2014 MLB All-Star Game Final Vote: Odds of Every Candidate Winning a Spot

Unsurprisingly, the 2014 MLB All-Star Game Final Vote ballots are loaded with players who deserve a trip to Target Field in Minnesota.

The lists of the final five for the American League and National League, respectively, are courtesy of MLB.com.

AL:

  • Dallas Keuchel, SP, Houston Astros
  • Corey Kluber, SP, Cleveland Indians
  • Rick Porcello, SP, Detroit Tigers
  • Garrett Richards, SP, Los Angeles Angels
  • Chris Sale, SP, Chicago White Sox

NL:

  • Casey McGehee, 3B, Miami Marlins
  • Justin Morneau, 1B, Colorado Rockies
  • Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals
  • Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago Cubs
  • Justin Upton, LF, Atlanta Braves

The Final Vote ballot will run through Thursday, July 10, at 4 p.m. ET, at which point the winners will be announced. Fans can cast their votes for their selections via MLB.com, text message and Twitter. The Twitter portion of the balloting will only be available for the final six hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET on Thursday). Details for how to vote can be found on MLB.com.

What follows are the odds of every candidate winning a spot. Now, let's see who has the best chances of earning an All-Star nod.

Begin Slideshow

Stock Up, Stock Down for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Top 10 Prospects for Week 14

This week’s big news for the Los Angeles Dodger farm system actually came from outside of the organization. The Oakland Athleticstrade for Jeff Samardzija cost them elite prospect Addison Russell, so at this point, one can only imagine what it would take to get Tampa Bay Rays starter David Price (whom the Dodgers have been linked to, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports).

In this mailbag from the excellent Dodger blog Dodgers Digest, Dustin Nosler speculated that it would take two of the three elite prospects—and that is a sentiment I agree with.

With that being said, let’s get to this past week’s performances.

Note: Nos. 8 and 9 Ross Stripling and Onelki Garcia are injured, so Nos. 11 and 12 Jose Dominguez and Matt Magill will take their place.

Begin Slideshow

AL All-Stars 2014: Full List of Selections and Snubs After Voting Results

The American League's stars have been aligned. Without question, its roster for the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Minnesota is a reflection of the best and brightest from the Junior Circuit. MLB tweeted the roster results on Sunday evening, including the final nominees for the fan vote and the reserves:

Here's a breakdown of the rosters for both teams with each player's full name:

While every player honored has a strong case for inclusion, some are more worthy than others. Here's a look at the guys who have been absolute monsters through the first half of the season.

 

The No Doubters

Mike Trout, 3rd Selection

So much for feeling the pressure of signing a huge contract. After inking a six-year, $144.5 million extension with the Los Angeles Angels, a normal man might have struggled as he tried to live up to the mammoth deal.

Well, Mike Trout is no normal man. 

Through 82 games, the 22-year-old force of nature is hitting .308 with 20 home runs and 63 RBI. He's well on his way to toppling his previous career highs in the latter two categories.

If the season ended today, he'd get a ton of first-place MVP votes, and he'd be as deserving of them as he is a starting spot for the American League All-Stars.

Trout thanked the fans for voting him as a starter shortly after the announcements came through.

 

Edwin Encarnacion, 2nd Selection

It's a bittersweet occasion for Edwin Encarnacion. The Toronto Blue Jays slugger is second in the major leagues in home runs and RBI with 26 and 70, respectively, but he won't be able to play in the All-Star Game.

Per Shi Davidi of SportsNet, Encarnacion is headed for the disabled list after suffering a quadriceps injury:

Without a question, Encarnacion is in the early conversation for MVP with Trout, though one of his teammates may be stealing a few of his votes. It's a shame Double E won't get a chance to perform in Minnesota.

The Home Run Derby and All-Star Game will miss his presence.

 

Jose Bautista, 5th Selection

That aforementioned, vote-stealing, Blue Jays teammate is Jose Bautista. The two-time home run king is at it again this season. 

He has 17 dingers, but the 33-year-old veteran has transformed himself into more of a complete hitter. Bautista is hitting .300 and could top that benchmark for just the second time in his career if he maintains or exceeds the pace he set in the first half of the season.

Bautista's eye at the plate has seemingly returned. He's already drawn 60 bases on balls after earning just 59 and 69 in 2012 and 2013, respectively. In his two huge years with Toronto, Bautista walked an average of 116 times.

He's on pace to fit into that slot again in 2014.

 

Biggest Snubs

It wouldn't be All-Star season without a spirited debate about players who were snubbed. Here's the biggest snubs from the pool of position players and pitchers.

 

Alcides Escobar, Kansas City Royals

With all due respect to the great Derek Jeter who is playing in his last season and All-Star Game, Alcides Escobar has been better than the Captain in every way in 2014.

The 27-year-old shortstop is hitting 18 points higher than Jeter, has a higher on-base percentage, more RBI and he's stolen 21 bases compared to the future Hall of Famer's six.

Some fans may turn a blind eye because of the sentimental value, but this still qualifies as a snub.

 

Jeff Samardzija, Oakland A's

This one is clearly because of a technicality, but it's still a snub. Jeff Samardzija was traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Oakland Athletics on Friday, and the deal left the ace without a league to represent.

Despite the fact that Samardzija was selected as a member of the National League squad, he's now part of an American League team.

Since he hasn't performed long enough to garner a spot based on his work with the A's, he will be inactive for the All-Star Game.

WSCR's Bruce Levine breaks down Samardzija's All-Star predicament:

Well, at least he's likely headed for the postseason with Oakland, the team with the best record in the majors. That wasn't the case in Chicago. Samardzija will almost certainly take the trade-off.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

AL All-Stars 2014: Full List of Selections and Snubs After Voting Results

The American League's stars have been aligned. Without question, its roster for the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Minnesota is a reflection of the best and brightest from the Junior Circuit. MLB tweeted the roster results on Sunday evening, including the final nominees for the fan vote and the reserves:

Here's a breakdown of the rosters for both teams with each player's full name:

While every player honored has a strong case for inclusion, some are more worthy than others. Here's a look at the guys who have been absolute monsters through the first half of the season.

