Three Reds were named to the All-Star Game Sunday night.
It was a proud moment for a team that isn't used to having an abundance of all-stars, but the name that was left off made it bittersweet.
Reds' first baseman Joey Votto was not on the final National League roster, despite being in the top five in the NL in all three major statistical categories, with a .312 average, 19 home runs, and 57 RBI.
It's not out of the question to say that Votto has been the NL MVP this first half. How can a man that some baseball experts consider the MVP not be included on an all-star team?
The numbers are even more impressive with Votto missing extended time with a neck injury earlier in the year.
According to ESPN's MLB Player Rater, Votto is actually the top first baseman in the NL according to their system of four different statistical metrics for evaluating player performance.
Albert Pujols is definitely the top dog when it comes to NL first basemen, so fans voting him as the starting first baseman is not a surprise. He and Votto had similar numbers, but Pujols is one of the league's most popular players. You can't say the same for Votto.
But when it comes to the other first basemen added to the NL roster, Votto should have gotten the nod.
When you look at the numbers, Votto's first half surpassed those of Adrian Gonzalez and Ryan Howard.
Gonzalez's production has been an integral part to the Padres' resurgence. He leads the Padres in every major statistical category with .295 average, 16 home runs, and 51 RBIs.
But the same could be said about Votto being essential to the Reds' resurgence. Votto's hot hitting has been one of the biggest reasons Cincinnati leads the NL in hitting.
Votto leads the Reds all categories, like Gonzalez, but has had more of an impact for Cincinnati.
Toward Ryan Howard, the only reason Howard would get a pass over Votto is popularity.
Votto has four more home runs and is ahead of Howard by 18 points in batting average.
The numbers might be close, but Votto deserves to get his first selection due to how essential he has been to Reds' charge to first-place in the NL Central.
Now, Votto goes up against Heath Bell, Carlos Gonzalez, Billy Wagner, and Ryan Zimmerman for the NL's final man.
Of all the men on the ballot, Bell gives the only case close enough to Votto's. The Padres' closer leads the NL with 23 saves and has a 1.77 ERA.
None, however, have had the impact on their team that Votto has.
With one more player to select to the NL roster, Votto is the man who deserves the 34th and final spot.