With MLB All-Star voting officially closed, the time has almost come for the American League and National League rosters to be announced. It's no secret that fan voting is an inexact science, as the most deserving players don't always receive a starting nod. But there is still an opportunity for those players to make the team anyway.
Players and managers will be counted upon to make the right decisions, as their votes will determine how the rest of the rosters are filled out. After that, a list of five players who weren't voted in from each league will be submitted. The fans will have an opportunity to vote in one final player for the AL and NL respectively.
Since there are 34 players on each team, most of the guys who deserve to make the roster ultimately will. Here are three players in particular who likely weren't voted in as starters, but should be part of the MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field regardless.
St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig has developed into one of the league's most consistent hitters over the past couple years, and there is no question that he should be part of the NL's roster. He hasn't displayed a ton of power, hitting just 10 home runs, but with 66 RBI and a batting average over .320, he has had a monster year.
Despite that, he didn't get much love in the fan voting.
Which player is most deserving of a spot in the All-Star Game?
According to ESPN.com, Craig was third in NL All-Star voting among first basemen on July 2. Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto was leading the vote, with Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks in second.
It's tough to argue with Goldschmidt, as he is hitting over .300 with 20 home runs. But Craig should unquestionably be ahead of Votto. His .325 average and 14 homers are impressive, but his 39 RBI pale in comparison to Craig's 66.
Craig simply isn't a household name, and that is probably why he didn't receive as many votes as he should have. Also, first base is a position that generally contains a lot of pop, so his 10 home runs don't jump off the page.
With that said, it can certainly be argued that Craig has been the Cardinals' best hitter this season. He has a legitimate shot to win the NL RBI crown this season, and he is third among qualifiers in batting average as well. It would be a crime if he didn't make it to Flushing, N.Y.
Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson has been one of the league's biggest revelations this season. The A's have once again exceeded expectations, and Donaldson's hot hitting has plenty to do with it. This season marks his first as a full-time starter, and he has made the most of his opportunity.
Despite his fantastic numbers, it won't be easy for Donaldson to make the AL All-Star team. Jon Morosi of Fox Sports believes that he is deserving of a sport regardless of the stiff competition, though:
Oakland’s Josh Donaldson deserves All-Star consideration despite heavy competition at 3B in AL: .883 OPS, .308 BA, 12 HR, 51 RBI.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 28, 2013
It's hard to argue, as Donaldson's numbers have actually improved since Morosi tweeted about his spectacular season. He is in the top 10 in the American league in both batting average at .314 and RBI with 55. He has also clubbed a respectable 14 home runs at a position that is known for power production.
Incredibly, Donaldson was just fifth in All-Star voting at third base as of July 2, according to ESPN.com. He trailed Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles, Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers and Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays.
In a perfect world, all five players would make the team, as they are all deserving. It's hard to imagine that more than three of them will actually be selected, however.
Cabrera is a lock to make the team, but hairs will need to be split between Machado, Beltre, Longoria and Donaldson. Not only are Donaldson's numbers comparable to those players—and even better in some cases—but the fact that the A's are playing so well should factor into the decision as well.
Shortstop Jean Segura showed a great deal of promise in 44 games for the Milwaukee Brewers last season, but nobody could have predicted the breakout campaign he would have this year. The 23-year-old shortstop has been absolutely spectacular and has largely carried the Brewers' offense in the absence of injured outfielder Ryan Braun.
Despite the fact that shortstop isn't particularly strong in the NL, Segura was just third in the voting as of July 2, according to Jeff Maillet of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
He trailed Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and Brandon Crawford of the San Francisco Giants, though Tulowitzki is currently injured and Crawford isn't a legitimate threat to make the team.
With that in mind, Segura could very well start the 2013 All-Star Game, even if he isn't voted in as a starter by the fans. It's tough to argue against that, as he is second in the NL with 26 stolen bases and fourth with a .323 average. He also has surprising pop, as his 11 home runs are second among NL shortstops behind Ian Desmond of the Washington Nationals.
If Tulowitzki can't play in the MLB All-Star Game, then Segura's biggest challenge will come from Desmond. The Nationals shortstop is another player who deserves better than his voting suggests, as he was not even among the top five shortstops in All-Star voting as of July 2, according to ESPN.com.
Desmond has more power than Segura, but Segura is more of a traditional shortstop who can change the game with his speed and defense, as well as his bat. He absolutely must have a spot on the NL All-Star team.
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