 

The No Doubters

Mike Trout, 3rd Selection

So much for feeling the pressure of signing a huge contract. After inking a six-year, $144.5 million extension with the Los Angeles Angels, a normal man might have struggled as he tried to live up to the mammoth deal.

Well, Mike Trout is no normal man. 

Through 82 games, the 22-year-old force of nature is hitting .308 with 20 home runs and 63 RBI. He's well on his way to toppling his previous career highs in the latter two categories.

If the season ended today, he'd get a ton of first-place MVP votes, and he'd be as deserving of them as he is a starting spot for the American League All-Stars.

Trout thanked the fans for voting him as a starter shortly after the announcements came through.

 

Edwin Encarnacion, 2nd Selection

It's a bittersweet occasion for Edwin Encarnacion. The Toronto Blue Jays slugger is second in the major leagues in home runs and RBI with 26 and 70, respectively, but he won't be able to play in the All-Star Game.

Per Shi Davidi of SportsNet, Encarnacion is headed for the disabled list after suffering a quadriceps injury:

Without a question, Encarnacion is in the early conversation for MVP with Trout, though one of his teammates may be stealing a few of his votes. It's a shame Double E won't get a chance to perform in Minnesota.

The Home Run Derby and All-Star Game will miss his presence.

 

Jose Bautista, 5th Selection

That aforementioned, vote-stealing, Blue Jays teammate is Jose Bautista. The two-time home run king is at it again this season. 

He has 17 dingers, but the 33-year-old veteran has transformed himself into more of a complete hitter. Bautista is hitting .300 and could top that benchmark for just the second time in his career if he maintains or exceeds the pace he set in the first half of the season.

Bautista's eye at the plate has seemingly returned. He's already drawn 60 bases on balls after earning just 59 and 69 in 2012 and 2013, respectively. In his two huge years with Toronto, Bautista walked an average of 116 times.

He's on pace to fit into that slot again in 2014.

 

Biggest Snubs

It wouldn't be All-Star season without a spirited debate about players who were snubbed. Here's the biggest snubs from the pool of position players and pitchers.

 

Alcides Escobar, Kansas City Royals

With all due respect to the great Derek Jeter who is playing in his last season and All-Star Game, Alcides Escobar has been better than the Captain in every way in 2014.

The 27-year-old shortstop is hitting 18 points higher than Jeter, has a higher on-base percentage, more RBI and he's stolen 21 bases compared to the future Hall of Famer's six.

Some fans may turn a blind eye because of the sentimental value, but this still qualifies as a snub.

 

Jeff Samardzija, Oakland A's

This one is clearly because of a technicality, but it's still a snub. Jeff Samardzija was traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Oakland Athletics on Friday, and the deal left the ace without a league to represent.

Despite the fact that Samardzija was selected as a member of the National League squad, he's now part of an American League team.

Since he hasn't performed long enough to garner a spot based on his work with the A's, he will be inactive for the All-Star Game.

WSCR's Bruce Levine breaks down Samardzija's All-Star predicament:

Well, at least he's likely headed for the postseason with Oakland, the team with the best record in the majors. That wasn't the case in Chicago. Samardzija will almost certainly take the trade-off.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

AL All-Stars 2014: Full List of Selections and Snubs After Voting Results

The American League's stars have been aligned. Without question, its roster for the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Minnesota is a reflection of the best and brightest from the Junior Circuit. MLB tweeted the roster results on Sunday evening, including the final nominees for the fan vote and the reserves:

Here's a breakdown of the rosters for both teams with each player's full name:

While every player honored has a strong case for inclusion, some are more worthy than others. Here's a look at the guys who have been absolute monsters through the first half of the season.

 

The No Doubters

Mike Trout, 3rd Selection

So much for feeling the pressure of signing a huge contract. After inking a six-year, $144.5 million extension with the Los Angeles Angels, a normal man might have struggled as he tried to live up to the mammoth deal.

Well, Mike Trout is no normal man. 

Through 82 games, the 22-year-old force of nature is hitting .308 with 20 home runs and 63 RBI. He's well on his way to toppling his previous career highs in the latter two categories.

If the season ended today, he'd get a ton of first-place MVP votes, and he'd be as deserving of them as he is a starting spot for the American League All-Stars.

Trout thanked the fans for voting him as a starter shortly after the announcements came through.

 

Edwin Encarnacion, 2nd Selection

It's a bittersweet occasion for Edwin Encarnacion. The Toronto Blue Jays slugger is second in the major leagues in home runs and RBI with 26 and 70, respectively, but he won't be able to play in the All-Star Game.

Per Shi Davidi of SportsNet, Encarnacion is headed for the disabled list after suffering a quadriceps injury:

Without a question, Encarnacion is in the early conversation for MVP with Trout, though one of his teammates may be stealing a few of his votes. It's a shame Double E won't get a chance to perform in Minnesota.

The Home Run Derby and All-Star Game will miss his presence.

 

Jose Bautista, 5th Selection

That aforementioned, vote-stealing, Blue Jays teammate is Jose Bautista. The two-time home run king is at it again this season. 

He has 17 dingers, but the 33-year-old veteran has transformed himself into more of a complete hitter. Bautista is hitting .300 and could top that benchmark for just the second time in his career if he maintains or exceeds the pace he set in the first half of the season.

Bautista's eye at the plate has seemingly returned. He's already drawn 60 bases on balls after earning just 59 and 69 in 2012 and 2013, respectively. In his two huge years with Toronto, Bautista walked an average of 116 times.

He's on pace to fit into that slot again in 2014.

 

Biggest Snubs

It wouldn't be All-Star season without a spirited debate about players who were snubbed. Here's the biggest snubs from the pool of position players and pitchers.

 

Alcides Escobar, Kansas City Royals

With all due respect to the great Derek Jeter who is playing in his last season and All-Star Game, Alcides Escobar has been better than the Captain in every way in 2014.

The 27-year-old shortstop is hitting 18 points higher than Jeter, has a higher on-base percentage, more RBI and he's stolen 21 bases compared to the future Hall of Famer's six.

Some fans may turn a blind eye because of the sentimental value, but this still qualifies as a snub.

 

Jeff Samardzija, Oakland A's

This one is clearly because of a technicality, but it's still a snub. Jeff Samardzija was traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Oakland Athletics on Friday, and the deal left the ace without a league to represent.

