Fans are given the opportunity to vote in their favorite players to start the MLB All-Star Game, but that does not mean those men are the most deserving of the spot.
Two of the most egregious errors on the ballot have already been corrected due to injuries. Matt Wieters was voted in as the American League catcher but has only played in 29 games this season and will now be replaced by Salvador Perez.
In the National League, Yadier Molina earned his spot after a career of success, but he is not having as good of a season as Jonathan Lucroy. The good news is the Milwaukee Brewers catcher will now get the start after Molina was placed on the disabled list.
Even with these fixes, a number of starters should still be replaced by others who have had better seasons. Here is a look at those less-than-deserving players along with a complete roster of everyone headed to Target Field for the Midsummer Classic.
Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies
Should Be Replaced By: Dee Gordon
After numerous injury-filled seasons, it is nice to see Chase Utley bounce back with his best season since 2009. Of course, it is still far from his best year, and others have surpassed him in productivity.
Dee Gordon has matched Utley at the plate while blowing him and almost everyone else in the league away on the basepaths. The Dodgers second baseman is on pace for more than 70 stolen bases this season, which would make him the first person to reach this mark since 2009.
This performance is even more impressive considering how much he had struggled in the past. Teammate Clayton Kershaw explained how well Gordon has played through adversity, via Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times:
He's been through a lot. Playing all sorts of different positions, had to go and try the outfield, he's been everywhere. So for him to get to second base and excel the way he has and play the way he's played the first half, it's just a huge testament to him and his work ethic and his character.
Utley deserves his spot on the roster, but Gordon has been too good to ignore and should be starting for the National League.
Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers
Should Be Replaced By: Todd Frazier
David Wright has been the NL starter at third base in five of the last eight seasons, but a down year kept him out of the All-Star Game altogether. This left an opening for someone else to take over at the spot, but Aramis Ramirez is not the right person.
The Brewers star has been solid for one of the best teams in the majors, though he is far from the team's MVP. In fact, his numbers are below his usual career marks in most categories, which is not a good sign for someone making only his third All-Star Game in 17 seasons.
On the other hand, Todd Frazier is having a breakout year as he looks to finish his 20-20 season. He has been one of the most important players on the Reds and continues to come through when his team needs him the most.
Mo Egger of ESPN 1530 might have a biased opinion out of Cincinnati, but he believes Frazier should have been the starter:
Todd Frazier should be the starter for the NL at 3B. And you should have voted for him, if you care about such things.— Mo Egger (@MoEgger1530) July 6, 2014
Based on how well Frazier has played in the first half of the year, Egger is absolutely correct.
Robinson Cano, 2B, Seattle Mariners
Should Be Replaced By: Jose Altuve/Ian Kinsler
Unlike some of the others on the list, Robinson Cano has had a solid season. However, the competition is simply too great for him to be trotting out there in the first inning.
Among that competition are some players who did not even make the All-Star Game like Brian Dozier and Dustin Pedroia. Ian Kinsler is also having a fantastic year, hitting over .300 while having by far the most extra-base hits at the position.
Still, Jose Altuve really deserves the starting nod at second base. He leads the majors in hits and only trails Gordon in stolen bases. He has been almost unstoppable once he gets on first, and he also uses this speed to make impressive plays in the field:
The Astros are not having a great season, but you cannot blame this on Altuve. He is playing as well as anyone in the league, and he deserves to start this game.
Derek Jeter, SS, New York Yankees
Should Be Replaced By: Alexei Ramirez
Before you start to complain, I understand why Derek Jeter is starting this game. The future Hall of Famer is set to retire at the end of the season, and this is a great way to honor him on a national level one last time.
Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated notes that there will be some special plans for the shortstop to celebrate a great career:
Fox said it has some special Derek Jeter features planned for the All-Star game. They are also asking Jeter to be mic'd for the game.— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) July 8, 2014
That being said, Jeter currently ranks 14th in WAR among American League shortstops, according to ESPN. This means that half of the teams in the league have a more productive player at the position than the Yankees.
The problem is that no one else has taken charge at the position. Alexei Ramirez has faded after a hot start, but he has been solid in all phases of the game to barely edge Erick Aybar for the rightful spot in the starting lineup.
|American League Fan Vote||National League Fan Vote|
|Matt Wieters, C, Baltimore Orioles||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, Milwaukee Brewers*|
|Kurt Suzuki, C, Minnesota Twins||Devin Mesoraco, C, Cincinnati Reds|
|Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City Royals*||Miguel Montero, C, Arizona Diamondbacks|
|Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago White Sox||Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves|
|Victor Martinez, 1B, Detroit Tigers||Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago Cubs|
|Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays||Dee Gordon, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Brandon Moss, 1B/OF, Oakland Athletics||Daniel Murphy, 2B, New York Mets|
|Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston Astros||Starlin Castro, SS, Chicago Cubs|
|Ian Kinsler, 2B, Detroit Tigers||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|
|Chris Sale, LHP, Chicago White Sox||Pat Neshek, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals|
|Koji Uehara, RHP, Boston Red Sox||Jeff Samardzija, RHP, Chicago Cubs|
via MLB.com; *Denotes starter
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