By Jordan Wevers @JordanWevers on July 7, 2014
All-Star squads are based on bureaucratic popularity contests. No one will ever be in total agreement about the selections, and there are probably even people snubbed from this list who are worthy of a spot. This is my compilation, however accurate or unjust you may find it to be. Note that Jeff Samardzija is named an All-Star, but will not compete due to the ill timing of his trade. The listing is alphabetical.
*Denotes Final Vote Nominee
Byrd keeps on aging, and he keeps on hitting. The 36-year old well-travelled veteran had a pretty decent campaign in 2013. So far in 2014, he's off to a better start. He's hitting .266 and is tied for second in the NL in HRs (18) and tied for eighth in RBI (52). It's seems unreasonable to reserve three of 34 roster spots for catchers, considering they are not renowned for having offensive prowess.
Cabrera is tied for eighth with the other Cabrera (Miggy) for runs scored in the AL with 54, is hitting .299, and has 11 HRs and 44 RBIs. Those are pretty solid numbers from a two-hole hitter. He is more deserving of a reserve OF spot than the Royals' Alex Gordon.
Dozier is showing flashes of 30-30 potential in 2014. Though his batting average is nothing special, his WAR rating is higher than that of fellow Twins teammate and 2014 All-Star, catcher Kurt Suzuki.
Did the Red Sox curse him? Maybe on the ballots, but not in the field. He's hitting .284 in the leadoff spot (95 ABs) and .286 as the third batter (224 ABs) for the Bronx Bombers. Ellsbury has 40 RBIs to go with five HRs, and is fifth in MLB in SB with 23. He also has the second-highest FPCT (.996) of any MLB center fielder to log 700-plus innings, behind only Tampa Bay's Desmond Jennings.
This is where things get tricky. The Hall of Fame is for great careers, and that is where Derek Jeter will be one day. But due to his popularity, the market he plays in, and this being his farewell season, he gets the nod as an All-Star even though his stats aren't very good. Escobar is hitting .291, has the best FPCT for any SS in the AL, and is fourth in the AL in SBs (21).
Morneau has rediscovered his MVP-caliber swing in Denver. He is second in the entire NL in RBI (59) to go with 13 HRs, and is slashing a very impressive .316/.348/.518. Most of those numbers are as good or more impressive than those of Freddie Freeman, the reserve first baseman for the NL.
Rendon has more similar numbers this year to Todd Frazier, the NL starter at 3B in the All-Star Game, than St. Louis' Matt Carpenter does. Carpenter's numbers are pretty dismal in comparison to the other two players. It's a shame Nolan Arenado missed such a large chunk of the first half, or he would probably also be included in this list.
Richards has the second-lowest BAA for a starting pitcher in all of MLB at .196. He is 10-2 with a 2.71 ERA, and is ranked eighth in the AL in strikeouts. Richards has easily been the Halos' most reliable starter in 2014, and is a big contributor to their winning record and Wild Card contention. He deserves to be recognized.
At the prototypical first base power position, Rizzo has more HRs (17) than any other man playing 1B in the NL. That number is also good for a fourth-place tie in the entire NL. He is also slashing .276/.384/.487 with 45 RBIs, all while playing for a pretty miserable NL Central team.
This spot could also go to Corey Kluber or Dallas Keuchel, but Sale is the most talented and consistent of the three pitchers. He missed some time on the DL this year, so not many of his stats qualify right now. But his 8-1 record and ERA of 2.16 over 13 games started are difficult to not acknowledge.
Seager has not been far from brilliant in 2014, and is building steadily on his 2013 numbers. Though Adrian Beltre has a higher AVG and a more storied career, Seager is having the better season for an AL third baseman. His team, the Mariners, are also finding much more success this season than Beltre's Texas Rangers are.
(Note: Seager has since been named a substitute for the AL's injured Edwin Encarnacion)
For as good as teammate Johnny Cueto has been in 2014, Simon is not far behind. He has a 11-3 record with a sub 3.00 ERA. Also, the opposition only has a .222 AVG against the 33-year-old.
Soriano has an MLB-best ERA of 1.03 among all closers in baseball. He is 21 for 23 in converting saves, giving him fewer blown saves than Craig Kimbrel and Francisco Rodriguez. At the halfway mark, Soriano is experiencing a career year.
In around the same number of ABs, many of Springer's first-half numbers exceed that of Mike Trout in his magical 2012 rookie season. Springer has more HR, RBI, and still has six more games to compile four extra-base hits to tie Trout in that category with 30 before the break. Trout is the more complete player, but If it weren't for Jose Abreu, Springer would be a near-lock to win AL ROY. Again, why Alex Gordon?
Tyson Ross is fairly deserving of representing the Padres, but injured Andrew Cashner is probably their best pitcher when healthy. Since he's not, that honor would probably go to Street and his 1.13 ERA. He has blown only one save this season, and is fifth in the NL with 23 saves, playing for a bad ball team that does not win many games to begin with.
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