Despite the fact that Samardzija was selected as a member of the National League squad, he's now part of an American League team.

Since he hasn't performed long enough to garner a spot based on his work with the A's, he will be inactive for the All-Star Game.

WSCR's Bruce Levine breaks down Samardzija's All-Star predicament:

Well, at least he's likely headed for the postseason with Oakland, the team with the best record in the majors. That wasn't the case in Chicago. Samardzija will almost certainly take the trade-off.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

AL All-Stars 2014: Full List of Selections and Snubs After Voting Results

The American League's stars have been aligned. Without question, its roster for the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Minnesota is a reflection of the best and brightest from the Junior Circuit. MLB tweeted the roster results on Sunday evening, including the final nominees for the fan vote and the reserves:

Here's a breakdown of the rosters for both teams with each player's full name:

While every player honored has a strong case for inclusion, some are more worthy than others. Here's a look at the guys who have been absolute monsters through the first half of the season.

 

The No Doubters

Mike Trout, 3rd Selection

So much for feeling the pressure of signing a huge contract. After inking a six-year, $144.5 million extension with the Los Angeles Angels, a normal man might have struggled as he tried to live up to the mammoth deal.

Well, Mike Trout is no normal man. 

Through 82 games, the 22-year-old force of nature is hitting .308 with 20 home runs and 63 RBI. He's well on his way to toppling his previous career highs in the latter two categories.

If the season ended today, he'd get a ton of first-place MVP votes, and he'd be as deserving of them as he is a starting spot for the American League All-Stars.

Trout thanked the fans for voting him as a starter shortly after the announcements came through.

 

Edwin Encarnacion, 2nd Selection

It's a bittersweet occasion for Edwin Encarnacion. The Toronto Blue Jays slugger is second in the major leagues in home runs and RBI with 26 and 70, respectively, but he won't be able to play in the All-Star Game.

Per Shi Davidi of SportsNet, Encarnacion is headed for the disabled list after suffering a quadriceps injury:

Without a question, Encarnacion is in the early conversation for MVP with Trout, though one of his teammates may be stealing a few of his votes. It's a shame Double E won't get a chance to perform in Minnesota.

The Home Run Derby and All-Star Game will miss his presence.

 

Jose Bautista, 5th Selection

That aforementioned, vote-stealing, Blue Jays teammate is Jose Bautista. The two-time home run king is at it again this season. 

He has 17 dingers, but the 33-year-old veteran has transformed himself into more of a complete hitter. Bautista is hitting .300 and could top that benchmark for just the second time in his career if he maintains or exceeds the pace he set in the first half of the season.

Bautista's eye at the plate has seemingly returned. He's already drawn 60 bases on balls after earning just 59 and 69 in 2012 and 2013, respectively. In his two huge years with Toronto, Bautista walked an average of 116 times.

He's on pace to fit into that slot again in 2014.

 

Biggest Snubs

It wouldn't be All-Star season without a spirited debate about players who were snubbed. Here's the biggest snubs from the pool of position players and pitchers.

 

Alcides Escobar, Kansas City Royals

With all due respect to the great Derek Jeter who is playing in his last season and All-Star Game, Alcides Escobar has been better than the Captain in every way in 2014.

The 27-year-old shortstop is hitting 18 points higher than Jeter, has a higher on-base percentage, more RBI and he's stolen 21 bases compared to the future Hall of Famer's six.

Some fans may turn a blind eye because of the sentimental value, but this still qualifies as a snub.

 

Jeff Samardzija, Oakland A's

This one is clearly because of a technicality, but it's still a snub. Jeff Samardzija was traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Oakland Athletics on Friday, and the deal left the ace without a league to represent.

Despite the fact that Samardzija was selected as a member of the National League squad, he's now part of an American League team.

Since he hasn't performed long enough to garner a spot based on his work with the A's, he will be inactive for the All-Star Game.

WSCR's Bruce Levine breaks down Samardzija's All-Star predicament:

Well, at least he's likely headed for the postseason with Oakland, the team with the best record in the majors. That wasn't the case in Chicago. Samardzija will almost certainly take the trade-off.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

AL All-Stars 2014: Full List of Selections and Snubs After Voting Results

The American League's stars have been aligned. Without question, its roster for the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Minnesota is a reflection of the best and brightest from the Junior Circuit. MLB tweeted the roster results on Sunday evening, including the final nominees for the fan vote and the reserves:

Here's a breakdown of the rosters for both teams with each player's full name:

While every player honored has a strong case for inclusion, some are more worthy than others. Here's a look at the guys who have been absolute monsters through the first half of the season.

 

The No Doubters

Mike Trout, 3rd Selection

So much for feeling the pressure of signing a huge contract. After inking a six-year, $144.5 million extension with the Los Angeles Angels, a normal man might have struggled as he tried to live up to the mammoth deal.

Well, Mike Trout is no normal man. 

Through 82 games, the 22-year-old force of nature is hitting .308 with 20 home runs and 63 RBI. He's well on his way to toppling his previous career highs in the latter two categories.

If the season ended today, he'd get a ton of first-place MVP votes, and he'd be as deserving of them as he is a starting spot for the American League All-Stars.

Trout thanked the fans for voting him as a starter shortly after the announcements came through.

 

Edwin Encarnacion, 2nd Selection

It's a bittersweet occasion for Edwin Encarnacion. The Toronto Blue Jays slugger is second in the major leagues in home runs and RBI with 26 and 70, respectively, but he won't be able to play in the All-Star Game.

Per Shi Davidi of SportsNet, Encarnacion is headed for the disabled list after suffering a quadriceps injury:

Without a question, Encarnacion is in the early conversation for MVP with Trout, though one of his teammates may be stealing a few of his votes. It's a shame Double E won't get a chance to perform in Minnesota.

The Home Run Derby and All-Star Game will miss his presence.

 

Jose Bautista, 5th Selection

That aforementioned, vote-stealing, Blue Jays teammate is Jose Bautista. The two-time home run king is at it again this season. 

He has 17 dingers, but the 33-year-old veteran has transformed himself into more of a complete hitter. Bautista is hitting .300 and could top that benchmark for just the second time in his career if he maintains or exceeds the pace he set in the first half of the season.

