The Player on Every MLB Team Who Should Be an All-Star
The 84th edition of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game is now just under a month away. Ballots are being tallied as fans continue to vote on who they believe should be the starters.
Most of the time, the fans get it right—deserving stars who have put forth tremendous first-half efforts are rewarded with the start. In all, 34 players are selected for each league, with players, coaches and managers all having a say in the selection of pitchers and bench players.
But will every team have its best player represented?
Here is a look into at least one player from each MLB team who should absolutely be representing his team at Citi Field on July 16. In addition, players from each team who should be included will also be listed.
Given that not all deserving players are selected as All-Stars, predictions will be made for each deserving player as well.
Note: All-Star vote counts and player statistics courtesy of MLB.com.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Paul Goldschmidt
Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt hasn't just become an All-Star—he's become a legitimate MVP candidate and potential Triple Crown threat.
Goldschmidt is 17th in the National League in batting (.301), first in RBI (59) and tied for fifth in home runs (15). His .924 OPS is also fifth in the league.
As of the NL ballot update of June 15, Goldschmidt (1,524,517 votes) was trailing Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (2,047,945) by a wide margin.
It would be criminal to leave Goldschmidt off the team at this point.
Other Diamondbacks Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
With a 9-0 record and 2.28 ERA in 13 starts, Corbin should be a lock to be on the pitching staff. Depending on how he performs in his next few starts, he'll certainly garner consideration for the starting nod as well.
Will Corbin be Selected? Yes
Considering the fact that Parra was a man without an everyday position heading into the season, he's certainly turned in a performance worthy of an All-Star.
Because of early injuries to Cody Ross and Adam Eaton—and later Jason Kubel—Parra hasn't only played every day, he's shined in doing so. Parra is 11th in the National League with a .315 batting average and has provided his usual outstanding defense.
Will Parra be selected? No. Parra isn't among the top 15 in the latest round of voting updates for NL outfielders. He is worthy but could very well be squeezed out.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Justin Upton
Considering that Upton polled second among outfielders in the latest voting update, he's a lock at this point.
However, since his first month when he produced 12 home runs and a .298 batting average, Upton has cooled considerably, hitting just .217 with three homers and 13 RBI.
He may not be worthy of the starting nod, but he'll get it nonetheless.
Other Braves Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
Freeman has been one of the Braves' most consistent hitters with a .320 average and 46 RBI. His defense has been stellar all season as well. However, he hasn't quite gotten the recognition in fan voting, placing fifth thus far with 924,937 votes.
Will Freeman be Selected? I say yes, but with Joey Votto and Paul Goldschmidt ahead of him as certain selections, it's going to be a tough decision for NL manager Bruce Bochy.
Once again, Kimbrel is asserting himself as one of the top closers in the majors with 19 saves and a 1.71 ERA. His 12.6 K/9 rate isn't quite as stratospheric as last year's 16.7 mark, but he's still as scary as it gets in the ninth inning.
Will Kimbrel be selected? Yes
With an 8-2 mark and 2.68 ERA in 14 starts, Minor has absolutely earned consideration for his first-ever All-Star appearance.
Minor put together a run of eight consecutive quality starts before a minor hiccup on Saturday against the San Francisco Giants, giving up five runs on seven hits in six innings. In the month of May alone, Minor was spectacular in posting a 4-0 record and 1.98 ERA.
Will Minor be Selected? No. With a large number of starters worthy of selection, Minor could be one of the odd men out.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Chris Davis
This is the most obvious choice. Davis is leading the majors in home runs (23), slugging percentage (.697), OPS (1.111) and total bases (175). He's also got a comfortable lead over Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder in the latest update of AL fan voting as well.
Slam Dunk All-Star: Adam Jones
Jones has a slight lead over Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout in the latest voting update. Jones is hitting .303 with 14 home runs and 48 RBI. While Davis has supplanted Jones as the leading producer for the Orioles, Jones' play thus far has been nonetheless outstanding.
Other Orioles Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
Wieters is currently polling second among all catchers as fans outside of Baltimore are now starting to realize that the 27-year-old backstop has indeed become one of the elite catchers in the American League.
His two consecutive Gold Glove awards are certainly an indication of his defensive skills, but offensively he's become a force as well.
Will Wieters be Selected? Yes. He should be the obvious choice to back up leading vote-getter Joe Mauer.
