Ranking the Cincinnati Reds' Best All-Star Game Candidates

Justin OlexaContributor IIIJuly 2, 2014

Ranking the Cincinnati Reds' Best All-Star Game Candidates

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    The Cincinnati Reds are entering the break as one of the hottest teams in baseball and have several deserving All-Star candidates. Cincinnati has gone 20-10 over its past 30 games, improving its record to 43-39.

    The cast representing the Reds at the 2014 All-Star Game will have a different look this season. Cincinnati's usual suspects of Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto will all likely be watching the game at home. 

    Only one of the Reds' five candidates on this list has appeared in an All-Star Game. While it is unlikely that all five of these players make it, each player has made a strong case to be included.

    These players are ranked from least likely to make it to guaranteed to make it. Johnny Cueto is a mortal lock, but Devin Mesoraco and the others are on the bubble and could fall either way. 

    Here are the Reds' top five All-Star Game candidates.

5. Aroldis Chapman

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    Why He Should Get In

    Aroldis Chapman is one of the most exciting players to watch in all of baseball. All eyes focus on him and the radar gun when he enters the game. Fans would love to see him included.

    He has great numbers, with an ERA of 2.66, a WHIP of .85 and a K/9 of 17.49. The Cuban star has also really improved his secondary pitches this season. 


    Reasons Why He Might Not

    As great as he has been, though, missing part of the season might ultimately be what keeps him off the team. He ranks 11th in the NL in saves with 16.

    Also, the rest of the NL closers have really stepped it up this season.  There are five closers with more saves and a better ERA than Chapman, making it a long shot for the flamethrower to make the team. 


    Chances of Making the Team

    10 percent

4. Alfredo Simon

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    Why He Should Get In

    Alfredo Simon filled in superbly for Mat Latos this season. His temporary starting gig turned into a full-time job because of his outstanding performance. This is the first time he has ever experienced success as a major league starter in the big leagues. 

    Simon ranks first in wins, sixth in WHIP and ninth in ERA in the NL. 


    Reasons Why He Might Not

    The problem is not Simon's performance, but rather the depth of quality starting pitchers in the NL. Also, he does not have the household name that would make him the popular pick. 

    Unfortunately, the team can only carry so many pitchers, and Simon very well could be on the wrong side of the bubble.


    Chances of Making the Team

    30 percent

3. Devin Mesoraco

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    Why He Should Get In

    Outside of Jonathan Lucroy, there has not been a better offensive catcher than Devin Mesoraco in the NL. He is hitting .310 with an OPS of 1.009. Just to give an idea of how good that OPS is, Troy Tulowitzki currently stands at 1.064 and Giancarlo Stanton ranks second amongst qualified hitters at 1.005.

    Mesoraco has 14 home runs and 40 runs batted in. His WAR of 3.0 ranks second amongst NL catchers. 


    Reasons Why He Might Not

    He has no chance of being voted in by the fans, and Lucroy is basically a lock to be selected. Buster Posey and Evan Gattis also make strong cases for making the team. Assuming the team carries three catchers, it will likely be down to these three players for the last spot.

    Mesoraco also missed a large chunk of games, only appearing in 49 games thus far.  


    Chances of Making the Team

    40 percent 

2. Todd Frazier

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    Why He Should Get In

    Todd Frazier won't win the fan vote, but he has been the best third baseman in the NL this season. He is hitting .288 with 17 home runs and 47 RBI. Frazier ranks second in average and RBI but first in WAR, stolen bases, OBP, slugging, OPS and home runs amongst third basemen.

    It really is not a competition when you look at the stats. Frazier should be a lock. 


    Reasons Why He Might Not

    Name recognition may haunt Frazier. He won't win the fan vote and has flown under the national radar. St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny may snub him and elect to pick his own Matt Carpenter instead. 


    Chances of Making the Team

    90 percent

1. Johnny Cueto

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    Why He Should Get In

    The stats speak for themselves. Johnny Cueto has been the best pitcher in all of baseball in the first half. He should be the starter representing the NL.

    Cueto has a ridiculous 1.88 ERA and 0.84 WHIP. His start to the 2014 season was one for the history books. 

    According to Cincinnati.com's Trent Rosecrans, "Cueto became the first pitcher since 1909 to start the season pitching at least seven innings and allowing two or fewer runs in his first nine starts."

    There are arguments for Clayton Kershaw, but he missed games at the beginning of the season and trails Cueto in ERA, WHIP and batting average against. 

    Cueto ranks first in innings pitched, ERA, WHIP and complete games. He is also second in strikeouts.  


    Reasons Why He Might Not

    There really is not a scenario where Cueto does not make the team. Tony La Russa is not managing the game, so he is a lock.


    Chances of Making the Team

    100 percent


    All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com