Bautista's eye at the plate has seemingly returned. He's already drawn 60 bases on balls after earning just 59 and 69 in 2012 and 2013, respectively. In his two huge years with Toronto, Bautista walked an average of 116 times.

He's on pace to fit into that slot again in 2014.

 

Biggest Snubs

It wouldn't be All-Star season without a spirited debate about players who were snubbed. Here's the biggest snubs from the pool of position players and pitchers.

 

Alcides Escobar, Kansas City Royals

With all due respect to the great Derek Jeter who is playing in his last season and All-Star Game, Alcides Escobar has been better than the Captain in every way in 2014.

The 27-year-old shortstop is hitting 18 points higher than Jeter, has a higher on-base percentage, more RBI and he's stolen 21 bases compared to the future Hall of Famer's six.

Some fans may turn a blind eye because of the sentimental value, but this still qualifies as a snub.

 

Jeff Samardzija, Oakland A's

This one is clearly because of a technicality, but it's still a snub. Jeff Samardzija was traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Oakland Athletics on Friday, and the deal left the ace without a league to represent.

Despite the fact that Samardzija was selected as a member of the National League squad, he's now part of an American League team.

Since he hasn't performed long enough to garner a spot based on his work with the A's, he will be inactive for the All-Star Game.

WSCR's Bruce Levine breaks down Samardzija's All-Star predicament:

Well, at least he's likely headed for the postseason with Oakland, the team with the best record in the majors. That wasn't the case in Chicago. Samardzija will almost certainly take the trade-off.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Stock Up, Stock Down for Cincinnati Reds’ Top 10 Prospects for Week 14

Billy Hamilton has been fantastic for the Cincinnati Reds in 2014, but the club has plenty of talent in the minor leagues that fans should be keeping an eye on.

Cincinnati doesn't have many players who are ready to make the jump from the minors to the majors just yet, but by the end of this season, the Reds will have a good idea of what they have in their system.

There are some promising outfielders, but other than those select few, the Reds' top prospects are all pitchers. The team is loaded with talented arms in the minor leagues. A few of the team's recent first-round picks are beginning to show what they can do, and they have been impressive.

The Reds have a couple of representatives at the 2014 Futures Game, so for those who haven't had a chance to see some of the team's top prospects, be sure to tune into that game.

Check out how the organization's top prospects have done lately, with the rankings via the Reds' official website.

Begin Slideshow

Stock Up, Stock Down for Cincinnati Reds’ Top 10 Prospects for Week 14

Billy Hamilton has been fantastic for the Cincinnati Reds in 2014, but the club has plenty of talent in the minor leagues that fans should be keeping an eye on.

Cincinnati doesn't have many players who are ready to make the jump from the minors to the majors just yet, but by the end of this season, the Reds will have a good idea of what they have in their system.

There are some promising outfielders, but other than those select few, the Reds' top prospects are all pitchers. The team is loaded with talented arms in the minor leagues. A few of the team's recent first-round picks are beginning to show what they can do, and they have been impressive.

The Reds have a couple of representatives at the 2014 Futures Game, so for those who haven't had a chance to see some of the team's top prospects, be sure to tune into that game.

Check out how the organization's top prospects have done lately, with the rankings via the Reds' official website.

Begin Slideshow

2014 MLB All-Star Roster: Highlighting Top Snubs After Voting Results Reveal

It's officially summer. Every baseball fan is complaining about the All-Star Game.

Some would argue that discussion about the biggest snubs from the Midsummer Classic is a foolish pursuit. What's the big deal, right?

The problem is, that the number of All-Star Games a player participates in are often used as one of the measuring sticks to determine his Hall of Fame candidacy. There's also the little matter of this game determining home-field advantage for the World Series.

If this game is truly supposed to matter, you want the best players taking part.

You can see the full rosters for each All-Star team below, courtesy of MLB.com.

Somehow absent are these four players.

 

Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians

The Cleveland Indians' starting rotation has been a complete mess this year. The one shining light is Corey Kluber.

Although he only boasts an 8-6 record, Kluber has a 2.99 ERA with 137 strikeouts, which is fourth in the American League. His FIP (fielding-independent pitching, scaled like ERA) of 2.65 illustrates exactly how great he's been this year and how bad his defense has been. According to FanGraphs, only Felix Hernandez has a lower FIP in the American League.

If you want to know just how little help Kluber is getting from his defense, opposing hitters are batting .332 against him, sixth-highest among qualified pitchers. His teammate, Justin Masterson, is fifth.

Despite what's been by far the best year of his career, Kluber will have to wait until somebody else drops out in order to make the trip to Minneapolis.

 

Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox

The AL is loaded with quality starting pitchers, so Kluber's snub is somewhat excusable. What's the excuse for leaving off Chris Sale?

As Tyler Kepner of the New York Times pointed out, the Chicago White Sox ace might be the best pitcher in baseball, period. However, that's not good enough to earn inclusion to the All-Star Game:

In 13 starts this year, Sale has an 8-1 record, with an ERA of 2.16 and a FIP of 2.49. He also leads the AL in adjusted ERA+ at 188, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Some might argue that Sale didn't earn an All-Star place since he missed part of the season. Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan astutely noted that that didn't stop Clayton Kershaw from making the National League roster:

Seriously, what's the deal here?

The fact that Kluber and Sale are both in the "Final Vote" is little consolation. They should be there already:

 

Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins

Wins above replacement might be anathema for some baseball fans, but it's at least a solid representation of a player's production. Brian Dozier, despite hitting .235, has the third-highest WAR among all second basemen in the major leagues. He's also playing for the Minnesota Twins, who are hosting the All-Star Game.

Surely that's all good enough to get him named to the AL roster. Or not.

Dozier did find the silver lining in all of this, per Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press in St. Paul:

If Dozier's not gonna be in the All-Star Game, then at least he can catch up with some of his family members. They'll truly appreciate how good he's been.

 

Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals

Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post believes that Anthony Rendon and Matt Carpenter were in contention for the final reserve third baseman role for the National League, and Rendon lost out:

If that was the case, the Washington Nationals star should've earn the place ahead of Carpenter. The two have identical .282 batting averages, but Rendon has eight more home runs, 18 more RBI, a slugging percentage nearly 100 points higher and a 61-point edge in OPS.

