The best lineups are typically the ones that are not overly reliant on their "superstars." For a case in point, check out the 2007 Boston Red Sox, who have several unsung heroes vying for a spot on the American League All-Star team.
Who led the Red Sox in home runs entering the week of June 3? Not David Ortiz. Not Manny Ramirez. But third baseman Mike Lowell, who trails only Alex Rodriguez at his position in the second round of online All-Star balloting.
Where would the Red Sox be without Kevin Youkilis this season? The first baseman has taken his game to the next level, as evidenced by a 23-game hitting streak that was snapped on Saturday. Because Ortiz, the team's designated hitter, is listed as Boston's first baseman on the All-Star ballot, the only option for fans to vote for Youkilis is as a write-in.
And who would have thought Dustin Pedroia would be a legitimate All-Star candidate at second base after his slow start at the plate? However, the rookie turned things around in dramatic fashion, hitting .415 in May to boost his average well over .300. Pedroia is currently fourth in the balloting, where he trails Robinson Cano, Placido Polanco and Ian Kinsler.
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the Monster 2007 All-Star Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until Thursday, June 28, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
The AL and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled July 1 on the 2007 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet, which will be televised nationally by TBS.
Following the announcement, baseball fans around the world will be able select the final player on each All-Star team via the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Final Vote.
Selecting the rosters isn't the end of the fun in 2007, either. Concluding the All-Star balloting process, fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the All-Star Game via the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Game MVP Vote at MLB.com.
The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage and MLB.com Radio will have exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.
Meanwhile, Ortiz and Ramirez remain on pace to be All-Stars yet again. Big Papi is in the lead at first base, with Justin Morneau, Jason Giambi and Travis Hafner following him. Ramirez is second among outfielders, trailing only Vladimir Guerrero. Boston outfielders J.D. Drew (seventh place) and Coco Crisp (11th) are in the mix.
Catcher and captain Jason Varitek, who has made a strong comeback from left knee surgery last season, is third at his position behind Ivan Rodriguez of the Tigers and Minnesota's Joe Mauer. Julio Lugo, in the midst of his first season with the Red Sox, is fourth among shortstops.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.