Projecting All 30 MLB Teams' 2013 All-Star Representatives

Kerry MillerCollege Basketball National AnalystJuly 5, 2013

Projecting All 30 MLB Teams' 2013 All-Star Representatives

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    Fan voting for MLB's 2013 All-Star Game came to a close at 11:59 p.m. ET on July 4, and full rosters will be revealed on Fox on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

    Whether you cast 5,000 votes or zero, you've more than likely formulated an opinion on which players belong on the All-Star team and which ones don't.

    Few things in life will divide an entire nation more rapidly than making projections of All-Star rosters. Open up a discussion with a few baseball fans about whether or not they think Yasiel Puig should be an All-Star, and you could be lighting the fuse for World War Puig.

    Almost every fanbase seems to believe that it roots for at least half a dozen guys who are worthy of being All-Stars. Unfortunately, only 34 roster spots are available in each league, so you should be thankful if more than two of your hometown heroes make the cut.

    With that in mind, here is the final team-by-team breakdown of projected 2013 All-Stars—along with the player that I foresee as being the biggest snub from each team.

     

    *All statistics are courtesy of FanGraphs.com and ESPN.com and are accurate through the start of play on Thursday, July 4.

Baltimore Orioles (Four All-Stars)

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    Chris Davis: Starting first baseman

    J.J. Hardy: Starting shortstop

    Adam Jones: Starting outfielder

    Manny Machado: Reserve third baseman

    Biggest Snub: Jim Johnson

     

    The first three guys are foregone conclusions. All three of them had a cushion of at least one million votes as of this past Monday, and they've all done more than enough to earn their spots on the roster.

    Davis has half a dozen more home runs than anyone else in baseball. Jones is batting nearly .300 and is one of just two players with at least 15 home runs and nine stolen bases. And Hardy's 15 home runs are nearly as many as every other qualified American League shortstop combined.

    Third base is going to be a point of controversy in the American League, but Machado needs to be in the All-Star Game. Not only has he been the most valuable fielder in baseball, he is 26 percent more valuable than the second-best defender. Plus, he's on pace to set an all-time record for doubles in a season.

    Johnson enters play on Independence Day with the most saves in the league, but he's also tied for the most blown saves in the AL. He doesn't exactly have an ERA that screams, "This guy needs to be in the bullpen for a game that determines home-field advantage for the World Series."

Boston Red Sox (Four All-Stars)

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    David Ortiz: Starting designated hitter

    Dustin Pedroia: Reserve second baseman

    Jacoby Ellsbury: Reserve outfielder

    Koji Uehara: Relief pitcher

    Clay Buchholz: Injured reserve

    Biggest Snub: Daniel Nava

     

    It's unlikely that Buchholz will return to full health within the next 10 days before the All-Star Game. Even if he's back on the mound, you have to assume it'll be one of those "thanks but no thanks" situations where he refrains from being included on the active roster in order to keep from re-aggravating his neck injury.

    Regarding the rest of the roster, Ortiz has more than double the number of votes that the next-closest designated hitter has, so there's a good chance he'll get the starting job.

    Pedroia trails Robinson Cano by a considerable margin, but he's actually the AL's best second baseman in wins above replacement (WAR) and will no doubt get a reserve spot.

    Ellsbury has the most stolen bases right now and is a .300 hitter with above-average defense. Frankly, I'm flabbergasted he isn't closer to one of the three starting spots in the outfield.

    Uehara is probably a stretch, but I feel he has been one of the most valuable relief pitchers. He's only 12th among AL relievers in WAR, but he's been a solid source of strikeouts all season. He has finally restored some order to the back end of a Red Sox bullpen that has already sputtered through Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey this season.

    Nava wouldn't actually be anything close to a prototypical snub, but I wanted to give props to his 10 home runs and .285 batting average. I doubt anyone expected those numbers after he batted just .243 with seven home runs in his first 148 big league games over the past two seasons.