Machado may only have half the votes as Miguel Cabrera at third base, but his selection to the All-Star team is almost assuredly a lock at this point.
Machado leads the majors in hits (99) and doubles (32) and is on pace to break Earl Webb's long-standing single-season mark of 67 two-baggers.
Will Machado be selected? Yes
Hardy is currently the leading vote-getter among shortstops in the latest voting update, with a comfortable lead over Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers and Jhonny Peralta of the Detroit Tigers.
Hardy's 13 home runs and 40 RBI lead all shortstops in the American league as well.
Will Hardy be Selected? Yes
Markakis is in a tight battle for the third starting outfield position along with Detroit Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter, with Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays, Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers and teammate Nate McLouth not far behind either.
Will Markakis be Selected? Yes. If he's voted in as a starter this is a moot point. But I do believe Markakis will earn a spot if not voted in by the fans.
McLouth was brought back by the Orioles this season on a $2 million deal, and he's already earned every penny.
McLouth is hitting .282 and is second to Boston Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury in the American League with 23 stolen bases, already establishing a career high.
Will McLouth be Selected? No. It could simply come down to a matter of numbers for McLouth.
Johnson's 25 saves leads the majors, but his 3.93 ERA and tough month of May could be a sticking point for his selection.
Will Johnson be Selected? Yes, but only if he continues his rebound from an awful May.
Boston Red Sox
Slam-Dunk All-Star: David Ortiz
Despite missing the first few weeks of the season, Ortiz is leading the league in just about every major statistical category among DHs. At 37 years of age, he has clearly shown that he is far from over the hill.
Other Red Sox Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
Pedroia received his first day off of the 2013 season on Sunday, and he is certainly deserving of a rest. With his .319 average, four home runs and 39 RBI he is also deserving of his fourth All-Star selection.
Will Pedroia be Selected? Yes
With a .288 batting average, nine home runs and 44 RBI, Nava has been one of the more consistent hitters on the Red Sox as well as a pleasant surprise.
He hasn't received any love in All-Star voting with no placement in the top 15 among outfielders. But Nava's play is absolutely worthy of a selection nonetheless.
Will Nava be selected? No. I think it comes down to a numbers crunch for Nava. He could be one of the players under consideration for the All-Star Final Vote.
Ellsbury is getting some love from voters, placing ninth in the most recent voting update. But aside from his major league-leading 31 stolen bases, Ellsbury's current numbers just aren't enough to be worthy of consideration.
Will Ellsbury be Selected? No
With a 9-0 record and 1.71 ERA through his first 12 starts, Buchholz is almost a lock for selection.
However, Buchholz could be bound for the disabled list with a sore trapezius muscle in his neck. He was already pushed back and then scratched for his next start.
Will Buchholz be Selected? Yes.
The 23-year-old Cuban shortstop was known to be a defensive whiz, but there were concerns about his bat. Iglesias hit just .118 in 25 games last season and was hitting just .202 at Triple-A Pawtucket before his call-up this season.
However, Iglesias has done nothing but rake since arriving back in Boston in late May, now hitting a robust .438. Iglesias has continued to get at-bats despite the return of third baseman Will Middlebrooks from the disabled list.
There's even been talk that the Red Sox could entertain the thought of dealing veteran shortstop Stephen Drew now that Iglesias has shown he can produce at the major league level.
Will Iglesias be Selected? I'm saying no for now, but if he continues getting regular at-bats and maintains a high average, that is subject to change.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: None
Other Cubs Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
The case could be made that no member of the Cubs is worthy of selection. In fact, not one Cub was included among the top vote-getters at any position in the latest fan vote update.
But at least one player has to be selected, and it could come down to a choice between Scott Feldman, Travis Wood and Kevin Gregg.
Gregg has done a fabulous job as the closer since taking over for Carlos Marmol and the injured Kyuji Fujikawa. He's given up runs in only two of 22 outings thus far, posting a microscopic 0.83 ERA and nine saves.
Will Gregg be Selected? Yes. I believe Gregg will become the lone Cub selected.
Chicago White Sox
Slam-Dunk All-Star: None
Chicago White Sox starters were conspicuously absent from the top vote-getters in the latest fan update for the American League. Considering their standing as the worst run-scoring team in the American League, that's not much of a surprise.
Other White Sox Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
Sale's 5-5 record may not look pretty, but the White Sox lack of offensive production has more to do with that than anything else.
