Hawpe playing like All-Star, needs votes
Outfielder has been big part of Rockies' recent hot streak
DENVER -- Rockies manager Jim Tracy cast his vote for his right fielder, Brad Hawpe.
"Quite frankly, I would be very disappointed if he is not a member of the 2009 National League All-Star team," Tracy said. "I don't see how you can keep him off. What he's done as far as his hitting overall, his batting average with runners in scoring position, the number of big hits he's gotten for us, when you talk about us doing anything offensively it seems like [Todd] Helton and Hawpe are in the middle of all of it, what else could you ask a guy to do?
"He's done a terrific job in right field. He's a pro's pro. I've said it more than once."
Don't call Tracy's statement a campaign. He's simply assessing what his player deserves. Hawpe, usually a slow starter, has camped out in the top 10 in NL hitting throughout the season and is among the top in RBIs as well.
But despite the Rockies being on one of the most eye-popping runs in baseball this season and despite Hawpe's strong numbers, he is not among the top vote-getters in balloting at his position. In fact, no Rockies player is close to the top, even though first baseman Todd Helton and second baseman Clint Barmes have played well enough to be legitimately included in the conversation.
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until July 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Starting rosters will be announced during the 2009 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on July 5. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote at MLB.com.
And the voting doesn't end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet at the Midsummer Classic via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote at MLB.com. The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.
Helton, who entered this week just behind Hawpe in RBIs on the team and is still hitting consistently, demonstrated his value Saturday night with a two-run shot in the ninth inning of a 9-7 victory over the Pirates. He said he is feeding off his teammates.
"We're playing well," Helton said. "Pitching is keeping us in the games and were getting big hits. Guys are swinging the bats pretty well right now."
Barmes has emerged as an All-Star candidate by staying at or near the top of the NL in hits in June. He has become a force in the No. 2 hole in Tracy's lineup.
"I've always thought he was a good player -- I thought he was a good player when I was sitting over on the other side of the field," Tracy said.
Barmes has taken to heart a suggestion to relax and let his hands do the work, rather than being so eager that his body gets into the swing and ties him up.
"When he gets balls in the middle of the plate or when you get it in but don't get it far enough in, he can do what he did [on a home run in Sunday's 5-4 victory over the Pirates], and what he's done over the past month," Tracy said. "And that's hit it out of the ballpark."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.