Chicago White Sox (Two All-Stars)

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    Chris Sale: Reserve pitcher

    Jesse Crain: Relief pitcher

    Biggest Snub: Alex Rios

     

    Sale is a no-brainer. Despite a 1-5 record, he has at least 10 strikeouts in four of his last seven outings. He's gradually creeping into consideration for the AL Cy Young award, which means he's definitely an All-Star.

    Crain is also a no-brainer if you're a part of the sabermetric community. Crain has the highest WAR of any relief pitcher and is probably going to be the most sought-after pitcher at the trading deadline.

    Rios hasn't even reached one million votes from the fans, and I'm not sure why. The 32-year-old has 11 home runs and 15 stolen bases and has been one of the more valuable fielding outfielders in the American League. If the White Sox weren't 15 games below .500, one has to assume Rios would be getting more respect.

Cleveland Indians (Two All-Stars)

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    Carlos Santana: Reserve catcher

    Jason Kipnis: Reserve second baseman

    Biggest Snub: Justin Masterson

     

    Kipnis was dreadful for the first four weeks of the season, but literally no one was more valuable than him in the month of June. If only two second basemen make the AL roster, it would be a crime against either Kipnis or Pedroia.

    Taking an opposite approach to the season than Kipnis, Santana slowed down after an incredible April, but he's still the second-best catcher in the American League.

    Masterson leads the majors in complete-game shutouts with three, but he has a 4.45 ERA in his other 15 starts. Unless the National League roster is made up of the entire Chicago White Sox lineup, I wouldn't want Masterson on the mound at any point in the Midsummer Classic.

Detroit Tigers (Three All-Stars)

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    Miguel Cabrera: Starting third baseman

    Max Scherzer: Starting pitcher

    Jhonny Peralta: Reserve shortstop

    Biggest Snub: Prince Fielder

     

    A little less than a month ago, I had Scherzer as a fringe candidate to start the All-Star Game. Since then, he has improved his record to 13-0, jumped out to the league lead in wins above replacement and benefited from injuries to Anibal Sanchez and Clay Buchholz.

    A handful of guys could conceivably bypass him with a couple of great starts in the next 10 days—namely Yu Darvish, Chris Sale or Felix Hernandez—but as of right now, I like Scherzer to get the starting job.

    Now that I've pleased fans in Detroit with my praise of Scherzer, it's time for them to get angry at me for my exclusion of Fielder.

    Not only does Fielder not make the All-Star roster as a reserve, but I didn't even have him on my list of potential options. Adam Lind, Mark Trumbo and James Loney are all more deserving of a spot than Fielder, and none of them is anywhere close to beating out Edwin Encarnacion for the backup first baseman job.

    Fielder enters play on July 4 as the 15th-most valuable first baseman in the American League. As far as wins above replacement are concerned, he's just barely better than a replacement-level player.

    If he doesn't make the roster, prepare yourself for a ton of outrage and a ton of votes in the final player balloting.

Houston Astros (One All-Star)

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    Jason Castro: Reserve catcher

    Biggest Snubs: Bud Norris and Jose Altuve

     

    Castro is a questionable inclusion, but he's having a solid season. Houston is required to have a representative at the game, but Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia and Jason Kipnis are collectively keeping Jose Altuve from making the roster as a second baseman.

    The only other viable option on Houston's roster would be Bud Norris, but there are literally a dozen better starting pitchers in the AL.

Kansas City Royals (Three All-Stars)

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    James Shields: Reserve pitcher

    Alex Gordon: Reserve outfielder

    Greg Holland: Relief pitcher

    Biggest Snub: Salvador Perez

     

    Shields has a win-loss record of just 3-6, but he had a sub-3.00 ERA through the start of play on July 4 and a K/BB ratio of better than 3.00. He's one of nine American League pitchers on that list, and at least five of the other eight will be on the All-Star roster.

    Gordon was mired in quite a slump from May 22 through June 22—batting just .171 with no home runs and only one stolen base—but he's still the sixth-most valuable outfielder in the American League. As long as Wednesday's head injury doesn't have him on the disabled list two weeks from now, he should make the roster.

    Holland doesn't have a ton of saves this season, but he has converted 18 of his 20 opportunities and has the highest K/9 among all relievers in the AL.