Sale has received the least amount of run support (2.67) among American League starters. Yet he's posted a 2.43 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 9.1 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 rate, numbers certainly deserving of a record better than 5-5.
Will Sale be selected? Yes. He's clearly worthy of selection.
Crain has appeared in nearly half of White Sox games this season and has been terrific, posting a 0.60 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and has held opposing batters to just a .198 average. If any middle reliever/setup man is worthy of selection, Crain is the man.
Will Crain be Selected? Doubtful.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Joey Votto
Votto is once again leading the National League with a .437 on-base percentage and is hitting .318 with 11 home runs, 33 RBI and a league-leading 53 walks.
Votto had a comfortable lead among NL first basemen in the latest fan vote update as well.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Brandon Phillips
Phillips also enjoyed a comfortable lead in fan voting for NL second basemen, and rightfully so. Phillips is second in the league with 56 RBI and has looked comfortable in the cleanup spot in the Reds batting order.
Other Reds Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
Choo has yet to earn an All-Star selection, but with his .428 on-base percentage, he's worthy this year. Choo dropped down to ninth place in the latest update of fan balloting among outfielders.
Will Choo be Selected? Yes. Considering his contributions and the boost he's given to the Reds at the top of the batting order, he's earned it.
With Johnny Cueto sidelined twice already this season, Latos has stepped up as the Reds ace, posting a perfect 6-0 record and 3.08 ERA in 14 stars. He's delivered a 7.7 K/9 rate and 1.19 WHIP as well.
Will Latos be Selected: No. While Latos has proven his worth as a top-shelf pitcher in the National League, it once again comes down to a numbers crunch for NL manager Bruce Bochy.
Chapman has given up just 18 hits in his 30 innings of work thus far, and his 15.6 K/9 rate and 17 saves once again shows that he he is one of the elite closers in all of baseball.
Will Chapman be Selected: Yes.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: None
Not much love for the Indians in the latest fan voting update. Carlos Santana has placed fourth among catchers but has virtually no shot of catching leading vote-getter Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins.
Likewise for designated hitter Mark Reynolds, who is in fourth among designated hitters but trails David Ortiz by a substantial margin.
Other Indians Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
Reynolds' 14 home runs and 43 RBI lead the Indians, but his .229 average and 79 strikeouts don't help his cause.
Will Reynolds be Selected? Yes, if he is the lone Indian to represent his team at Citi Field on July 16.
Smith has been outstanding in his role in the bullpen, posting a miniscule 1.48 ERA in 27 appearances.
Will Smith be Selected? No. If any reliever other than a closer is selected, that honor would go to White Sox reliever Jesse Crain.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Troy Tulowitzki
Even with his recent rib injury, Tulo isn't likely to give up his National League-leading vote count. He told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post that he was certainly disappointed about not being able to participate in the Midsummer Classic.
"You are definitely concerned with your team first, but there is no doubt you want to participate in the All-Star Game, and being the possible starter was something I looked forward to, and possibly participating in the Home Run Derby.
"Those are things you dream about as a kid, so for those to be taken away definitely hurts. But hopefully it's not the last time in my career that I have that opportunity."
If he can find a way to stay healthy, it likely won't be the last time.
Other Rockies Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
Gonzalez will need some help from fans if he is to earn status as a starter. Currently, Gonzalez is fifth among outfielders and trails Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper by almost 500,000 votes for third place.
Will Gonzalez be Selected? Yes. With a .316 average, 20 home runs and 56 RBI it would be a miscarriage of justice if CarGo was left off the team.
With a .340 batting average, 10 home runs and 38 RBI, Cuddyer is certainly worthy of his first selection to the All-Star team for the National League.
Will Cuddyer be Selected? No, unless Cuddyer continues to maintain his lofty average. If he does, he'll make the decision for manager Bruce Bochy very difficult.
If there is any non-closer who is most deserving of an All-Star selection, it's without question Brothers. He hasn't allowed a run since April 6 and has been downright nasty all season. Manager Walt Weiss simply can't ask for a better performance from him.
Will Brothers be Selected? Yes. Considering Bochy sees a lot of the Rockies, he should be selecting Brothers.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Miguel Cabrera
This qualifies as the biggest no-brainer on this list.
Cabrera is threatening to win back-to-back Triple Crown and MVP Award honors with his first-half production thus far.
