Let's be honest. The Major League Baseball All-Star Game is nothing more than a popularity contest.
Unlike a lot of popularity contests, where being the best isn't always recognized—for instance, the Emmy and Academy Awards—playing favorites for MLB's Midsummer Classic is not a bad thing.
On the contrary, it is actually quite healthy for the growth of the sport, as long as it is done in an appropriate way. The fact that Derek Jeter is on the ballot even though there is no chance he will play in the game is a joke, yet he will probably end up among the top vote-getters at shortstop because he is Derek Jeter.
In filling out my way-too-early All-Star ballot, I looked at a few things. First, you have to be a star. This game is simply a marketing ploy for the sport of baseball despite the stakes that Bud Selig tries to attach to the winning side. In order for it to properly work, you have to showcase the best of the best.
Next, and this is very critical, I do not believe that each team should be represented, and a fluky first half from a journeyman player does not merit an All-Star selection. You need players who are not only the best in the sport but will maintain that performance, so when you look back at this game 20 years from now, you don't have a situation where Bryan LaHair is on the National League roster.
The final rule is that in order for a player to be picked, it has to be for his position. This really only applies to outfielders, who are usually selected as a group. We will take three players whose primary positions are left field, center field and right field.
For pitching, I will list one starter and a few other names that could also be in that role. I will do the same thing for closers, but I am not diving deep to fill out an entire relief corps by taking the 12th man in a bullpen that has been able to post a 1.00 ERA with 15 K/9 IP in mop-up duty.
Those are the rules that I have established, so with that in mind, here is the ballot I would fill out as of May 3, 2013.
All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.