    Perez has been solid, but with Joe Mauer, Carlos Santana and Jason Castro already on the roster, there isn't enough room for a fourth catcher.

Los Angeles Angels (One All-Star)

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    Mike Trout: Starting outfielder

    Biggest Snub: Howie Kendrick

     

    This just in: Mike Trout is a good ballplayer.

    Regarding Kendrick, his exclusion from the roster is similar to Jose Altuve's. There are just way too many better-than-average second basemen and third basemen in the American League this year. A .319 batting average with nine home runs and six stolen bases is nothing to scoff at, but it doesn't catapult him ahead of Jason Kipnis or Dustin Pedroia.

    You could also make an argument here for Mark Trumbo as a snub. Aside from Adam Dunn, he'll have one of the largest home run totals that doesn't make the cut. However, his 18 home runs are nothing compared to Chris Davis' 32 or Edwin Encarnacion's 23.

Minnesota Twins (One All-Star)

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    Joe Mauer: Starting catcher

    Biggest Snub: Glen Perkins

     

    Mauer isn't quite as great as he used to be, but there's still no one within a mile of him in terms of value added from the catcher position.

    The decision between Perkins and Koji Uehara as the final reliever will come down to whether or not Jim Leyland wants two left-handed pitchers at his disposal at the end of the game.

    With the exception of Freddie Freeman and Domonic Brown, all of the projected reserves for the National League are right-handed hitters. Because of that, you would think that Leyland would want to load up the bullpen with right-handed pitchers, even though Perkins has been dominant against right-handed hitters all season.

New York Yankees (Three All-Stars)

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    Robinson Cano: Starting second baseman

    Mariano Rivera: Closer

    Brett Gardner: Reserve outfielder

    Biggest Snub: CC Sabathia

     

    No matter which side you're rooting for in this game, we're all not-so-secretly hoping that there will be a save situation for Rivera in the ninth inning. I would still argue that they should make him the starter just in case it winds up not being a close game, but there's no arguing that he'll be on the roster.

    Gardner is the only source of potential debate from the Yankees. There shouldn't be any argument, though. He's the fourth-most valuable outfielder in the American League and is having perhaps the best season of his career.

    The biggest snub has nothing to do with Sabathia's size, but it is a comical coincidence. Really, though, Sabathia is nowhere close to making the AL roster. His ERA is the worst we've seen in nearly a decade, and his strikeouts are a bit worse than usual as well.

    Hiroki Kuroda would have been a decent nominee for the Yankees snub if not for the hip flexor injury he's currently dealing with.

Oakland Athletics (Two All-Stars)

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    Bartolo Colon: Reserve pitcher

    Josh Donaldson: Reserve third baseman

    Biggest Snub: Coco Crisp

     

    Colon is far from a traditional All-Star pitcher. His 4.84 K/9 rate is by far the lowest among AL starters with a WAR of at least 1.0, yet he has the third-lowest ERA among that same group of 27 pitchers. It doesn't make sense—and his xFIP suggests that it won't last forever—but he definitely belongs on the All-Star roster.

    I have my doubts about Donaldson making the cut, because he's the fourth third baseman that I have on the roster. Jim Leyland could call Evan Longoria his reserve designated hitter and have Donaldson as his third third baseman or just put him on the roster as a potential pinch hitter.

    Donaldson has 14 home runs and the ninth-highest wins above replacement among all major league hitters right now, so there would be a metric ton of backlash from bloggers everywhere if he missed the cut.

    As far as Crisp is concerned, missing 20 games this season did not do him any favors. If he had played in 83 games instead of 63 games and maintained his current paces, he might have made the roster as a starter.

Seattle Mariners (Two All-Stars)

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    Felix Hernandez: Reserve pitcher

    Hisashi Iwakuma: Reserve pitcher

    Biggest Snub: Kyle Seager

     

    I'm afraid that Iwakuma might claim the role of biggest snub.

    I left Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander off the roster, even though all three of them could legitimately make the team. If any starting pitcher is going to get bumped in order to make room for one of those three guys, it's Iwakuma.