According to FanGraphs, Rendon also owns a slight advantage in WAR, 3.2 versus Carpenter's 3.0. Even when you consider how much better Carpenter is defensively, he still hasn't had as good of a year as Rendon.

At least he's on the "Final Vote" ballot. Ian Desmond implored Nats fans everywhere to get out and vote for their player:

With Justin Morneau—possibly earning some votes from Minnesota Twins fans—and Anthony Rizzo also on the ballot, it will be hard for Rendon to make it to Target Field.

 

Note: All stats are courtesy of ESPN.com unless otherwise noted.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2014 MLB All-Star Roster: Highlighting Top Snubs After Voting Results Reveal

It's officially summer. Every baseball fan is complaining about the All-Star Game.

Some would argue that discussion about the biggest snubs from the Midsummer Classic is a foolish pursuit. What's the big deal, right?

The problem is that the number of All-Star Games a player participates in are often used as one of the measuring sticks to determine his Hall of Fame candidacy. There's also the little matter of this game determining home-field advantage for the World Series.

If this game is truly supposed to matter, you want the best players taking part.

You can see the full rosters for each All-Star team below, courtesy of MLB.com.

These four players are somehow absent.

 

Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians

The Cleveland Indians starting rotation has been a complete mess this year. The one shining light is Corey Kluber.

Although he only boasts an 8-6 record, Kluber has a 2.99 ERA with 137 strikeouts, which is fourth in the American League. His FIP (fielding-independent pitching, scaled like ERA) of 2.65 illustrates exactly how great he's been this year and how bad his defense has been. According to Fangraphs, only Felix Hernandez has a lower FIP in the American League.

If you want to know just how little help Kluber is getting from his defense, opposing hitters are batting .332 against him, sixth-highest among qualified pitchers. His teammate, Justin Masterson, is fifth.

Despite what's been by far the best year of his career, Kluber will have to wait until somebody else drops out in order to make the trip to Minneapolis.

 

Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox

The AL is loaded with quality starting pitchers, so Kluber's snub is somewhat excusable. What's the excuse for leaving off Chris Sale?

As Tyler Kepner of the New York Times pointed out, the Chicago White Sox ace might be the best pitcher in baseball, period. However, that's not good enough to earn inclusion to the All-Star Game:

In 13 starts this year, Sale has an 8-1 record, with an ERA of 2.16 and a FIP of 2.49. He also leads the AL in adjusted ERA+ at 188, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Some might argue that Sale didn't earn an All-Star place since he missed part of the season. Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan astutely noted that that didn't stop Clayton Kershaw from making the National League roster:

Seriously, what's the deal here?

The fact that Kluber and Sale are both in the "Final Vote" is little consolation. They should be there already.

 

Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins

Wins above replacement might be anathema for some baseball fans, but it's at least a solid representation of a player's production. Brian Dozier, despite hitting .235, has the third-highest WAR among all second basemen in the major leagues. He's also playing for the Minnesota Twins, which are hosting the All-Star Game.

Surely that's all good enough to get him named to the AL roster. Or not.

Dozier did find the silver lining in all of this, as per Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press in St. Paul:

If Dozier's not gonna be in the All-Star Game, then at least he can catch up with some of his family members. They'll truly appreciate how good he's been.

 

Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals

Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post believes that Anthony Rendon and Matt Carpenter were in contention for the final reserve third baseman role for the National League, and Rendon lost out:

If that was the case, the Washington Nationals star should've earned the place ahead of Carpenter. The two have identical .282 batting averages, but Rendon has eight more home runs, 18 more RBI, a slugging percentage nearly 100 points higher and a 61-point edge in OPS.

According to Fangraphs, Rendon also owns a slight advantage in WAR, 3.2 versus Carpenter's 3.0. Even when you consider how much better Carpenter is defensively, he still hasn't had as good of a year as Rendon.

At least he's on the "Final Vote" ballot. Ian Desmond implored Nats fans everywhere to get out and vote for their player:

With Justin Morneau—possibly earning some votes from Minnesota Twins fans—and Anthony Rizzo also on the ballot, it will be hard for Rendon to make it to Target Field.

 

Note: All stats are courtesy of ESPN.com unless otherwise noted.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2014 MLB All-Star Roster: Breaking Down the NL and AL Selections

Major League Baseball has done its part by revealing the rosters for the 2014 All-Star Game.

Now we must do our part by talking about them as they deserve to be talked about: In depth!

Ahead, we're going to break down the starters, the benches and the pitching staffs that the American and National League squads will be taking to Target Field on July 15. Once that's done, we'll make a few comparisons and predict which club is going to win.

If that sounds good to you, start the show whenever.

 

Note: Stats are current through Saturday, July 5, and are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. Specifically, all WAR figures within come from the latter. 

Begin Slideshow

NL All-Stars 2014: Full List of Selections and Snubs After Voting Results

The National League's best players are now set to take the field during the Midsummer Classic after a long period of voting by MLB fans—or are they?

While the All-Star Game always features a bevy of talent each year, it can certainly be considered a popularity contest that has more to do with name recognition rather than on-field performances.

With the starting lineups finally revealed, we can now ask ourselves one question: Did the voters get it right?

Well, here's a look at the NL's starting lineup, courtesy of MLB:

Here's a look at potential starters to take the mound for the NL, but we'll have to wait to see who will ultimately be selected:

Although, not every pitcher on the list will be eligible to play, according to MLB:

Before we dive into the game's biggest potential snubs, let's take a look at the team's entire roster:

So, now with the roster intact, which players have been unreasonably left on the outside looking in?

Every year we see plenty of roster snubs, but it never fails to surprise. Here's a look at a handful of this year's biggest NL roster snubs.

 

Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals

Anthony Rendon's exclusion from the NL's roster just doesn't make much sense at all. He's completely upped his game at the plate this year, batting .286 with 94 hits, 21 doubles, five triples, 12 home runs and 50 RBI.

Even his fielding percentage increased at third base from .868 in 2013 to .956 this season.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports summed it up nicely with this tweet:

 

Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago Cubs

Since Passan mentioned him in the previous tweet, we may as well get right to the snub of Anthony Rizzo.

