WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, a member of the 2013 National League All-Star team, was surprised to learn that teammate Ian Desmond ranked fourth in the 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com. Desmond trails Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and Giants outfielder Hunter Pence. Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez sits in fifth place.
Desmond, 27, is clearly the best player on the Nationals this year. Besides playing outstanding defense, he leads Washington in home runs and RBIs. It helped that he had a hot month of June during which he drove in 28 runs.
NL Candidates BY THE NUMBERS
"Ian has unbelievable numbers, and he has been playing great lately," Zimmermann said. "Hopefully he can pick up some ground and we can get him in there."
The numbers don't tell the whole story about Desmond. Teammate Stephen Strasburg is amazed by Desmond's work ethic. Desmond is often one of the first players at the ballpark.
"He shows up to the field ready to play. One of the funny things I've seen this year is, we have a 1 o'clock day game. I get there at 8:30 and he is already in full uniform," Strasburg said. "It's refreshing to see. This is a job to everybody, and he treats it like it is a game, but something that he really loves. He lives and breathes baseball. You can see it with his play out there."
Strasburg is also impressed by Desmond's knowledge of the game of baseball.
"His baseball IQ is definitely through the roof," Strasburg said. "He likes to lead by example, just like Zim [Ryan Zimmerman]. There isn't too much talk -- no showmanship. He just goes out there and gets the job done. You have to respect that."
Rookie Anthony Rendon considers Desmond a mentor. A third baseman by trade, Rendon credits Desmond for helping him make the adjustments at second base.
"He is a tremendous leader. It's always good when you have teammates that can help you out and throws feedback at you," Rendon said. "He will signal to me to scoot over. I'm new up here, so I don't know the [opposing hitter's] speed and what they are used to. It's awesome that you can have a great teammate that can help you on the field."
Now in its 12th year, the Final Vote gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Saturday's Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Taco Bell and ends Thursday at 4 p.m. ET. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
There will be an extra treat for fans who participate in the Final Vote online. If you are not a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you are eligible to receive a 14-day free trial of MLB.TV from July 12-26. If you are a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you will receive a 15-percent discount to the MLB.com Shop. MLB.com will send an email on Friday to all Final Vote voters with instructions on how to redeem the applicable offer.
Mobile voting in the U.S. and Canada is open to everyone. In the U.S., to receive the Final Vote mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for Desmond, simply text message N1 to 89269. In Canada, fans should text N1 to 101010. Standard message and data rates may apply.
For the second consecutive year, the Final Vote (#FinalVote) will include a social balloting element as Twitter support from the candidates' fans over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their final vote totals. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the overall vote total used to determine the American League and National League winners. Fans may follow @MLB on the popular social networking service for the latest standings updates in advance of the 4 p.m. ET balloting deadline.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.