Some players, like Milwaukee's Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, deserve All-Star selections every year.
Others, like Detroit's Alex Avila, have surprised the league by their terrific play and are rewarded by a trip to the Midsummer Classic.
Still others somehow finagled an entry to the prestigious game through either reputation or big power numbers even though they did not play well enough to deserve the selection.
Here are the 2011 MLB All-Star power rankings, listing each starter based on how much he deserved his starting spot.
There are reputation All-Stars, and then there is Derek Jeter.
The man is a surefire Hall of Famer, but that doesn't come with a perennial All-Star-starter package.
Jeter is hitting a measly .260 and has just 12 extra-base hits on the year. Reserve shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera has 14 home runs.
The Yankees legend has definitely lost a step because of his age, and doesn't make the plays he used to in the field.
By the way, he's injured and not even producing. However, his injury might be his biggest contribution yet, since fill-in shortstop Eduardo Nuñez is hitting .310 in Jeter's absence.
It's one thing for a great player to get on the All-Star roster on reputation when he's having a slightly down year. But Jeter's presence on the team, let alone the starting roster, is almost too much to stomach.
One of the more curious starters in this year’s All-Star Game is Rickie Weeks.
His best attribute is that he can hit for power. Other than that, he’s a fairly average second baseman, hitting .276 with seven steals.
Weeks is actually having a very poor season fielding-wise—he has nine errors already on the year, dead last amongst qualifying second basemen.
Milwaukee’s second baseman also is benefitting from a weak class, as NL standouts Chase Utley and Freddy Sanchez have endured injuries throughout the season.
Placido Polanco mainly earned his All-Star selection in April, when he hit .398 with two homers, seven doubles and three steals.
Since, he has hit .221 with two homers, four doubles and no steals.
The Phillies have suffered an uncharacteristic offensive dry spell this year, with big bats Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins all struggling to produce.
Polanco was the team's only consistent producer for the first month, but has since fallen right in line with the rest of the offense, which shouldn't earn the starting third-base spot in Arizona.
Curtis Granderson has earned recognition this year by closely tailing Jose Bautista in the AL home run race for most of the year.
A player hitting .276 with a lot of pop is flashy, but isn't really a complete player. It’s a shame that fans continue to get seduced by home run numbers in the voting.
To make matters worse, Granderson has fallen off the pace a little—he is now third in the AL, three homers behind teammate Mark Teixeira.
Further, you have to wonder how many of those 22 homers were just fly balls that New York’s wind tunnel and short right-field porch carried over the fence.
Like Placido Polanco, Lance Berkman stormed out of the gate, hitting .388 with eight homers and eight doubles in April. He currently leads the national league with 22 big flies.
But since May 1, Berkman has hit just .242, lowering his year-to-date mark to .297.
Berkman’s fast start got fans accustomed to his name atop the leaderboards, even though his performance recently has been quite poor.
Reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton has actually put together quite a season in spite of his injury.
He has an impressive .301/.364/.554 line, with 10 homers and 40 RBI in just 46 games.
But it’s just unfair for Hamilton to take a starting spot over a guy like Michael Cuddyer who has put up similar numbers in 30 more games.
The 36-year-old Alex Rodriguez is having a solid comeback year by all accounts.
After two years of a sub-.300 batting average, A-Rod is hitting .304 with 13 homers and 19 doubles.
The hot corner has been a black hole in the AL this year, with Adrian Beltre and Kevin Youkilis vastly underperforming, and Rays superstar Evan Longoria spending time on the DL.
It’s not that A-Rod doesn’t deserve the All-Star selection—he has had a good year so far. It’s just that his presence seems as much a function of the failure of others as his own success.
David Ortiz has come back in a big way for a Boston Red Sox team that really needed him earlier this year.
Hitting .301 with 17 bombs and 20 doubles, Big Papi is showing no signs of the inconsistency that has plagued him at the start of each of the past two seasons.
Ortiz is benefitting from the new rule that a DH will be utilized in All-Star games, even ones in National League stadiums.
The two knocks against Ortiz are that he plays half his games in Fenway Park and is protected by the extraordinarily potent Red Sox lineup, which inflate his numbers a little bit.
As the backup first baseman, Joey Votto will presumably be the National League designated hitter in the Midsummer Classic.
Votto has hit .313 with 12 homers and 18 doubles for the Reds this year.
The reigning NL MVP has so far been overshadowed by Prince Fielder and the dangerous Brewers team, but is quietly putting together another standout season in Cincinnati.
There are few hitters more dangerous in the entire league than New York’s Robinson Cano.
The Yankees second baseman is fifth in the loaded New York lineup, and has nailed 14 homers and 18 doubles so far this year.
He is also hitting .294, is 6-of-7 on steal attempts and is the defending Gold Glover at one of the tougher positions on the field.
You won’t find a more complete player.
Cano is ninth on this list not because of his own faults, but because the players ahead of him are having career years.
Alex Avila came out of nowhere this year to become arguably the best young catcher in the American League.
His .298 average, .375 OBP, .529 SLG, 16 doubles and 46 RBI are all AL highs for backstops.
The 24-year-old Avila definitely surprised the league with his performance, and he undoubtedly earned his first All-Star bid.
Prince Fielder is hitting .296 with 20 homers and 21 doubles, and is a big reason for the Brew Crew’s success in 2011.
The 27-year-old slugger looks primed to cash in this offseason in a big way. But his business in Milwaukee is not done yet, as the Brewers look like legitimate contenders in the National League pennant race.
Brian McCann stands out as the premier catcher in the National League.
He leads NL backstops in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, homers and RBI.
With defending NL Rookie of the Year Buster Posey out for the year, there’s no clearer starter at any position than Brian McCann.
Matt Kemp has a legitimate shot to become only the fifth player in major league history to pull off a 40/40 season.
The Dodgers center fielder has 22 homers and 24 steals so far on the year, and is showing no signs of slowing down.
He's also hitting .322, good for sixth best in the majors.
Kemp is one of the few five-tool players in the game today. There’s not a better center fielder in the majors.
Ryan Braun is a rock of consistency in the middle of the Brewers order.
Hitting .320 with 16 homers and 62 RBI, Braun is the model No. 3 hitter.
He is also very athletic and is underrated both on the basepaths and in the field. He is one of the best overall players in the game today.
It is good to see him rewarded with another All-Star appearance.
Few expected the oft-injured Jose Reyes to put on the clinic he’s been hosting since Opening Day.
Reyes holds a major league-best .354 average through Sunday, and has only improved throughout the season (.385 average in June).
The Mets shortstop leads the National League in runs, hits and triples. His 30 steals are second only to Michael Bourn’s 35.
Jose Reyes is in a contract year, and is having by far his best professional season. He and the Mets both hope his recent hamstring injury is not too serious.
Jose Bautista has surprised even his most ardent supporters with the ridiculous figures he has been putting up this year.
Bautista leads all major league hitters in slugging percentage, on-base percentage, homers and walks. He is third in the AL in batting average.
Most impressive of all is that Bautista produces these absurd numbers on the Toronto Blue Jays. He’d be a legitimate Triple Crown threat if he had teammates that got on base more often.
Every eye-popping prediction about Adrian Gonzalez is coming true, and then some.
Gonzalez is leading the AL with a .353 average, 27 doubles and 74 RBI. He also plays Gold Glove defense at first base.
As a large contributor to the recent Red Sox surge, Adrian Gonzalez is a front-runner for the AL MVP and certainly deserves his fourth straight All-Star selection.