into Tuesday's game with the Tigers hitting .293 with five home runs, 14 doubles and 21 RBIs in 44 games for the Indians. Despite ranking 14th in games played among AL shortstops, Cabrera ranked first among his positional peers in on-base plus slugging percentage (.849) and doubles, as well as third in average and extra-base hits (19).
"Asdrubal Cabrera is having another good season," Acta said. "He's not doing what he did last year, but he's been very, very good."
Entering Tuesday, Kipnis was hitting .280 with a .792 OPS for the Indians. The young second baseman said a flock of fans took to Twitter -- he posts under the handle @TheJK_Kid -- to offer their support in the wake of the first wave of All-Star balloting results.
"I'm appreciating all the support that I'm getting," Kipnis said. "It'd be a tremendous honor to have. I'd love to represent Cleveland in the All-Star Game, but at the same time I'm not going to lobby for votes on Twitter or anything like that. I'm hoping my play and stats will speak for themselves.
"It'd just be really cool. It's something every player wants to experience at least once. To be doing it in my first season would be really cool."
Acta said Kipnis is definitely deserving.
"Jason Kipnis obviously, hands down, is a legit candidate," Acta said. "He's leading our club in just about every offensive category."
Acta said Kipnis' contributions go beyond the stats, too.
"Confidence," Acta said. "Nothing intimidates him or fazes him. He knows he's good."
The Indians are hoping more fans begin to take notice.