The MLB All-Star Game is supposed to be a showcase of the best players in baseball, but fans are doing their best to ensure that the truly elite are being overlooked.
While most voters tend to choose the players they recognize, this is not always the best way to choose the starting lineup. All it does is put the same men on the field year after year regardless of what they do during the season, while the people who excelled in all phases of the game are left hoping to get a spot as a reserve.
It is nice that fans want to reward Derek Jeter for a great career in his final season, but it starts to get ridiculous when Matt Wieters leads the vote despite undergoing season-ending surgery.
On the other hand, there are players who are truly deserving of a starting job and need your help in the coming weeks.
Jonathan Lucroy, C, Milwaukee Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers are doing their best to promote Jonathan Lucroy's bid to the All-Star Game with this video, but the biggest attack on Yadier Molina is that he is on the St. Louis Cardinals:
Although it is usually hard to find faults in Molina's game, the fact is that this has not been his best season. The five-time All-Star is hitting under .300, which if it remains would be the first time since 2010. His runs and RBI are also way down.
Still, the Brewers star truly separates himself at the plate. Lucroy has been one of the best hitters at any position this year, ranking second in the majors behind Troy Tulowitzki in hitting while also being a consistent run producer for one of the best teams in baseball.
Milwaukee announcer Joe Block provided some high praise at this point of the season:
Counsell said on #Brewers radio if the season ended today, Jonathan Lucroy would have to be considered for NL MVP. I'd have to agree.— Joe Block (@joe_block) June 18, 2014
Molina has been better over the years, but Lucroy deserves the starting nod at the All-Star Game this season.
Brian Dozier, 2B, Minnesota Twins
Although he is far from a household name—especially compared to those on the ballot in front of him—Brian Dozier has been one of the best hitters in baseball this season.
The second baseman has hit 15 home runs to go with 15 stolen bases in 2014, becoming a legitimate threat to join the 40-40 club. His current pace puts him at 35 and 35, but the fact that he can be above 20 in both categories by the All-Star break is truly incredible.
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports provides some more reasons why Dozier should be a starter:
AL leader in runs scored: Brian Dozier of the Twins. He has to be an All-Star -- especially with the game in Minneapolis, right?— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 17, 2014
It makes sense that most fans around the league are not familiar with the Twins star. He has played just one-and-a-half seasons in the majors and has a career batting average of .239. With players like Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler and Dustin Pedroia all competing for a starting spot, it seems unlikely Dozier tops the list.
Still, this incredible start to a season deserves some serious recognition.
Todd Frazier, 3B, Cincinnati Reds
There might not be a weaker position in the National League this season than third base. David Wright and Pablo Sandoval seem to battle every year for the starting spot in the All-Star Game, but neither of them are having good years.
Instead of just going with the status quo, fans should vote for a player like Todd Frazier, who has more home runs (16) than both Wright and Sandoval combined (14).
The Reds star is having the best year of his young career, and he is one of the main reasons Cincinnati has not had a free fall in the standings. Frazier leads the team in home runs, runs and RBI, and he is by far the best on the team in WAR.
Unfortunately, he is not even in the top five in voting at the position. This might be fine if Nolan Arenado were healthy, but a finger injury will keep him out for some time.
Frazier recently discussed the disappointment with not being considered a possible All-Star, via C. Trent Rosecrans of Cincinnati.com:
I see it. I don't know if it bothers me, it's just the way it is. I would love to be an All-Star, it'd be a dream come true. You see it, but there's not much you can say. I wish we could get all of Ohio and Cincinnati to keep voting and voting, that'd be nice, but I know they're doing their best. We still have a lot of time, and hopefully I keep doing what I'm doing to help this team win and keep opening up some more eyes.
It seems unlikely this will change in the next few weeks, but Frazier certainly deserves consideration in a weak year for the position.
|National League||Position||American League|
|Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals||C||Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles|
|Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks||1B||Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers|
|Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies||2B||Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners|
|David Wright, New York Mets||3B||Josh Donaldson, Oakland Athletics|
|Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies||SS||Derek Jeter, New York Yankees|
|Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers||OF||Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays|
|Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates||OF||Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels|
|Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins||OF||Melky Cabrera, Toronto Blue Jays|
|-||DH||Nelson Cruz, Baltimore Orioles|
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.