    I would argue that he has done more than enough to earn a spot ahead of those Tigers. His last three starts—not including Thursday night's start against the Rangers—have put a significant damper on some of his season-to-date statistics. But he still entered play on July 4 with the lowest ERA among qualified AL starters.

    And if I was worried that Josh Donaldson might get left off the roster because he's the fourth-best third baseman in the American League, there's almost no chance that Seager would make the team as the fifth-best third baseman. He would almost certainly be the primary backup in the National League, but there's no room for him in the AL.

Tampa Bay Rays (One All-Star)

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    Evan Longoria: Reserve third baseman

    Biggest Snub: James Loney

     

    With most of the teams that are only projected to send one representative to the All-Star Game, you can take one look at the standings for it to make perfect sense.

    The Rays, however, are five games over .500, and you would have to be ignorant to argue that anyone other than Longoria deserves to be an All-Star.

    James Loney has had a great season for James Loney, but he hasn't been one of the three best first basemen in the American League. The pitching staff has been collectively good enough to keep them in games, but no individual pitcher stands out as one of the 10 or even 15 best in the league.

    They've done more with less than any other team to this point in the season.

Texas Rangers (Three All-Stars)

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    Yu Darvish: Reserve pitcher

    Derek Holland: Reserve pitcher

    Joe Nathan: Relief pitcher

    Biggest Snub: Nelson Cruz

     

    Darvish and Holland are both in the top five in the AL in wins above replacement. It's doubtful that either will be able to claim the starting job, but they will both make the roster.

    Nathan has converted 27 of his 28 save opportunities and has a 1.47 ERA. If Mariano Rivera's inclusion as the closer wasn't such a sentimental one, Nathan would probably be in the running for the ninth-inning role.

    If Cruz makes the roster—and especially if he makes it while Josh Donaldson doesn't make it—it will be a giant smack in the face of sabermetricians everywhere.

    Cruz's wins above replacement rank him as the 20th-best outfielder in the American League. Despite 20 home runs, his poor fielding and baserunning leave him significantly closer to being a replacement-level player than an All-Star.

Toronto Blue Jays (Two All-Stars)

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    Jose Bautista: Starting outfielder

    Edwin Encarnacion: Reserve first baseman

    Biggest Snub: Colby Rasmus

     

    It shouldn't come as a surprise that the Blue Jays have hit the second-most home runs in baseball in 2013. Both Bautista and Encarnacion have heated up over the past month after seeing their power numbers tail off a bit in May.

    Even Adam Lind joined the party by belting seven home runs in June. If he had gotten more playing time over the first six weeks of the season, his batting average and power would have likely propelled him much further into this discussion.

    Other consistent sources of power have been Rasmus and J.P. Arencibia.

    Unfortunately for them and their combined 30 home runs, they've also combined to bat about .225 while striking out more than 32 percent of the time. Kudos to Rasmus for playing good enough defense to rack up a WAR of 2.3, but if Adam Dunn's bat isn't making the 2013 All-Star team, there's no way Rasmus' is either.

Arizona Diamondbacks (Two All-Stars)

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    Paul Goldschmidt: Starting designated hitter

    Patrick Corbin: Reserve pitcher

    Biggest Snub: Gerardo Parra

     

    Though there's no vote for the designated hitter in the National League, there still needs to be a starting DH.

    Who better to fill that role than the best hitter the NL has to offer?

    Goldschmidt is batting better than .300 with 20 home runs. The only other players who can make that claim are Miguel Cabrera and Chris Davis.

    If you look at nothing but record, you would be inclined to assume Corbin is falling apart. He's 0-1 in his last six starts, but he also picked up four of his 14 quality starts on the season over that stretch. He's still still top 10 in the NL in ERA and has almost single-handedly carried an otherwise helpless pitching staff.

    Parra has had a great season filling the role that was supposed to be held by Adam Eaton, but trying to make the National League All-Star roster as an outfielder might be more difficult than trying to make the AL roster as a third baseman.

    If Jay Bruce, Shin-Soo Choo and Dexter Fowler aren't going to make the cut, I can't imagine Parra would.