He's been a great bat on a lackluster team this year, with a batting average of .274 including 84 hits, 13 doubles, one triple, 17 home runs and 45 RBI. He's holding his own defensively as well, with a fielding percentage of .992.

Those numbers may not warrant a start, but certainly deserve a place on the roster.

 

Casey McGehee, 3B, Miami Marlins

Casey McGehee may not be a power hitter, but he can sure manufacture runs.

Always steady at the plate, McGehee boasts a .317 batting average this season, including 106 hits, 20 doubles, one triple and one home run for 52 RBI. No slouch on defense, he's holding a fielding percentage of .983 and has only committed three errors this season.

All-Star Giancarlo Stanton had this to say about McGehee's snub, via Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald:

"I'm pretty mad. It still doesn't make any sense. I know people get gypped every year from it. But this is my first case of being together and seeing the dominance that [McGehee] has been."

 

Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

Even though Ryan Braun has been dealing with a bout of back spasms recently, he's played well enough to warrant a spot on the NL's roster.

Batting .288 for the season with 79 hits, 17 doubles, five triples, 11 home runs and 49 RBI—not to mention a perfect fielding percentage—makes him the epitome of a snub. His numbers may be slightly down this season, but he's still one of the NL's top threats at the plate.

 

Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants

This is a rather close one due to the great play of Devin Mesoraco this season.

Buster Posey has been stellar on both offense and defense this season. He's batting .286 with 81 hits, 15 doubles, nine home runs and 41 RBI. Defensively, he boasts a .994 fielding percentage, has caught 14 baserunners and has only allowed three passed balls.

Those numbers just simply look All-Star worthy.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB All-Star Voting Results 2014: Leaders, Selections and Projected Lineup

Well done, baseball fans.

The MLB All-Star voting results were finally revealed during an ESPN broadcast Sunday night, and the starting lineups and the reserves are full of the best talent America's pastime has to offer in 2014.

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista was the overall vote leader in MLB, while Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki paced the National League, as per MLB's official Twitter account: 

There is a wealth of talent behind those two players, and the rosters will no doubt be completely dissected in the coming days.   

Here is the full list of selections for each team, followed by projected lineups and starting pitchers.

 

Preview

Of course, there is just as much intrigue in the names left off the final rosters as there is for those chosen to play in the Midsummer Classic. Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan gave his take on some snubs as the lineups were announced:

There could be plenty of explaining to do in Chris Sale's case. The Chicago White Sox ace is 8-1 with a 2.16 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 87.1 innings pitched this season. He's also tops in the American League in hits per nine innings pitched (6.183) and Adjusted ERA+ (188), as per Baseball-Reference.com. However, he is still a candidate for the AL Final Vote, as per MLB: 

This All-Star Game will serve as a coronation of sorts for Derek Jeter as one of the greatest players this game has ever seen.

Jeter hasn't necessarily put up All-Star numbers, posting a .266 batting average with two home runs and 21 RBI through 78 games this season. Nevertheless, the fans voted him in as a starter—no doubt a referendum on a legendary career.

There is an interesting quirk in the lineups here. Jeff Samardzija, formerly of the Chicago Cubs, was elected to the National League All-Star team, but he will not be able to participate in the game, as per MLB:

He was traded to the Oakland Athletics along with teammate Jason Hammel mere days before the rosters were announced. Samardzija was 2-7 with a 2.83 ERA before getting moved halfway across the country and into another league.

It's possible his inability to play is due to the game's high stakes. The Midsummer Classic determines home-field advantage in the World Series. Samardzija now plays in the AL for a 55-33 Oakland team determined to make a run at a championship, so this would create a definite conflict of interest if he suited up for his old team.

Situations like this could cause MLB to re-evaluate the nature of its pre-eminent exhibition, as Samardzija deserves a chance to participate in this game based on his performance thus far. Then again, Oakland general manager Billy Beane could be just fine with the fact that the gem in his blockbuster trade will be resting his arm during the All-Star break.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2014 MLB All Star Roster: Biggest Snubs and Surprises

The rosters have officially been announced for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game, and that means it's time for the annual arguments over who really deserves to be an All-Star and which guys were the biggest snubs.

Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson was far and away the biggest snub in either league last year, and while there may be no clear-cut No. 1 snub this time around, the field of deserving guys left off of their respective rosters may be bigger.

A higher number of deserving NL players found themselves left out of the Midsummer Classic this year than AL, but with talent stacked in both leagues there were certainly more snubs than surprise selections.

With that being said, here is a quick look at the biggest snubs in both leagues, as well as the biggest surprises among players who did find their way onto the rosters.

Begin Slideshow

MLB All-Star Voting Results 2014: Twitter Reacts to Final Leaders and Selections

The votes are in, the ballots have been tallied, the managers have made their picks and the Final Vote candidates have been announced—now all that's left to do is actually play the All-Star Game.

On Sunday evening, the American and National League rosters were announced, and as you might imagine, Twitter was ablaze with the news. Let's take a look back at how folks reacted to the selections.

The All-Star Selection Show on ESPN began by announcing the American League starters. And MLB Public Relations on Twitter had the rosters (the starters are in bold) and final vote tallies:

It should be noted that Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is injured and won't be available for the game, but the MLB Twitter account has an update on who will start in his place:

One player in particular immediately caught USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale's eye:

Derek Jeter, as he always does, said all the right things once his place in the starting lineup was official, per Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News:

Jeter's selection in this game keeps him in some pretty impressive company, as ESPN Stats & Information tweeted:

With nine starts and 14 total appearances, Jeter, in many ways, represents the past of baseball. Mike Trout, meanwhile, represents the future. But he's already in some pretty impressive All-Star Game company, as MLB Public Relations notes:

That's the American League. How did the National League shake out?

The MLB Public Relations account has the final roster (again, the starters in bold) and vote tallies:

One player who was particularly thrilled was Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who took the time to thank the fans for voting him in the starting lineup on his Twitter account:

Classy stuff there.

