2014 MLB All-Star Roster: Highlights from AL and NL Selections

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2014 MLB All-Star Roster: Highlights from AL and NL Selections
Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press

Reviewing the MLB All-Star rosters can be a frustrating process, but now that you've had over 24 hours to think about the selections, it's time to highlight a few notables.

When the results were announced, you were probably upset that you didn't hear the likes of Ian Kinsler, Chris Sale or Anthony Rendon called. I get it; I wanted them in too.

The crop of talent in this year's game is still quite strong, however. The aforementioned guys could still find their way to the game because of injuries or the famous Final Vote, so all hope is not lost just yet.

For now, let's celebrate the players who are actually guaranteed trips to Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on July 15.

MLB All-Star Game Rosters
American League National League
Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City Royals* Yadier Molina, C, St. Louis Cardinals*
Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers* Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks*
Robinson Cano, 2B, Seattle Mariners* Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies*
Derek Jeter, SS, New York Yankees* Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies*
Josh Donaldson, 3B, Oakland Athletics* Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers*
Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels* Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates*
Jose Bautista, OF, Toronto Blue Jays* Carlos Gomez, OF, Milwaukee Brewers*
Adam Jones, OF, Baltimore Orioles* Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers*
Nelson Cruz, DH, Baltimore Orioles* Giancarlo Stanton, DH, Miami Marlins*
AL Reserves NL Reserves
Derek Norris, C, Oakland Athletics Jonathan Lucroy, C, Brewers
Kurt Suzuki, C, Minnesota Twins Devin Mesoraco, C, Cincinnati Reds
Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago White Sox Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves
Victor Martinez, 1B, Detroit Tigers Dee Gordon, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays Daniel Murphy, 2B, New York Mets
Brandon Moss, 1B/OF, Oakland Athletics Starlin Castro, SS, Chicago Cubs
Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston Astros Todd Frazier, 3B, Cincinnati Reds
Alexei Ramirez, SS, Chicago White Sox Matt Carpenter, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals
Adrian Beltre, 3B, Texas Rangers Josh Harrison, IF/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Oakland Athletics Charlie Blackmon, OF, Colorado Rockies
Alex Gordon, OF, Kansas City Royals Hunter Pence, OF, San Francisco Giants
Michael Brantley, OF, Cleveland Indians
AL Pitchers NL Pitchers
Yu Darvish, RHP, Texas Rangers Johnny Cueto, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
Max Scherzer, RHP, Detroit Tigers Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Felix Hernandez, RHP, Seattle Mariners Zack Greinke, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Masahiro Tanaka, RHP, New York Yankees Madison Bumgarner, LHP, San Francisco Giants
Jon Lester, LHP, Boston Red Sox Adam Wainwright, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
David Price, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays Tyson Ross, RHP, San Diego Padres
Scott Kazmir, LHP, Oakland Athletics Jordan Zimmermann, RHP, Washington Nationals
Mark Buehrle, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves
Sean Doolittle, LHP, Oakland Athletics Craig Kimbrel, RHP Atlanta Braves
Greg Holland, RHP, Kansas City Royals Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Cincinnati Reds
Glen Perkins, LHP, Minnesota Twins Francisco Rodriguez, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers
Dellin Betances, RHP, New York Yankees Tony Watson, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Pat Neshek, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals

MLB.com, * denotes starter

 

Derek Jeter Gets One Last Start

Kathy Willens/Associated Press

Alexei Ramirez has outperformed Derek Jeter through this point in the season, and he'll probably continue to do so as 2014 heads into the heat of the summer. Ramirez would be the starting shortstop for the American League in any other season—just not this one.

We all know that it's Jeter's last year in the majors. That made this selection both an expected and honorable one by the fans. Jeter didn't take the results for granted, via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com:

After last year, just playing means a little bit more. All-Star Games are never a situation where I expect to go to the All-Star Game. I've never taken it for granted any time that I've gone. I've enjoyed each and every one of them, but especially so, I'm looking forward to this one.

You can be sure that Jeter will be honored during the event, similar to how Mariano Rivera was honored during last year's Midsummer Classic. AL All-Star manager John Farrell already has plans to do so, via Hoch:

I think it's important to showcase Derek for just a Hall of Fame and incredible career. I think there will be an opportunity to do just that, to highlight when he comes out of the game.

