Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr., Angels Shohei Ohtani elected All-Star starters

Ronald Acuna Jr. is a frontrunner for National League MVP and after leading all players in total votes in the first phase of All-Star voting, he'll be headed to his fourth All-Star Game as a starting outfielder -- and there's a good chance he'll be joined by some of his Atlanta Braves teammates in the starting lineup.

The first phase of voting narrows each position to two finalists, with the recipient with the most votes in each league rewarded as the automatic starter at his position. Acuna tallied 3,082,600 votes to lead all players while Shohei Ohtani led all American League players with 2,646,307 votes and will start at designated hitter for the third consecutive season.

The Braves, owners of the best record in the NL, lead all teams with seven finalists, including Acuna. Catcher Sean Murphy and shortstop Orlando Arcia led their positions in voting while first baseman Matt Olson, second baseman Ozzie Albies, third baseman Austin Riley and outfielder Michael Harris II also move on to the second phase of voting.

The Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays both have five finalists in the AL.

The second phase to determine the remaining 16 positional starters for the July 11 contest in Seattle will run from noon ET on Monday through noon ET on Thursday, June 29. Vote totals from the first phase do not carry over and fans will be allowed to vote just once per 24-hour period.

Acuna, fully recovered from the 2021 knee injury that also affected him last season, is hitting .327/.403/.558 with 15 home runs, 46 RBIs and 31 stolen bases, leading the NL in runs, steals and total bases.

Ohtani has been on an offensive tear of late, is hitting .292 and leads the majors with 24 home runs and a .993 OPS. Oh, and he's 6-3 with a 3.13 ERA with 117 strikeouts in 89 innings as a pitcher.

Arcia was the surprise voting leader among NL shortstops. After Dansby Swanson signed with the Chicago Cubs as a free agent, Vaughn Grissom was expected to take over at shortstop, but veteran Arcia won the job out of spring training and is hitting .341/.400/.489 with six home runs and 25 RBIs in 52 games.

With past All-Stars like Trea Turner and Xander Bogaerts having down seasons in their new homes in Philadelphia and San Diego, respectively, Arcia and Francisco Lindor of the Mets are the NL shortstop finalists. Diamondbacks rookie outfielder Corbin Carroll, who is tied with Acuna among all MLB position players in FanGraphs WAR, is also a finalist. Carroll is looking to become the first Diamondbacks rookie position player to make the All-Star team.

In the AL, Mike Trout is an outfield finalist and looking to earn his 10th consecutive selection as a starter via fan voting, although he missed the 2021 and 2022 games with injuries. The most interesting race could come at shortstop, where the Blue Jays' Bo Bichette is hitting .317 with 14 home runs and 101 hits while the Rangers' Corey Seager, after missing three weeks with a hamstring injury, is hitting .345 with 45 RBIs in 43 games.

National League finalists:

Catcher: Murphy, Braves; Will Smith, Dodgers First base: Freddie Freeman, Dodgers; Olson, Braves Second base: Luis Arraez, Marlins; Albies, Braves Third base: Nolan Arenado, Cardinals; Riley, Braves Shortstop: Arcia, Braves; Lindor, Mets Outfield: Mookie Betts, Dodgers; Carroll, Diamondbacks; Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Diamondbacks; Harris II, Braves DH: J.D. Martinez, Dodgers; Bryce Harper, Phillies

American League finalists:

Catcher: Adley Rutschman, Orioles; Jonah Heim, Rangers First base: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays; Yandy Diaz, Rays Second base: Marcus Semien, Rangers; Whit Merrifield, Blue Jays Third base: Josh Jung, Rangers; Matt Chapman, Blue Jays Shortstop: Bichette, Blue Jays; Seager, Rangers Outfield: Aaron Judge, Yankees; Trout, Angels; Randy Arozarena, Rays; Yordan Alvarez, Astros; Kevin Kiermaier, Blue Jays; Adolis Garcia, Rangers