And then there was the bizarre. Take the case of Jeff Samardzija, who made the NL roster but isn't eligible to play in the game. Why? The Fox Sports: MLB account clears it up:

Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune doesn't agree with the ruling:

But there were good stories, too. Take the selection of Pat Neshek, for instance, per Jonah Keri of Grantland:

Nightengale is also thrilled to see him in the game:

And how about the Oakland Athletics, with the most players in the game? That hasn't happened in quite some time, as ESPN Stats & Information tweeted:

As always, however, much of the talk turned to the snubs. This is the portion of the program where we hand the mic to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Preach, brother.

Tyler Kepner of The New York Times can't wrap his head around Chris Sale's exclusion, either:

Meanwhile, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN sympathized for the many deserving first basemen in the NL who didn't make the cut:

Thankfully, there's a Final Vote, and boy, are both Final Votes loaded this year. Check them out, via MLB on Twitter:

If you feel one player in particular was seriously snubbed—cough, cough, Sale, cough—get out there and vote, folks. This year's All-Star Game feels particularly loaded, but a few deserving players will still have the chance to get in on the Final Vote.

And, man, should this game be good: Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout in the same lineup, some serious mashers in the National League—including fan favorite Yasiel Puig—and, lordy, how do you select a starting pitcher from so many incredibly deserving candidates?

This year's All-Star Game could be a classic. It's certainly going to be hard for both managers to get every worthy player some time out on the field. And that, folks, makes for good baseball.

 

Follow TRappaRT on Twitter

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB All-Star Lineup 2014: Batters, Starting Pitchers for AL and NL Squads

The lineups for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game are set, with star players flooding the rosters for both the American and National leagues. 

There are some household names, as well as first-time All-Stars cracking the lineups, making for an intriguing balance of stars and up-and-comers. Nearly every top name in the game is represented, but there are also some less notable players looking to steal the spotlight. 

Here is a look at both All-Star Game rosters after Sunday night's selection show.

 

 

Notable Storylines

Derek Jeter's Day

After a career that has been filled with world championships, All-Star selections and highlight-reel plays, Derek Jeter is sure to get a king's greeting in his final appearance at the Midsummer Classic. 

The New York Yankees' living legend was selected for yet another All-Star Game on Sunday, and he'll start for the American League side for the ninth time in his career. 

ESPN Stats and Information capped the historical significance:

There's really no two ways around it—no matter who gets MVP honors, hits the game-winning home run or dazzles most, it will be Jeter's day. 

Ever since announcing before the 2014 season that it would be his last, Jeter has made this season his farewell tour with commemorative displays at every ballpark he plays in. At the All-Star Game, it should only be amplified.

We saw the MLB make Mariano Rivera's final appearance at the All-Star Game special, and folks should expect nothing less regarding Jeter, one of the best players of his time.

 

Yasiel Puig's Inevitable Debut

In just one month of scintillating rookie action, Yasiel Puig launched a huge All-Star campaign in 2013 that fell just short.

But in 2014, he couldn't be denied.

After starting the season with his signature highlight-reel outfield plays, big home runs and daunting hitting, Puig was named to the All-Star squad for the first time, as a starter for the NL. 

Seconds after being named, Puig responded with a RBI double in the Dodgers game:

Puig has made quite the name for himself in just over a year in the majors, already becoming one of the most polarizing players in all of sports and arguably the most headline-generating in MLB. 

But as told by his selection, fans aren't looking too much into his diamond hijinks, per Ian Casselberry:

If Puig's early-career success is any indication, this should be just the first of many times Puig starts for the NL.

 

Snubs Aplenty

With so many All-Star spots up for grabs, it's inevitable that a few players could be overlooked.

2014 was no different. A number of worthy players failed to see their names called and will have a chip on their shoulder for the rest of the year.

Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan noted some snubs that he saw in the AL pitching crew:

The fans don't always get it right, and it's nothing short of impossible for them to do so with so many quality players and only a handful of spots available. 

If anything, being snubbed will serve as extra motivation for those who didn't see their name called on the broadcast.

 

Spread of Wealth in AL

Fans of the All-Star Game have noticed a trend in recent seasons—if an AL starter is on the roster, he's probably followed by a teammate.

From the loaded Yankees and Red Sox lineups of the early 2000s to the stacked Orioles and Rangers teams of recent seasons, seeing multiple players in the AL starting rotation has become a commonplace.

That trend was broken this year, as ESPN Stats and Information noted:

It almost didn't even come to fruition, as Matt Wieters was initially selected as a starter. The Orioles catcher would have joined Adam Jones as the second Baltimore player in the lineup, but is injured and thus replaced by Salvador Perez.

Still, things seem to be balancing out in the AL as far as starting All-Stars go. 

 

Follow Steven Cook on Twitter.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2014 MLB All-Star Roster: Complete Selections, Starters, Snubs, Voting and More

It's time to break out your best debate pants: The 2014 MLB All-Star teams have been announced. 

As with every other major sport's all-star game that relies on fan voting, there is going to be controversy. Past performances and name value often trump recent production and other far-more relevant factors. 

Still, with the Midsummer Classic offering a bit more importance than other star showcases, baseball fans tend to do a pretty solid job rewarding the most deserving players. This year is no different.     

Moreover, many of the oddities were fixed when managers John Farrell and Mike Matheny filled out the rest of the roster. 

With one spot on each team left to be filled by fan vote, let's take a look at how each team looks. 

 

2014 MLB All-Star Rosters

 

Roster Snubs

Chris Sale, P, Chicago White Sox

Whether you're an old-timer set in his or her ways, or an advanced statistician, it's impossible not to be enamored by Chris Sale's resume. 

The old-fashioned stats are there: He's 8-1 in 13 starts, has a sparkling 2.16 ERA and holds an American League-best 0.870 WHIP. 

The advanced stats are there: His 2.9 WAR is 10th in the American League despite having several less starts than anyone around him, and his ERA+, as Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan noted, rivals that of arguably the best pitcher on the planet: 

The AL is stacked with talented pitchers, but the exclusion of Sale, who has allowed a whopping eight (!) hits to left-handed hitters all year (even in an All-Star game, situational pitching will be key), is a head-scratcher. 

 

Ian Kinsler, 2B, Detroit Tigers

Robinson Cano received the fan vote, and there was no way Jose Altuve should have been staying home, but this would have been a situation where you just take the best players, regardless of it resulting in three second basemen.  

