Voting for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game has officially come to a close.
As the Midsummer Classic approaches, all we can do now is speculate which players will earn enough votes to make the team and a starting role in the game.
The American League featured several close positional battles from the last time MLB.com released the standings. We won't know the official results until rosters are announced on Sunday.
While we await the highly anticipated unveiling, let's take a stab at predicting the AL's starters for this year's All-Star Game.
|Catcher Vote Leaders|
|Matt Wieters||Baltimore Orioles||2,103,385|
|Derek Norris||Oakland Athletics||1,924,049|
|Brian McCann||New York Yankees||1,624,214|
|Kurt Suzuki||Minnesota Twins||1,025,717|
|A.J. Pierzynski||Boston Red Sox||925,996|
The last time these votes were tallied, Matt Wieters topped the list. Since then, he's unfortunately been forced to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.
This brings us to a two-horse race between Derek Norris and Brian McCann. The edge has to go to McCann. He's played in more games this season, has a better fielding percentage at .998—leading all AL catchers—and has been powerful at the plate, boasting 10 home runs and 37 RBI despite a .224 batting average.
McCann has been his own worst critic, according to a tweet from Bryan Hoch of MLB.com:
Perhaps a start in the Midsummer Classic would change his tune.
|First Base Vote Leaders|
|Miguel Cabrera||Detroit Tigers||3,323,380|
|Jose Abreu||Chicago White Sox||1,801,592|
|Chris Davis||Baltimore Orioles||1,292,412|
|Albert Pujols||Los Angeles Angels||1,190,751|
|Mark Teixeira||New York Yankees||877,468|
There's really not much of a competition at first base. Miguel Cabrera is running away with the voting, and rightfully so.
Solid on offense and defense, Cabrera has a .316 batting average with 100 hits, 32 doubles, 14 home runs, 67 RBI and a fielding percentage of .993.
He's been showing no signs of slowing down lately:
Jose Abreu has been tremendous as well, displaying some great power, but Cabrera has been more consistent.
|Second Base Vote Leaders|
|Robinson Cano||Seattle Mariners||2,474,924|
|Ian Kinsler||Detroit Tigers||1,603,185|
|Dustin Pedroia||Boston Red Sox||1,477,800|
|Jose Altuve||Houston Astros||1,312,805|
|Brian Dozier||Minnesota Twins||994,447|
Like the battle for first base, second base shouldn't be all that close. Robinson Cano is boasting an impressive .323 batting average, producing 101 hits, 19 doubles, six home runs and 51 RBI. He also holds a .991 fielding percentage with just three errors this season.
Here's a telling tweet from Bob Nightengale of USA Today regarding Cano and the Mariners' success:
Ian Kinsler and Dustin Pedroia have been solid as well, but the gap simply appears too large to close.
|Third Base Vote Leaders|
|Josh Donaldson||Oakland Athletics||2,943,332|
|Adrian Beltre||Texas Rangers||1,730,748|
|Evan Longoria||Tampa Bay Rays||1,457,752|
|Manny Machado||Baltimore Orioles||1,409,804|
|Brett Lawrie||Toronto Blue Jays||865,684|
It appears power will win the right to start at third base for the AL. While David Freese has the position's best fielding percentage, he was nowhere near the top of the standings the last time they were released by MLB.com.
So, we turn to hitting.
Josh Donaldson is far and away the most powerful hitter at third base for the AL this season. He holds a .245 batting average and has accumulated 80 hits, 12 doubles, 18 home runs and 61 RBI. He's hit five more balls out of the park than anyone else at the position.
He has been clutch at the plate for the A's all season long:
|Shortstop Vote Leaders|
|Derek Jeter||New York Yankees||2,924,686|
|Alexei Ramirez||Chicago White Sox||2,325,527|
|J.J. Hardy||Baltimore Orioles||1,534,547|
|Jose Reyes||Toronto Blue Jays||1,008,063|
|Jed Lowrie||Oakland Athletics||732,766|
The last time the standings were released, Derek Jeter had a slight lead on Alexei Ramirez.
Jeter has been playing well this year, holding a .975 fielding percentage and batting .268 with 80 hits, nine doubles, two home runs and 21 RBI; however, Ramirez has simply been much better.
He's playing well defensively with a fielding percentage of .976, but his hitting has been even better. Ramirez is batting .294 with 97 hits, 14 doubles, eight home runs and 41 RBI.
Here's yet another fine reason why Ramirez should be getting the start:
It would be nice to see Jeter take the field in what appears to be his last season in the league, but Ramirez is the right choice here.
|Outfield Vote Leaders|
|Jose Bautista||Toronto Blue Jays||4,460,245|
|Mike Trout||Los Angeles Angels||4,085,647|
|Yoenis Cespedes||Oakland Athletics||1,941,553|
|Melky Cabrera||Toronto Blue Jays||1,929,506|
|Adam Jones||Baltimore Orioles||1,853,268|
|Michael Brantley||Cleveland Indians||1,630,452|
|Jacoby Ellsbury||New York Yankees||1,501,306|
|Nick Markakis||Baltimore Orioles||1,382,329|
|Carlos Beltran||New York Yankees||1,292,920|
|Torii Hunter||Detroit Tigers||1,167,642|
With three starting spots up for grabs, the outfield becomes an intriguing race.
At center field, expect Mike Trout to get the nod. The 22-year-old phenom has continued his remarkable run this season with 95 hits, 23 doubles, five triples, 19 home runs and 62 RBI for a batting average of .314. No slouch on defense, he's also fielding .990.
He's certainly no slouch on defense at all:
At right field, Jose Bautista is running away with things. He has produced a stellar season at the plate with 86 hits, 15 doubles, 17 home runs and 51 RBI for a .303 batting average. His defense has been superb as well, as he holds a .986 fielding percentage.
So, who gets the third spot?
That would be Adam Jones. He ranks in the top 10 of AL center fielders with a .980 fielding percentage, but his prowess at the plate is what makes him stand out. With 107 hits, 18 doubles, 16 home runs, 53 RBI and a batting average of .308, he's far and away the most productive outfielder behind Trout and Bautista.
Prediction: Trout, Bautista and Jones
Voting results updated at MLB.com as of July 1.
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