The 2012 MLB All-Star "Final Vote" results are in, with Yu Darvish and David Freese getting the nods, and now we can give a final look at the snub list.
While the All-Star Game, in principle, is about bringing together the best of the best, quite often fan voting turns it into a mere popularity contest. Since success breeds popularity, in most cases, it works itself out.
Per usual, however, there are a good number of guys kicked to the curb who should have been included this Midsummer Classic. Of biggest note, National League pitchers were in a tough predicament due to the unusually high amount of quality pitching this season.
Sometimes finding a spot for additional players can be tricky; somewhere, the line has to be drawn.
Though a few situations have already been rectified—Chipper Jones, arguably the biggest snub, will take the place of the hobbled Matt Kemp—keep reading to see the 10 players still most deserving of a shot.
Stats: 6-4, 2.76 ERA, 98 IP, 93 Ks, 1.09 WHIP
Just a few weeks after bringing the New York Mets their first ever no-hitter, Johan Santana is one of several worthy pitchers who didn't make the final cut.
On an inspiring comeback trail from career-threatening injury, Santana has put together an amazing year despite what his win-loss record may reflect. The two-time Cy Young winner's success has been a huge part of the Mets' surprising run.
Stats: .273/.335./.463, 13 HR, 49 RBI
Fresh off inking a monster offseason deal this offseason, Albert Pujols led off his inaugural season with the Los Angeles Angels in the worst slump of his career. Struggling to not only find power but to hit at all, Pujols entered May batting under .200.
Since then, he has raised his average to .273 and has begun to put together more Pujols-esque numbers. While he doesn't necessarily have All-Star numbers, Pujols is well known for his heroics when all eyes are on him.
Stats: 9-2, 3.08 ERA, 108 IP, 106 Ks, 1.18 WHIP
In his last 10 starts, Zack Greinke has shown why he is All-Star material. Going 6-1 with 60 strikeouts, his ERA over the period is 2.91.
Greinke, the 2009 AL Cy Young winner, is still the pitcher he once was and is showing it every fifth day in Milwaukee. With trade rumors swirling about around him, a chance to put on a good showing at the All-Star Game could have further reminded and enticed potential suitors of his value.
Stats: .295/.379./.564, 22 HR, 56 RBI
Arguably one of the year's biggest snubs of all, Edwin Encarnacion is putting together a huge season with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Encarnacion has shown a welcome knack for power this season. We've seen glimpses in the past, but in 2012 he is showing that he has earned his place among All-Stars.
He continues his tear through the past 10 games hitting .375 with five RBI and even pulling out seven walks.
Stats: .280/.354/.478, 8 HR, 23 RBI
While Bryce Harper fell short of his first All-Star game this year, it's likely that his first is in the near future.
Harper, despite his young age, has been a real asset to the Washington Nationals in his short tenure as a major leaguer. Despite the expectation of major unneeded drama around the rookie phenom, he has shown himself to be a class act.
Harper is hitting .277 over his last 10 games and still has plenty of All-Star appearances in his future.
Stats: .259/.340/.518, 19 HR, 41 RBI
After a mediocre 2011, Josh Reddick of the Oakland Athletics has come to life in 2012.
While he does sport a low average, Reddick has been a home run machine and is on pace for 38 this season. With more patience at the plate as he continues to develop, Reddick has the potential to become a consistent top-notch hitter.
A total of 77 strikeouts in 2012, on the other hand, have a lot to do with his low average and exclusion from the All-Star roster.
Stats: .332/.412/.559, 9 HR 37 RBI
In his third season in the big leagues, Austin Jackson of the Detroit Tigers has put on quite a show.
Jackson can hit for average and power, steals bases, and does whatever necessary to get on base.
Over his last 10 games, Jackson is hitting .429, with 18 hits and seven RBI. If the All-Star game were based on performance alone, Jackson would no doubt have made the list.
Stats: 9-5, 2.35 ERA, 114.2 IP, 86 Ks, 1.13 WHIP
While the heat between La Russa and Baker has gotten personal, it's true that Cueto's numbers are definitely All-Star worthy. Putting together a career-best year, Cueto is another casualty of the NL's stellar pitching depth in 2012.
Stats: 10-5, 3.27 ERA, 115.2 IP, 99 Ks, 1.10 WHIP
Madison Bumgarner has done a fine job for the San Francisco Giants this year, picking up the slack given Tim Lincecum's struggles.
Four of his last 10 games have included more than eight strikeouts. In nine of his last 10 starts, he's given up four runs or less.
In a normal year, it's likely Bumgarner would have made it as a reserve. If his performance to date is any indication, we will be seeing a lot of Madison Bumgarner in future Midsummer Classics.
Stats: .310/.359/.456, 7 HR, 32 RBI
Atlanta Braves center fielder Michael Bourn made a strong push in the Final Vote on Thursday, but couldn't quite push past David Freese.
Bourn has been a major part of the Braves' success to date. Playing in a tough division, the competition is stiff, and for the Braves to still be above .500 is a testament to their quality.
With 23 stolen bases, Bourn's speed places him third in all of MLB. Bringing in a boost of speed like his could have been a very useful tool for the NL in Kansas City. And an .815 OPS also would have been a nice addition from a player who likes to run.
Bourn is an all-around player, and if anyone else goes down to injury, he is a another possible fill-in.