Other Tigers Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
Fielder trails leading vote-getter Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles by over one million votes in the latest update of fan polling, but it's a pretty safe bet he'll earn a selection as a reserve. Fielder has contributed 12 home runs and 54 RBI in support of teammate Cabrera.
Will Fielder be selected? Yes
Peralta placed third in the latest round of fan voting among AL shortstops. Surprisingly, Peralta was behind Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus, who is hitting just .245 with no home runs to start the season.
Will Peralta be selected? Absolutely. Peralta is actually deserving of a starting nod with his .329 average, six home runs and 29 RBI.
It's arguable that Verlander could be passed up this season. He's posted an 8-4 record, but the 3.41 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 rate and 1.30 WHIP are far off the numbers posted in the past two seasons.l
Will Verlander be Selected? Yes. His manager, Jim Leyland, is the AL manager, so a little hometown favoritism could be in play.
Quite frankly, Scherzer is more deserving than Verlander of an All-Star selection with his 9-0 record and 3.19 ERA. His 2.2 BB/9 rate shows that Scherzer's command has vastly improved since joining the Tigers back in 2010.
Will Scherzer be Selected? Yes
Slam-Dunk All-Star: None
The Houston Astros have played .500 ball since May 15, surprising just about everyone in the league. But it's a strong likelihood that only one Astro will be representing the team at Citi Field on July 16.
Other Angels Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
It might be obvious to some that Jose Altuve could be the lone NL representative, but Castro's play certainly can't be ignored, either.
Castro is hitting .270 with 10 home runs and 23 RBI, arguably one of the more consistent hitters in a young Astros offense.
Will Castro be Selected? Yes. Even though Castro doesn't show up in the top five in voting, his consistent play is enough to get him to New York City on July 16.
Altuve got the All-Star nod for the Astros last year. He's hitting .292 with three home runs and 27 RBI and 12 stolen bases, and is the type of player that general manager Jeff Luhnow envisions building the team around. At just 23 years of age, Altuve figures to be an All-Star many times over during his career.
Will Altuve be Selected? No. There's simply too much of a logjam at second base in the American League. Altuve loses out to a numbers crunch.
Kansas City Royals
Slam-Dunk All-Star: None
The only member of the Kansas City Royals who has gotten any All-Star love from fans is left fielder Alex Gordon, currently eighth among all outfielders.
Other Royals Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
The aforementioned Gordon is again putting up solid numbers with a .301 average, six home runs and 36 RBI. With much of the starting nine struggling offensively, Gordon has been the team's most consistent hitter.
Will Gordon be Selected? It's possible that Gordon could be the lone Royals representative at the Midsummer Classic.
At just 23 years of age, Perez is clearly one of the bright young stars in the game. He's currently hitting .310 with three home runs and 26 RBI.
Will Perez be selected? No. With Joe Mauer and Matt Wieters almost certain selections, there may not be enough room for Perez.
AL manager Jim Leyland could, however, opt to select Perez if the team goes with three catchers.
Los Angeles Angels
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Mike Trout
Trout is neck-and-neck with Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones for the most votes among outfielders in the American League. They both tally almost twice as much as Baltimore's Nick Markakis, who is in third.
Is Trout worthy based on his numbers alone? Not so much as last year, but it's clear that fans want to see much more of Trout.
Other Angels Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
How telling is it that despite a team loaded with superstars, Trout is the only lock and other high-priced names aren't included?
Kendrick's recent offensive surge has him hitting .335, now good for second in the American League.
Will Kendrick be Selected? Yes, if he continues his hot steak and stays near the top of the AL batting race.
Trumbo's 15 home runs and 46 RBI lead the Angels, and he'll certainly be thought of as a participant in the Home Run Derby.
Will Trumbo be Selected? That's a tough call. Production-wise, yes, but the .266 average and 71 strikeouts work against him. For now I'll say he gets the nod, but don't be surprised if Trumbo ends up in the Final Vote.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Clayton Kershaw
Seriously? A team that took on roughly $500 million in payroll since last July has but one lock for the All-Star Game?
That's right, folks, and it's not one of the expensive players picked up over the past 10 months or so.
Kershaw may only be 5-4, but his 1.84 ERA certainly shows he continues to dominate despite a complete lack of run support. In fact, Kershaw only gets 3.0 runs per game, necessitating the need for him to be almost perfect every time out.
