2013 MLB All-Star Game logo2013 MLB All-Star Game

All-Star Game 2013: Players Set to Dominate Summer Showcase

BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 9: Chris Davis #19 of the Baltimore Orioles reacts after taking a strike in the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 9, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Texas Rangers won, 8-4. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2013

Sure, the All-Star Game is a meaningless exhibition meant solely to entertain the fans...wait, scratch that. This game is actually important. And it means the top stars in the game actually have something to play for. 

Yes, it's ridiculous. But it isn't changing anytime soon. 

So with that in mind, let's focus on four players who, based on excellent starts to the season, are most likely to shine in this annual clash between the American and National League. 

 

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

There isn't a better baseball player on the planet right now. Heck, there might not be a more dominant athlete outside of LeBron James. 

All Cabrera has done the year after winning the Triple Crown is hit .365 with 30 home runs and 95 RBI. That's right, he already has 95 RBI, and it looks as though only the next man on this list will keep him from winning another Triple Crown. 

Cabrera is hitting No. 3 for the American League. If he comes up to the plate with no one on base and two outs, you might think walking him would be the safest bet. But it wouldn't be, because...

 

Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles

...Chris Davis is batting cleanup. 

Davis has exploded this season, hitting .315 with 37 home runs and 93 RBI. He may actually give Cabrera a run for his money in the AL MVP race and could carry the Orioles right back into the postseason this year. 

While his massive output has been a major surprise, Davis' power isn't totally out of left field, as he did hit 33 home runs and 85 RBI last year. But he's been on absolute fire this season, and it wouldn't be shocking to see him come up huge for the American League at the All-Star Game. 

 

Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

While Matt Harvey deserves to start in front of the New York Mets fans, the best pitcher in baseball this season has been Clayton Kershaw

The Dodgers' ace leads all starting pitchers in ERA (1.98), WHIP (0.91) and WAR (5.2), while ranking fifth in strikeouts (139). Truly, his 8-6 record does him little justice, as he has been incredibly dominant this season and should be the favorite to win his second NL Cy Young award if he keeps up this pace. 

Don't be surprised if he tames a very potent American League lineup when he's inserted into the game. 

 

Joe Nathan, Texas Rangers

It remains to be seen who would close out the game if the American League led in the bottom of the ninth, but the player who would deserve to get the ball is Joe Nathan. 

Nathan has been phenomenal for the Rangers this season, going 1-0 with 30 saves, 42 strikeouts, a 1.36 ERA and an incredible 0.76 WHIP. You may not think relief pitchers are particularly interesting, but if Nathan enters the game, you can pretty much bet on him shutting things down. 

 

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