My first thought is that it would happen inside of a defensive inning, to where he'll have a chance to salute the crowd and come off. I think it'll be great for baseball to witness his last All-Star appearance and really congratulate him on just an incredible career.

Jeter has had a fantastic career, and he ended play on July 6 (the day of the selection show) in eighth place on the all-time hits list with 3,400. While he has struggled a bit this season, as evidenced by his .651 OPS, Jeter still has some value to the New York Yankees.

The final months of Jeter's career will be emotional for baseball fans, and it all gets started with the MLB All-Star Game. That's when reality should start to set in.

 

Setup Men Shown Love

Orlin Wagner/Associated Press

Pitching staffs in the All-Star Game are usually comprised of top-flight starters and dominant closers. That's the case again this year, except for three pitchers—Dellin Betances, Pat Neshek and Tony Watson.

Betances has been absolutely stellar, striking out 78 in 50.1 innings. He owns a 1.61 ERA, but his 1.34 FIP suggests that he should be doing even better. He has done it all with a powerful fastball and a breaking ball that ESPN's Jim Bowden had to come up with a new name for:

Watson has also been quite good, striking out 49 in 40.2 innings with a minuscule ERA of 0.89. The lefty will likely be used as a specialist for one of the AL's big left-handed bats in the later innings.

The real story here is Neshek, however.

He almost made the All-Star team in 2007 when he pitched for the Minnesota Twins, but he ultimately lost the final vote. That's just the first step in what has been a grueling journey for the veteran. Michael Pointer of The Indianapolis Star wrote about the trials and tribulations he has experienced in recent years:

Neshek underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the 2009 season, but that proved to be one of the lesser issues he had to deal with. His son Gehrig died in October 2012 after just 23 hours of life. (Neshek and his wife Stephanee have never made the cause of death public. She gave birth to another son earlier this year.)

He bounced from San Diego to Baltimore and Oakland after leaving the Twins before the 2011 season. The A's designed him for assignment in August of last year. No one picked him until he signed a minor-league contract with St. Louis in early February.

Neshek is certainly deserving of a selection. He owns a 0.77 ERA, 0.571 WHIP and has allowed just three runs to cross the plate all season long. National League manager Mike Matheny knows how to use his reliable reliever, so he'll look to get him into this game.

 

NL Closers Dominate AL Closers

Tom Uhlman/Associated Press

This is the first All-Star Game in a long time that the AL hasn't had the luxury of leaning on Rivera in the ninth inning. So who's going to close out a lead if the AL has one?

Sean Doolittle, Greg Holland and Glen Perkins are the candidates this year. Seeing as the game is in Minnesota, I have my money on Perkins to close the door. It'd be a nice gesture by Farrell in front of Perkins' home crowd.

That said, the difference in talent between the AL and the NL in terms of closers is staggering. Just take a look at the numbers for each closer selected:

All-Star Closers, 2014 Stats
Closer Notable Stats
AL Roster
Sean Doolittle 2.98 ERA, 1.60 FIP, 13 SV, 61 K, 42.1 IP
Greg Holland 1.93 ERA, 2.16 FIP, 23 SV, 50 K, 32.2 IP
Glen Perkins 3.22 ERA, 1.84 FIP, 20 SV, 48 K, 36.1 IP
NL Roster
Craig Kimbrel 2.04 ERA, 1.53 FIP, 27 SV, 60 K, 35.1 IP
Francisco Rodriguez 2.34 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 27 SV, 49 K, 42.1 IP
Aroldis Chapman 2.55 ERA, 0.80 FIP, 17 SV, 47 K, 24.2 IP

baseball-reference.com prior to play on July 7

Even the names themselves on the NL team are more intimidating. Francisco Rodriguez is one of the best closers of the past decade. Craig Kimbrel posted one of the most dominant seasons ever just a few years ago. Aroldis Chapman throws over 100 miles per hour with regularity.

This isn't a knock on the AL guys, as they're certainly deserving. But there really isn't a comparison that can be made to their counterparts over in the Senior Circuit.

 

Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR

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