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MLB All-Star Roster 2014: Predicting AL and NL Selections for Midsummer Classic

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MLB All-Star Roster 2014: Predicting AL and NL Selections for Midsummer Classic
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

The fans have voted, and now just a few more hours sit between us and the reveal of the 2014 MLB All-Star rosters.

The fans don't always get the vote right, but the updated results released July 1 actually looked pretty good. You can find the American League results here and the National League results here, courtesy of ESPN.com.

There's usually a tendency for the fans to vote for names as opposed to production. That happened this year, with Derek Jeter leading the ballot for AL shortstop over Alexei Ramirez, but seeing as this is his final Midsummer Classic, I'm willing to let that vote slide.

There are three others I won't let slide, however. Todd Frazier should be the starting third baseman in the NL. He's currently fifth in the voting. Jonathan Lucroy should be the starting catcher in the NL, but he's second behind Yadier Molina. The most bothersome one is Jose Altuve, who is in fourth place among AL second baseman.

While all of the aforementioned guys have a shot at cracking the final rosters, they probably won't be starting. Below is a prediction of which players will earn starts July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

 

American League Roster

Patrick Semansky/Associated Press
AL Roster Predictions
Position Player
Catcher Brian McCann
First Base Miguel Cabrera
Second Base Robinson Cano
Shortstop Derek Jeter
Third Base Josh Donaldson
Outfield Jose Bautista
Outfield Mike Trout
Outfield Adam Jones
Designated Hitter Nelson Cruz

There are a few interesting positions to take a look at ahead of the selection show Sunday night. Aside from my disappointment in the voting at second base, a few other spots just stick out.

At catcher, the updated vote showed that the fans want Matt Wieters behind the dish. Well, he's on the disabled list after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The catching position really isn't deep in the AL this year, especially with guys like Joe Mauer and Brian McCann not posting their usual marks.

Admittedly, McCann has been very critical of his play, via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com:

That said, given the popularity of the New York Yankees and McCann's power (10 home runs), I think he'll get the start.

At shortstop, fans have had to choose between history (Jeter) and current production (Ramirez). There's no denying that Ramirez is more deserving based on his exploits at the plate and in the field this year, but with this being Jeter's last Midsummer Classic, we can't blame the fans for this selection.

Will you be unhappy if Derek Jeter starts?

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Jeter hasn't been the offensive presence at the plate that we're used to, but to be honest, he hasn't been downright awful. He currently boasts a slash line of .266/.319/.322. It could be worse.

He's a great representative of this league, and I'm not upset with this vote at all.

The final outfield spot is an interesting vote, as it's essentially a three-way race between Yoenis Cespedes, Melky Cabrera and Adam Jones. All three are very deserving candidates, and if Jose Bautista and Mike Trout weren't posting incredible numbers, they would all start in the outfield.

Cespedes has done most of his best work in the outfield. Cabrera has done it mostly at the plate, though he has played well in the outfield for the Toronto Blue Jays. Jones does a little of everything for the Baltimore Orioles, and he's one of the most popular players in the entire league.

Given his popularity, I think Jones will earn the start.

 

National League Roster

David Zalubowski/Associated Press
NL Roster Predictions
Position Player
Catcher Yadier Molina
First Base Paul Goldschmidt
Second Base Chase Utley
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki
Third Base Aramis Ramirez
Outfield Andrew McCutchen
Outfield Carlos Gomez
Outfield Giancarlo Stanton

Like the AL vote, the NL has three spots that I want to focus in on.

The first is second base. Chase Utley is having a very good year, as is Neil Walker. But neither deserves to start over Dee Gordon, who is currently No. 3 in the voting at the position.

Gordon has been absolutely phenomenal for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he's one of the best breakout stories this year. He owns a line of .301/.356/.416 and leads the league in triples (nine) and stolen bases (42). Better yet, he's knocking in a good amount of runs (25) and is scoring runs (49).

He's the perfect candidate to lead off for this roster, but he might only see time in the late innings as a substitution because of the voting.

The situation at third is similar, but Frazier is buried behind four other players. Aramis Ramirez, David Wright, Pablo Sandoval and Matt Carpenter shouldn't even be in the discussion for the team this year given their various injuries and inconsistencies. Frazier has been both healthy and productive, slashing .288/.354/.500 with 17 homers and 47 RBI.

He might still get in, however, as the players' vote should help him out. Ryan Ludwick told C. Trent Rosecrans and John Faye of The Cincinnati Inquirer that Frazier will be in Minneapolis, via The Courier-Journal:

At the very least, Frazier has support in his own clubhouse. Right fielder Ryan Ludwick said he believes Frazier will get into the game based on the players' ballots, which were filled out this past weekend.

'He's getting in regardless,' Ludwick said while Frazier was being interviewed.

It's good to know that the players recognize the efforts of their counterparts.

Finally, the final outfield spot will come down to Yasiel Puig and Giancarlo Stanton. That said, it really doesn't matter who wins this one. With the designated hitter being in play in the AL park, manager Mike Matheny can still play the loser of the fan vote at DH.

I think Puig will ultimately lose out to Stanton given the slugger's propensity to hit moonshots, though, so expect to see him at DH.

 

Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR

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