As the season continues, the 2014 MLB All-Star Game is getting closer, and there are a couple of players who need to step up in the coming weeks in order to earn some much-needed votes to find a spot in the game.
The current fan votes will determine the starting position players for both sides, with the backups and pitchers being determined by the players and managers. These players that need votes right now may very well be voted in by their peers, but there's no guarantee.
With that being said, here are a couple of players who need to put up some big numbers over the next couple of weeks if they want to secure spots as starters in this year's All-Star Game.
Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Oakland Athletics
With the top three outfielders in each league being named starters, Yoenis Cespedes is right there in fourth place, and he'll need to keep making highlight plays to move ahead of Melky Cabrera for third.
In 68 games this season, Cespedes has been on pace to have the best season of his career. So far, he's hitting .262 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 38 runs scored and a number of highlight plays on defense. The season isn't even halfway done, but the 28-year-old has shown off one of the strongest arms in the majors more than a few times.
Perhaps the biggest play of the season for Cespedes came recently against the Los Angeles Angels. With Howie Kendrick running towards home plate, Cespedes threw a laser to home, somehow gunning him out.
"This one, for lack of a better word, he just winged it," Angels third base coach Gary DiSarcina said of Cespedes, according to Alden Gonzalez from MLB.com. "And his arm strength and his accuracy made it happen. You don't see that happen often, somebody with that arm strength and that ability to be accurate from the foul pole. Tremendous throw by a great player."
Cespedes currently leads all outfielders in the majors with nine outfield assists, and according to ESPN Stats & Info, that was more than 13 teams had this season as of June 12.
On offensive numbers alone, the 2013 Home Run Derby winner should be in the conversation as an All-Star, but that cannon of an arm should help him win a starting spot by the time voting closes, especially if he continues to make incredible plays in the outfield.
Pablo Sandoval, 3B, San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants third baseman hasn't had a 20-plus home run season since 2011, but that could change this season. And with another long ball or two by the end of the voting period, the Kung Fu Panda could edge out David Wright for the starting spot in the National League.
As of the most recent update, Sandoval is behind Wright by less than 80,000 votes. Sandoval is currently hitting .265 with nine home runs, 30 RBI and 34 runs scored, as he's a big reason the Giants lead the NL West with a 43-29 record. Wright is also hitting .265, but he's been slumping quite a bit recently, as he was hitting .312 after May 25.
In late May, Sandoval was able to get an RBI in nine straight games, being the first Giant to do so since Barry Bonds in 2000, according to Alex Pavlovic from the San Jose Mercury News.
It's been another solid season for Sandoval, and he's hoping he can earn his third All-Star selection and even be a starter in this year's game.
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