Atlanta Braves (Two All-Stars)

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    Freddie Freeman: Reserve first baseman

    Craig Kimbrel: Relief pitcher

    Biggest Snubs: Mike Minor and Justin Upton

     

    With Joey Votto getting the starting job at first base and Paul Goldschmidt projected as the designated hitter, the remaining options at first base in the National League leave a lot to be desired.

    You could make an argument for Brandon Belt instead of Freeman as the backup, but I would much rather have Freeman's .313 batting average and .386 on-base percentage in the latter innings of the game.

    If he does make the All-Star roster, this should be the first of many career trips to the Midsummer Classic for the 23-year-old. When healthy, he has the potential to bat .300 and hit 35 home runs per season for a long time.

    Kimbrel's numbers aren't the best of his career, but he's still striking out better than 36 percent of the batters he's facing. He had a rough patch of games in late April and early May, but over his last 17 innings he has allowed 10 hits, seven walks and zero runs with 22 strikeouts.

    Minor has been better than an average pitcher, but his last four starts have dropped him to 17th in the NL in wins above replacement and arguably out of the discussion for the All-Star roster.

    Upton was almost unanimously expected to be the NL MVP after hitting 12 home runs in April, but he has been a complete non-factor since then, batting .224 with just three home runs.

    If Bryce Harper is able to bypass him for the third outfield spot, it's unlikely that Upton would make the team as a reserve.

Chicago Cubs (One All-Star)

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    Jeff Samardzija: Reserve pitcher

    Biggest Snub: Travis Wood

     

    One of these two starting pitchers is going to make the NL All-Star roster. Not because they've both been particularly amazing, but because of the archaic rule that every team must be represented at the All-Star game.

    Because he's a better source of strikeouts and has a much lower FIP and xFIP, Samardzija is the guy I would much rather rely on for a couple of outs in the fifth or sixth inning.

Cincinnati Reds (Four All-Stars)

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    Joey Votto: Starting first baseman

    Brandon Phillips: Starting second baseman

    Aroldis Chapman: Relief pitcher

    Homer Bailey: Reserve pitcher

    Biggest Snub: Jay Bruce

     

    Second base in the National League is one of the few spots where fans dropped the ball. I'm content with Phillips making the roster as a reserve, but Matt Carpenter needs to be the starting second baseman.

    Sure, Phillips has a few more home runs than Carpenter, but Carpenter has been more than twice as valuable as Phillips. He has 25 percent more hits and 43 percent more runs scored. But I digress. My job is to predict the rosters, not to perfect them.

    Bailey was a borderline inclusion until his no-hitter earlier this week. Now that he's top-five in the NL in wins above replacement, it's hard to deny him a spot. Frankly, he may have replaced teammate Mat Latos in the All-Star rotation.

    No Bruce is arguably more disturbing than no Latos, though. The Reds slugger is sixth in the league in home runs and has been admirably reliable in the field, as we mentioned earlier this week. However, he isn't even one of the top 10 outfielders, according to wins above replacement.

Colorado Rockies (Two All-Stars)

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    Carlos Gonzalez: Starting outfielder

    Michael Cuddyer: Reserve outfielder/designated hitter

    Troy Tulowitzki: Injured reserve

    Biggest Snub: Dexter Fowler

     

    As long as the Rockies remain competitive in the NL West, Gonzalez will probably be the NL MVP this season. He's batting .294, leading the NL in home runs and has also stolen 15 bases this season. It's unlikely he'll join the 40-HR/40-SB club, but he could potentially become the first member of the 50-HR/30-SB club.

    Cuddyer is evidently something of a bumbling idiot in the field, but he has the second-best batting average in the National League and was the only person thus far this season to put together a long enough hitting streak to garner some national attention.

    In half a season, Fowler's numbers are already about as good as his numbers from the entire 2012 season. However, because the outfielders ranked 19th and 23rd in wins above replacement (Bryce Harper and Carlos Beltran, respectively) are among the three likely to win the starting job via the fan vote, Fowler will be one of the last NL outfielders to miss the cut.