Other Dodgers Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
Ryu has stated a case for inclusion, posting a 6-2 record and 2.85 ERA, including a masterful two-hit shutout against the Los Angeles Angels on May 28. If it weren't for the efforts of Kershaw and Ryu, the Dodgers would be in a lot worse of a mess than they're in right now.
Should Ryu be Selected? No. Considering Ryu had better numbers at this point than Yu Darvish did last year when he made the team, I say yes.
But manager Bruce Bochy is limited with the amount of starting pitchers he can place on his staff. Ryu could be a casualty.
He could be a Final Vote candidate, however.
Yes, he's only played in 13 games. And yes, the .479 batting average comes with a very small sample size.
But the All-Star Game is supposed to be all about the fans and what they want, right?
Well, yes. But with only three weeks left until all selections are final, it simply may not be enough time for Puig's possible inclusion.
Will Puig be Selected? No. But if he continues hitting around .500 over the next few weeks, that's subject to change.
It sure would be fun to see him hitting in the Home Run Derby as well.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Giancarlo Stanton
Even though he's only played in 26 games, Stanton will likely be the lone Marlins representative for the All-Star Game.
Honestly, he's the only one even worthy of selection, although 20-year-old Jose Fernandez has put up admirable numbers in his rookie campaign.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Jean Segura
Segura may not be the leading vote-getter among National League shortstops, but he's a virtual lock now that Troy Tulowitzki is on the disabled list.
No one else even comes close to Segura in the NL in terms of numbers—.330 batting average, 10 home runs, 30 RBI and 19 stolen bases—he's done a little bit of everything thus far in 2013.
Other Brewers Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
Despite his first-ever stint on the disabled list, Braun has put up All-Star worthy numbers, posting a .304 batting average with nine home runs and 36 RBI. It's obvious the thumb injury was hampering his performance in the past few weeks.
Will Braun be Selected? No. My guess is that NL manager Bruce Bochy opts to select teammate Carlos Gomez rather than Braun.
Speaking of Gomez, he has asserted himself as an offensive force, hitting .317 with 12 home runs and 37 RBI along with 13 stolen bases.
Will Gomez be Selected? Yes. Despite his 11th-place standing among all outfielders in fan voting, Gomez has clearly earned a spot.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Joe Mauer
With the latest update in fan balloting for the American League All-Star team, Mauer had a very comfortable lead over Matt Wieters of the Baltimore Orioles.
Mauer is hitting .321 thus far, once again placing near the top in the AL batting race, certainly a familiar spot for him.
Other Twins Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
A case could be made for closer Glen Perkins, who has converted 16 of 18 save opportunities while posting a 2.45 ERA. But with so many other closers in consideration, he's a long shot at best.
New York Mets
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Matt Harvey
While he's only 5-1, Harvey can't be blamed for an inept offense that can't support him. Without question he's worthy of selection, and with the game being hosted by the Mets he's a virtual lock. His 2.04 ERA, 9.5 K/9 rate and 0.91 WHIP are easily enough to assure his selection.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: David Wright
Wright too is a virtual lock. He's polling only slightly behind Pablo Sandoval as the fans' choice for the starting third baseman. He's posted a .297 average with nine homers and 36 RBI thus far.
New York Yankees
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Robinson Cano and Mariano Rivera
With his first-place standing among second basemen in the latest update, Cano has a commanding lead over Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox.
On a team devastated by a rash of injuries, Cano has stood tall with a .278 average, 16 home runs and 42 RBI. Fans will be seeing a lot of Cano with his selection as captain of the AL Home Run Derby team as well.
With 24 saves and a 1.80 ERA, Rivera is absolutely assured of his 13th and final All-Star selection.
Not to mention the fact that AL manager Jim Leyland would be ridden out of town on a rail if Rivera wasn't selected.
Other Yankees Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
Kuroda's 6-5 record could certainly be looked upon as average, but Kuroda has been anything but average throughout the season. His 2.78 ERA and 1.04 WHIP are clear indications that the Yankees did the right thing in bringing him back.
Will Kuroda be Selected? No. As good as he's been, Leyland will have several other starters from whom to choose.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: None
The Oakland Athletics are sitting in first place in the AL West with the second-best record in the league, yet they're doing it with no one who would be labeled a superstar.
Yoenis Cespedes could be on his way to reaching that level, but he's not there yet.
