Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman surprised many baseball fans by winning the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Final Vote over Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig to earn the last spot on the National League squad.
With Freeman now missing the game due to injury, many thought Puig might get a call to the summer showcase. That won't be the case, however, as the Braves confirmed that Freeman's teammate, Brian McCann, will replace the injured All-Star on the NL roster.
Brian McCann will replace Freddie Freeman in this year's All-Star Game.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) July 14, 2013
Baseball Tonight delivered the news on Sunday:
Braves 1B Freddie Freeman will not play in All-Star Game due to thumb injury— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) July 14, 2013
It is certainly an unfortunate revelation for Freeman, as he worked hard to make the All-Star team.
According to Alyson Footer of MLB.com, Freeman set a Final Vote record with an incredible 19.7 million votes. Puig was his only true contender, but Freeman's dominance over the southern United States was key.
Most figured that Puig would easily win the vote due to the fact that he has taken the league by storm since getting called up in June. There seems to be some trepidation when it comes to putting a rookie on the All-Star team when he hasn't been up with the big club for the entire season, with Puig's statline unable to sway his skeptics.
It's true that Puig didn't play in April or May this season, but he has still managed to hit .396 with eight home runs, 19 RBI and five stolen bases.
Was McCann the right choice to replace Freeman?
Extrapolated over an entire 162-game season, those statistics are absolutely incredible, as Puig is on pace to hit 35 homers, drive in 83 runs, score 118 of his own and swipe 22 bags. Perhaps, projections shouldn't matter when determining who should be an All-Star, but Puig has been productive regardless.
That's not to say McCann, who will now be heading to his seventh MLB All-Star appearance, doesn't have a solid resume. The star catcher came into the day hitting .291 with 12 home runs and has widely been a fan favorite with Atlanta.
Though Freeman won't be able to take the field, his contributions shouldn't be forgotten. Freeman is hitting .308 this season with nine homers and 61 RBI. He has been a huge part of the Braves' season-long stay atop the NL East, and it was nice to finally see him gain some league-wide recognition.
Freeman should have many more opportunities to play in the All-Star Game in the future, though, as he is just 23 years old and has batting champion written all over him due to his consistent stroke and improving batting eye.
McCann's addition was the most high-profile replacement on a day of roster moves for Tuesday's contest. San Francisco Giants closer Sergio Romo and Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Mark Melancon replaced the injured Jeff Locke and Jordan Zimmermann for the NL, while the Baltimore Orioles' Chris Tillman and Kansas City Royals closer Greg Holland were added to replace Justin Verlander and the Seattle Mariners' Hisashi Iwakuma (per ESPN via the Associated Press)
This reversal of fortunes isn't often seen in baseball. It would have been fitting for Puig to get a spot after all of the buzz around his debut and subsequent performances. There is no doubt that Freeman would have loved to play in the game itself, but he will always be recognized as an All-Star due to his election. Also, the league has to be disappointed that it will miss out on the ratings the Dodgers star would have brought to the contest.
One day, both Freeman and Puig will headline the All-Star Game. It just won't be this year.
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