Los Angeles Dodgers (Two All-Stars)

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    Clayton Kershaw: Reserve pitcher

    Yasiel Puig: Reserve outfielder

    Biggest Snub: Kenley Jansen

     

    Kershaw obviously makes the cut, and Jansen hasn't been good enough to supplant either of the other relievers on the roster.

    Is that enough analysis on those other two names? Because we all know that all of the discussion about this team is going to revolve around Yasiel Puig.

    Whether I put him on the roster or not, half of you are going to be furious. So, with apologies to all the haters out there, I say Puig needs to be in the All-Star Game.

    In 28 games, he already has the highest wins above replacement in the entire Dodgers lineup. He's ninth in wins above replacement among all NL outfielders despite receiving about 30 percent as many plate appearances as the players ahead of him. More notably, he is ahead of so many more players who have received more than three times as many at-bats as him.

    He has single-handedly reignited excitement about the Dodgers and about baseball in general.

    There's no rule stating that a player has to have a minimum number of at-bats or innings pitched in order to qualify for the All-Star Game, so please stop using his limited experience as an excuse to keep him off the roster.

    If you believe that the players being left off the list in order for him to be included—players like Shin-Soo Choo, Jay Bruce, Daniel Murphy and Dexter Fowler—are better players than Puig, that's fine. You're entitled to your opinion. But to use his lack of big league experience as your primary argument is beyond lazy.

    He entered play on July 4 with a batting average of .440. Aside from Puig, only Marco Scutaro (.420 in May) and Jason Kipnis (.419 in June) have batted better than .400 for an entire month this season.

    Let Puig play.

Miami Marlins (One All-Star)

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    Jose Fernandez: Reserve pitcher

    Biggest Snub: Marcell Ozuna

     

    The kid is good, and he's only getting better.

    Over his last six starts, Fernandez has a 1.34 ERA and a K/9 of 9.37. Even without the benefit of the eight shutout innings with 10 strikeouts that he had on July 1, Fernandez had the sixth-best wins above replacement among all starting pitchers in the month of June.

    It won't be much longer before he joins Matt Harvey and Stephen Strasburg in the discussions about the best pitcher in the NL East.

    Ozuna has been solid in his rookie season, but come on. The chances of these Marlins sending two representatives to the All-Star Game are less than the chances of Ricky Nolasco still pitching in Miami a month from now.

Milwaukee Brewers (Two All-Stars)

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    Jean Segura: Starting shortstop

    Carlos Gomez: Reserve outfielder

    Biggest Snub: None

     

    Troy Tulowitzki is leading the vote at shortstop in the National League, but he isn't expected to return from the disabled list until after the break.

    As such, I'm assuming that Segura will be granted the starting job. He's batting .320 with 11 home runs and 24 stolen bases. Everth Cabrera has more stolen bases and Ian Desmond has more home runs, but Segura has arguably been the most reliable option of the three over the course of the season.

    Gomez has the highest wins above replacement among all National League outfielders. He's an All-Star. End of discussion.

    Aside from those two guys, the Brewers have nothing to offer. The pitching staff is among the worst in the NL, and the only other positional player with a better WAR than 1.1 is Ryan Braun. He hasn't played in a few weeks and won't be back anytime soon.

New York Mets (Two All-Stars)

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    David Wright: Starting third baseman

    Matt Harvey: Starting pitcher

    Biggest Snub: Daniel Murphy

     

    Wright has the highest wins above replacement among batters in the National League.

    Harvey is tied with Adam Wainwright for the highest wins above replacement among pitchers in the National League. Considering the game is being played at Citi Field, he'll be the starting pitcher as long as he remains within shouting distance of being the best pitcher in the league.

    For Murphy, it's close but no cigar. He's an above-average fielder with a respectable batting average, average power and average speed. There's literally nothing about him that stands out from the crowd enough to warrant inclusion on the All-Star team.

    The only possible rationale for Murphy to make the team is so the hometown fans have more players to cheer for. If he makes the team instead of Yasiel Puig or Ian Desmond, it would be a huge mistake.