Other Athletics Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
While fans may be clamoring to see a Cespedes-Yasiel Puig matchup (subscription required) in the Home Run Derby, he may not be quite there yet in terms of All-Star performance.
Cespedes has hit 13 home runs with 36 RBI, but that comes with a .240 average along with a not-so-favorable 3-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Will Cespedes be Selected? No. He's not quite there yet.
Crisp is hitting .300 with eight home runs, 25 RBI and 13 stolen bases. The average is a bit of a surprise, given his .259 mark last season. His current .886 OPS would also represent a career high.
Will Crisp be Selected? No. There are simply too many outfielders more worthy at this point.
With a .307 average, 10 home runs and 43 RBI, Donaldson has certainly inserted his name into discussion for All-Star consideration.
Will Donaldson be Selected? No. Unfortunately, there may be too many third basemen in the American League who are also worthy of selection. Donaldson will be left out in the cold.
Colon's six-game winning streak and 1,06 ERA during that span has to put him into consideration as a member of Jim Leyland's pitching staff.
Will Colon be Selected? Yes, if he continues his recent dominance.
With 17 saves and a 1.26 ERA, Balfour would be a very worthy choice as an All-Star.
Will Balfour be Selected? Yes. He's earned a spot with an outstanding first half.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Cliff Lee
With an 8-2 record and 2.55 ERA, Lee has all but assured himself of his fourth All-Star selection. He's been dominant once again with a 7.3 H/9 rate, 1.5 BB/9 rate and 5.2 K/BB rate.
Other Phillies Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
He may not appear on the most recent All-Star fan balloting update, but Brown's sizzling month of May and total of 19 home runs and 48 RBI are pacing the Phillies.
Will Brown be Selected? Yes. Brown's production is absolutely worthy of his first All-Star selection.
With a 1.46 ERA and 13 saves, Papelbon has been a rock in the Phillies bullpen thus far.
Will Papelbon be Selected? No. NL manager Bruce Bochy will have Jason Grilli, Craig Kimbrel, Edward Mujica and Aroldis Chapman. I just don't see him going with five closers.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Jason Grilli
While he won't be selected by fans, Grilli is almost certainly a slam-dunk. He notched his 25th save of the season on Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, dropping his ERA to 0.88 in the process. Grilli has been absolutely dominant, posting a 15.0 K/9 rate while walking just seven batters all season.
Other Pirates Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
The Melancon-Grilli combination for the Pirates has been absolutely lethal all season. As bad as Melancon was last year for the Red Sox, he's been the exact opposite this season, making the trade for closer Joel Hanrahan look really bad.
Will Melancon be selected? Yes. If there was ever an example for a setup man deserving of an All-Star appearance, Melancon's performance this season would be that example.
With a 6-1 record and 2.19 ERA, Locke has done a lot more than justify his spot in the Pirates rotation.
Locke has been stingy all season long, giving up just 6.3 hits per nine innings and has been especially dominant against right-handed hitters, holding them to a .197 average.
Will Locke be Selected? If I'm managing the NL squad, then absolutely. Locke may not be the sexy pick, but his numbers simply can't be ignored.
San Diego Padres
Slam-Dunk All-Star: None
Despite the Padres' recent run of victories that has them a game above .500, they don't have anyone who would be considered a lock for the National League All-Star team.
Other Padres Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
Marquis' 9-2 mark will place him in contention for a spot on the NL squad.
Will Marquis be Selected? Yes. In fact, Marquis could be the only Padres representative in New York on July 16.
San Francisco Giants
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Buster Posey
In the latest round of fan balloting, Posey holds a slight lead over Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals, with both vying for the most votes overall in the National League.
Posey's offense has surged as well, as he's hitting .316 with eight home runs and 41 RBI.
Other Giants Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
Sandoval is also in a battle with David Wright of the New York Mets, with just 127,000 votes separating the two at the top. Sandoval is currently on the disabled list with a foot strain, which could open the door for Wright in late voting.
Will Sandoval be Selected? No. I believe Wright eventually overtakes Sandoval in the voting, especially with fan sentiment growing with the belief that it's right for Wright—pardon the pun—to get the start at his home field.
With a second-place showing behind the injured Troy Tulowitzki, Crawford has an excellent chance of earning his first All-Star selection. Crawford is hitting .288 with five home runs and 28 RBI to go along with his excellent defense.
