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That’s right, FIVE.
I think we can agree that there are three obvious picks.
David Ortiz has been voted in nearly unanimously by the fans and will almost definitely start the All-Star game at DH.
Clay Buchholz, the current AL leader in ERA, will certainly earn a spot on the roster as well, although his recent injury means he will likely not get a chance to start the game.
Dustin Pedroia looks set to finish a close second behind Robinson Cano in the fan vote at second base. However, he currently ranks third in the league in WAR and is one of only nine other players in baseball who currently holds an on-base percentage over .400. Pedroia is a shoo-in to be on the bench.
But who else will be there?
The fourth pick is John Lackey.
Despite his brilliant season, Lackey has gone largely unnoticed while performing in the shadow of Clay Buchholz. However, with Jon Lester struggling, the two have effectively become the co-aces of Boston’s staff.
On the season, Lackey is 6-5 with a dominant 2.81 ERA in 86.1 innings of work. He has registered 79 strikeouts and just 18 walks over that span. Lackey has been one of the best pitchers in the AL this year and is more than deserving of a spot on the roster.
The fifth pick has been the subject of some controversy.
Because Daniel Nava was a bench player on the Opening Day roster, he is not on the All-Star fan ballot. However, that does not mean he will not play in the game.
Historically, the All-Star manager chooses two types of players to join the All-Star squad. One, they select players from their own team who they are familiar with. And two, they choose quality all-around performers who can play multiple positions.
Michael Cuddyer, for example, was an All-Star in 2011 with a pedestrian .804 OPS simply because Ron Washington wanted to have the best available utility player. At the time, that player was Cuddyer.
Nava provides a great deal of value to any manager. He is a switch-hitter. He gets on base. He works counts extensively. He can play all three outfield spots and first base. And he hits for average with some surprising power. It would be a no-brainer for Jim Leyland to bring Nava onto the roster.