Philadelphia Phillies (Two All-Stars)

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    Cliff Lee: Reserve pitcher

    Domonic Brown: Reserve outfielder

    Biggest Snub: Chase Utley

     

    In honor of Manny Ramirez's minor league deal with the Texas Rangers, this is just Cliff being Cliff. For a sixth consecutive season, Lee has an ERA of less than 3.25 and a K/BB ratio better than 4.20. He's likely headed toward a wins above replacement of at least 6.0 for the fifth time in the last six years.

    Should both Adam Wainwright and Matt Harvey pitch their way out of the starting job, Lee would be a formidable third-best option.

    For Brown, on the other hand, 2013 has been anything other than business as usual. He has 34 career home runs in the majors, and 22 of them have come this year. His best wins above replacement in any previous season was a negative 0.2.

    Jason Grilli's emergence may have been more surprising considering his age, but Brown is at least in the running for the "Where did that guy come from?" award.

    Utley is rapidly sneaking into the discussion as a reserve second baseman, but the 25 games that he missed while on the disabled list earlier this season didn't do much to help his case.

Pittsburgh Pirates (Three All-Stars)

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    Andrew McCutchen: Reserve outfielder

    Pedro Alvarez: Reserve third baseman

    Jason Grilli: Closer

    Biggest Snub: Mark Melancon

     

    It's a shame there aren't more fans in Pittsburgh, because McCutchen has done more than enough over the past two-and-a-half seasons to have earned a starting job in center field at the All-Star Game. Alas, he was sixth in the voting among outfielders as of Tuesday. He'll no doubt make the team as a reserve, though.

    Alvarez is less of a sure thing, but with him and Todd Frazier having the same batting average and wins above replacement, doesn't it just make sense to take the guy with 21 home runs over the guy with 10 of them?

    Regarding the Pirates bullpen, even though they both deserve to go, two All-Star relievers from the same team is just crazy talk. Forced to choose between Grilli and Melancon, you gotta go with the one posting a lower FIP in situations with higher stress levels.

San Diego Padres (One All-Star)

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    Everth Cabrera: Reserve shortstop

    Biggest Snub: Eric Stults

     

    Cabrera hasn't played in more than two weeks, but he's still the only thing on the Padres roster that even remotely resembles an All-Star player.

    He doesn't have any power, but his speed more than makes up for a lack of pop. His 31 stolen bases have propelled him to the league lead in runs created on the basepaths.

    Beyond Cabrera, the pickings are slim.

    Chase Headley was supposed to be the keystone of the Padres lineup, but he's just barely been able to keep his batting average above .200 and doesn't have nearly the power that he showcased in 2012.

    Compared to the rest of the staff, Stults looks like the Greek god of the pitching mound. But compared to the rest of the league, you'd be hard-pressed to even consider it a snub for him to be nowhere near the All-Star discussion.

San Francisco Giants (Three All-Stars)

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    Sergio Romo: Relief pitcher

    Buster Posey: Reserve catcher

    Hunter Pence: Reserve outfielder

    Biggest Snub: Marco Scutaro

     

    Despite a 1.93 ERA over the past three-and-a-half seasons and coming off one of the more dominant postseasons in recent memory, Romo remains underrated.

    Maybe it's because half the country is already asleep by the hour he's making most of his saves, but it's safe to say Bruce Bochy has noticed his success and would feel more comfortable handing him the ball than any other reliever.

    Posey is a no-brainer, and Pence frankly should be. He has 13 home runs and 13 stolen bases on the season. Pence is one of six players in the majors with at least a dozen of both, and the other five—Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Gomez, Mike Trout, David Wright and Jason Kipnis—have already been listed as definite inclusions in the All-Star Game.

    If Scutaro is a snub, he isn't much of one. Both Chase Utley and Daniel Murphy are also missing the cut among second basemen, and they have been more valuable than Scutaro.

St. Louis Cardinals (Four All-Stars)

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    Carlos Beltran: Starting outfielder

    Yadier Molina: Starting catcher

    Matt Carpenter: Reserve second baseman

    Adam Wainwright: Reserve pitcher

    Biggest Snub: Everyone else on the pitching staff

     

    I have to hand it to Cardinals fans: You guys sure are good at stuffing the ballot boxes.