Will Crawford be Selected? Yes, especially if Tulowitzki is unable to play.
Also in second place in voting, Scutaro's finger injury has kept him out of action for the past several days. Scutaro took batting practice on Saturday and will be fitted with a customized splint, but a DL stint is still a distinct possibility. He was batting .332 at the time of the injury.
Will Scutaro be Selected? No. Even if he continues playing through the injury, he could opt to use the All-Star break for a much-needed rest rather than risk further injury in a meaningless game.
Pence is currently eighth in voting among outfielders with a .297 average with 11 home runs and 38 RBI heading into action on Sunday night.
Will Pence be Selected? No. If Bruce Bochy has his way, Pence would absolutely be selected.
“Well, he should be up there,” Bochy told Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. “I mean, he’s having a great year. It’s not just the power but the clutch hits and the stolen bases.
“Fortunately, I do have some say.”
Pence is having a nice year, but Bochy is going to have his hands full justifying his selection with limited roster spots available.
With a 6-4 record and 3.30 ERA, Bumgarner continues to show he's one of the top southpaws in the National League. But is the effort thus far good enough?
Will Bumgarner be Selected? Yes. Bumgarner is the only Giants pitcher worthy of selection, and I'd have a hard time believing that Bochy will go to New York without a member of his own pitching staff.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Felix Hernandez
Hernandez is still the ace for the Seattle Mariners, but he now very clearly has a sidekick, at least for this season.
Hernandez has been terrific in posting an 8-4 record, 2.32 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 9.5 K/9 and 5.5 K/BB rate. But Iwakuma has given him a run for his money as well.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Hisashi Iwakuma
Iwakuma faltered a bit on Sunday, giving up four runs on eight hits in five innings to the Oakland Athletics. But his 7-2 record and 2.06 ERA should absolutely give him a coveted All-Star spot.
Unfortunately, there are no Mariners position players anywhere near the top in terms of fan voting, so Hernandez and Iwakuma should be Seattle's only two All-Stars.
St. Louis Cardinals
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Yadier Molina
Molina is in a battle with Giants catcher Buster Posey not only for the starting All-Star nod, but also for the most votes in the National League.
He trails Posey by just 63,000 votes, and it's likely it will be close race to the end.
Molina is hitting a National League-leading .352 with four home runs and 36 RBI.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Carlos Beltran
Beltran surged ahead of both Justin Upton and Bryce Harper in the latest round of voting. Beltran is hitting .306 with 16 home runs and 44 RBI and continues to be a main part of a stacked Cardinals offense.
Other Cardinals Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
There's no question that Mujica is worthy of his first-ever All-Star selection. Ever since he took over as closer, Mujica has been magical, posting 19 saves with a 1.82 ERA. His efforts have had a lot to do with the Cardinals bullpen stabilizing after a rocky start.
Will Mujica be Selected? Yes
Wainwright became the majors' first 10-game winner last week and is certainly in the conversation to be the National League starting pitcher.
He's obviously fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, and his 2.18 ERA and stratospheric 10.8 K/BB rate shows that Wainwright can command any pitch he throws at just about any time.
Will Wainwright be Selected? Yes, absolutely.
With a .313 average, six home runs and 51 RBI, Craig has established himself as a big-time run producer in the Cardinals lineup.
Will Craig be Selected? No. Craig is worthy, but with so much talent at first base in front of him, he'll be spending his All-Star break in rest and repose.
Currently in third place in fan voting, Carpenter has clearly endeared himself to a fanbase that quickly picked up on his skill and tremendous talent. Carpenter is now hitting .320, good for fifth in the National League.
Will Carpenter be Selected? Yes, especially if Marco Scutaro's finger injury keeps him at home.
With a 7-4 record and 2.21 ERA, Miller is easily a contender for National League Rookie of the Year honors. He's also a contender for a spot on the All-Star team.
Will Miller be Selected? I believe he will, especially if he can continue his forward progression.
Another member of the Cardinals rotation who can't be overlooked, Lynn is 9-1 with a 3.56 ERA. While not as dominant as Wainwright or Miller, Lynn is now 26-6 as a starter over the past one-plus seasons. That's pretty dominant in itself.
Will Lynn be Selected? It could be a question of either/or between Miller and Lynn. The next two weeks could decide who goes and who is left out.