    Five million votes for Beltran? Seriously? I mean, yes, his 19 home runs are more than any of us probably expected. But given the plethora of options to choose from in the outfield in the National League, how in the world is Beltran the overwhelming favorite?

    It's simple, really. Fans in St. Louis are voting like crazy.

    There's no other possible explanation for it. Nor is there any rationale whatsoever for Pete Kozma receiving nearly two million votes. He's batting .236 with one home run, and his baserunning has been a detriment to his team.

    The bizarre thing is that fans in St. Louis filled out such an absurd number of ballots for Beltran and Molina yet failed to lock down the starting job at second base for Carpenter. He deserves a starting spot on the roster more than Beltran and arguably more than Molina when you consider Buster Posey is also in play at catcher.

    In other news, if any team is going to send five or more players to the All-Star Game this year, you're looking at it. Though I didn't include Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn, Edward Mujica or Trevor Rosenthal in my final roster, they're all worthy of consideration.

    If not for the fact that we had to include someone from Chicago and someone from Miami, there would have been two more Cardinals pitchers in this All-Star rotation.

Washington Nationals (Three All-Stars)

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    Bryce Harper: Starting outfielder

    Ian Desmond: Reserve shortstop

    Jordan Zimmermann: Reserve pitcher

    Biggest Snub: Stephen Strasburg

     

    As with Hisashi Iwakuma in the American League, I'm most worried about Ian Desmond getting snubbed in the National League. If Jean Segura is the starter and Everth Cabrera is the only viable option from San Diego, that's already two roster spots dedicated to shortstops.

    Would Bruce Bochy take a third shortstop? He certainly should. Desmond has been a streaky hitter at times, but when he's hot, there's no better middle infielder in the National League.

    With Harper, I'm operating under the assumption that he'll leapfrog Justin Upton for the third spot in the outfield in the final voting tally. If I'm wrong on that, he'll probably make the team as a reserve. If I'm also wrong on that, he'll almost certainly make the team in the final vote.

    The win-loss record won't show it, but Strasburg has reclaimed the throne from Zimmermann as the best pitcher in the nation's capital. Zimmermann has three times as many wins, but Strasburg has a lower ERA, lower FIP and better strikeout numbers.

    If he hadn't missed a few starts while on the disabled list, it would be more of a snub. As it stands, Zimmermann has been the more durable and valuable pitcher and is more deserving of the All-Star spot.

American League Recap

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    C: Joe Mauer, Carlos Santana, Jason Castro

    1B: Chris Davis, Edwin Encarnacion

    2B: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Kipnis

    3B: Miguel Cabrera, Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson

    SS: J.J. Hardy, Jhonny Peralta

    OF (starting): Mike Trout, Adam Jones, Jose Bautista

    OF (reserve): Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Alex Gordon

    DH: David Ortiz, Evan Longoria

    SP: Max Scherzer, Felix Hernandez, Yu Darvish, Chris Sale, Derek Holland, James Shields, Bartolo Colon, Hisashi Iwakuma

    RP: Mariano Rivera, Joe Nathan, Greg Holland, Jesse Crain, Koji Uehara

National League Recap

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    C: Yadier Molina, Buster Posey

    1B: Joey Votto, Freddie Freeman

    2B: Brandon Phillips, Matt Carpenter

    3B: David Wright, Pedro Alvarez

    SS: Jean Segura, Everth Cabrera, Ian Desmond

    OF (starting): Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gonzalez, Bryce Harper

    OF (reserve): Andrew McCutchen, Domonic Brown, Hunter Pence, Carlos Gomez, Yasiel Puig

    DH: Paul Goldschmidt, Michael Cuddyer

    SP: Matt Harvey, Adam Wainwright, Cliff Lee, Clayton Kershaw, Patrick Corbin, Jordan Zimmermann, Jose Fernandez, Jeff Samardzija, Homer Bailey

    RP: Jason Grilli, Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman, Sergio Romo