Tampa Bay Rays
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Evan Longoria
Although Longoria is fourth in voting for third basemen in updated voting results, he will be the lone representative for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Longoria's .306 average, 14 home runs and 42 RBI is certainly worthy, but he's far behind Miguel Cabrera, Manny Machado and Adrian Beltre.
Tampa Bay has to have someone there, and Longoria is the most deserving.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: None
There are quite a few Rangers position players who have been recognized by their fans with All-Star votes, but none of them are leading at this point. Nor is it a given that they'll be selected, either.
Other Rangers Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
Currently in third place in fan balloting among AL third basemen, Beltre continues to be an important part of the Rangers offense with a .305 average, 14 home runs and 38 RBI.
Will Beltre be Selected? No. With Evan Longoria possibly being the lone representative of the Tampa Bay Rays and Miguel Cabrera and Manny Machado almost certain selections, it's unlikely that AL manager Jim Leyland carries four third basemen.
Cruz helps power the Rangers offense along with Beltre with his 16 home runs and 44 RBI. Fans have given Cruz enough votes to put him in sixth place among AL outfielders.
Will Cruz be Selected? Yes. Cruz's production gets him there.
With his third-place showing among all second basemen, Kinsler still lags a good distance behind Robinson Cano and Dustin Pedroia. Kinsler also missed nearly a month on the disabled list with sore ribs.
Will Kinsler be Selected? No
Pierzynksi has hit well with a .299 average in his first season with Texas, but the production (five home runs, 17 RBI) is on a pace far below last year's numbers with the Chicago White Sox.
Will Pierzynski be Selected? No. American League manager Jim Leyland will likely have both Mauer and Wieters already. If he opts to select Salvador Perez from the Kansas City Royals or Jason Castro of the Houston Astros, Pierzynski stays at home. Even if he doesn't, Pierzynski is no lock.
Andrus is polling second among all American League shortstops, but he's clearly having a down year offensively. Andrus is hitting just .245 with no homers, 23 RBI and a .591 OPS.
Will Andrus be selected? No
With a 7-2 record and 2.64 ERA, Darvish is putting up even better numbers than he did last year with his first All-Star appearance.
Will Darvish be Selected? Yes. This time, he won't have to wait for the Final Vote.
Toronto Blue Jays
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Jose Bautista
Bautista is healthy and back bashing once again.
Fully healed from a torn wrist tendon that sidelined him for much of the second half last season, Bautista has totaled 15 home runs and 37 RBI thus far. His fifth-place standing among outfielders isn't too shabby, considering the meltdown that describes the Blue Jays season thus far.
Other Blue Jays Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
With 18 home runs and 55 RBI, Encarnacion is in the top three in both categories in the American League, showing that last year's 42 homers and 110 RBI were no fluke.
Will Encarnacion be Selected? Yes. He and Bautista will serve as the lone Blue Jays' representatives.
Lind's resurgence has been remarkable considering last season. He doesn't have enough at-bats to qualify for the American League batting title, but his .350 mark would be a close second to Miguel Cabrera.
Will Lind be Selected? No. Lind's turnaround has been remarkable, but the eight home runs and 24 RBI may not be enough production to get him there, especially with limited roster availability.
Slam-Dunk All-Star: Bryce Harper
Even though Harper has been on the disabled list with bursitis in his knee, it hasn't stopped fans from stuffing the ballot box. As it stands now, Harper is third among all outfielders in the National League, trailing only Carlos Beltran and Justin Upton.
Other Nationals Stars Deserving of All-Star Selection
Zimmermann has been the ace of the staff for the Nationals, despite the presence of both Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez in the same rotation.
Zimmermann has posted a 9-3 record and 2.44 ERA with three complete games and and efficient 0.93 WHIP.
Will Zimmermann be Selected? Yes. He's deserving of the honor.
Strasburg's 3-6 record is so not indicative of what he's delivered this season. Only Ricky Nolasco of the Miami Marlins has received less run support than Strasburg (2.69).
Sunday's outing against the Cleveland Indians was a perfect example—coming off the disabled list, Strasburg gave up just one hit over five innings and yet still lost the game. The Nationals were shut out by Corey Kluber and the Tribe.
Will Strasburg be Selected? Yes. As long as NL manager Bruce Bochy ignores the record, Strasburg's numbers are easily good enough to make him worthy of playing in New York on July 16.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.
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