Ian Kinsler is hitting .305/.341/.484. Among qualified AL second basemen, those numbers rank third/sixth/first. He is first in runs scored, second in RBI, has been very good defensively and, perhaps most importantly, he is first in WAR by quite a large margin. 

The position is incredibly deep, but Kinsler deserves to be on the roster. 

 

Anthony Rendon, 2B/3B, Washington Nationals

Passan wondered about one of the more peculiar selections: 

Josh Harrison has played second base, third base, shortstop, left field and right field this season. He's hitting a solid .298/.335/.453, and his value as the ultimate utility player is understandable. 

However, Anthony Rendon is just as flexible in the infield—he has spent time at second, third and short during his MLB career—and provides much more pop at the plate. The 24-year-old has a lower batting average than Harrison, but his on-base percentage is higher, his slugging percentage is 30 points higher, he has seven more home runs, double the RBI total and 27 more runs scored. 

Fortunately, like Sale in the AL, he is up for the final vote, and teammate Ian Desmond has already started the campaign: 

Harrison is a nice story, but Rendon is more deserving of a spot on the bench. 

 

Starter Snubs

Todd Frazier, 3B, Cincinnati Reds

Joey Votto spent time on the disabled list and hasn't been himself since. Jay Bruce spent time on the disabled list. Devin Mesoraco spent time on the disabled list. Brandon Phillips is slugging .394, his worst mark in a decade.

That combination of events is a death sentence for most teams, yet the Cincinnati Reds are still very much alive in the NL Central and hovering around the league average in slugging percentage. 

They have Todd Frazier to thank for that. 

"I mean, he's been the best player on the team all year," said Bruce, via MLB.com's Manny Randhawa. "He's been arguably, if not definitely, the best third baseman in the National League."

Bruce is right. Frazier has been the best third baseman in the NL. He ranks first in home runs (17), slugging percentage (.500), stolen bases (13) and Wins Above Replacement (3.5). He's also second in average (.291), third in runs (54) and third in RBI (47).

Aramis Ramirez, meanwhile, is below Frazier in every single one of the above categories. 

 

Alexei Ramirez, SS, Chicago White Sox

I'm a sentimental guy. I enjoy pictures of kittens cuddling with puppies and other baby animal-related things. I'm also on-board with lifetime achievement awards and am totally fine with Derek Jeter making the All-Star team in his final season.

Just not as a starter. 

Jeets has nearly collected more gifts from opposing clubhouses than extra-base hits. He is hitting a pedestrian .273/.323/.328 and has been average defensively.

Instead of letting him start, make him a reserve. That way he not only receives his 14th career selection (putting him ahead of Joe DiMaggio and Mariano Rivera), but he can also be on the field for the final inning and ride off into the sunset like he deserves.

Alexei Ramirez, Erick Aybar, Alcides Escobar and a handful of others would have served as better choices. 

 

Jonathan Lucroy, C, Milwaukee Brewers

 You would have to be Yadier mind to overlook Jonathan Lucroy as the NL starting catcher this season. 

(I'm so sorry.)

A large reason for the Brewers' near wire-to-wire run as the NL Central's best team (three days out of first), Lucroy is in the midst of a record-setting season. Literally, per Brewers broadcaster Joe Block: 

The team's Senior Director of Media Relations, Mike Vassallo, added another extraordinary stat: 

Lucroy is hitting a robust .329/.397/.516 (second in the NL in average, sixth in slugging) with nine home runs, 44 RBI and 42 runs scored. Amazingly, he has a 10.1 base-on-ball percentage and just a 10.7 strikeout percentage, per FanGraphs.com. His WAR of 4.0 is more than 1.0 greater than any other catcher in the NL. 

Yadier Molina's defense, as always, has been spectacular. But his slugging percentage is more than 100 points lower than Lucroy's. An argument could also be made for Mesoraco, but he has played 30 fewer games. 

Ultimately, Lucroy has been one of the best hitters—regardless of positionin the league. He's an MVP candidate and will get the deserved nod, but he should be starting. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Oakland A’s Fans Give Up Trying to Spell ‘Samardzija’

Oakland A's fans had plenty to be excited about after hearing that recently acquired pitcher Jeff Samardzija was going to start Sunday afternoon's game vs. Toronto. 

A few fans wanted to wish their new star pitcher good luck by making a homemade sign, but spelling his last name proved to be too much trouble: 

It must have worked, because Samardzija looked right at home in his first start for Oakland. Fans were treated to a gem, as Samardzija pitched seven innings, surrendering one run while striking out five. The former Chicago Cubs ace picked up the win, and Oakland's 4-2 victory completed a four-game sweep of the Blue Jays.

[MLB, h/t Yahoo]

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB All-Star Voting 2014: Leaders, Standings and Final Results

Voting for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game wrapped up on Sunday, with the final American and National League selections announced on ESPN's telecast.     

Two supreme teams have been assembled to battle on July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis for home-field advantage in the World Series.

Here is a look at the results:

A fan vote determined the starting players, ensuring that the Midsummer Classic is indeed providing the people with what they want. 

MLB tweeted the starting lineups for both leagues:

Jeff Samardzija was voted on as a member of the NL team, but the former Cub will be ineligible to play now that he's with the A's, according to MLB.com:

Injured Baltimore Orioles star Matt Wieters was the initial starter at catcher for the AL, but Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals replaced him:

Perez is known for his arm but is also a threat at the plate, per Mark Simon of ESPN.com:

Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was voted as an All-Star starter, which makes sense given that he leads all of baseball with a .350 batting average.

However, the NL's leading vote-getter may be pining to leave Colorado before long if his individual success continues to dwarf the Rockies' (37-52) accomplishments as a team, per the The Denver Post's Mark Kiszla:

In Todd Helton, there's someone who's easy to look at his career here and how it played out. I have the utmost respect for Todd, but at the same time, I don't want to be the next in line as somebody who was here for a long time and didn't have a chance to win every single year. He played in a couple postseason games and went to one World Series. But that's not me. I want to be somewhere where there's a chance to be in the playoffs every single year.

For this All-Star showcase to have more meaning to Tulowitzki, his club would need to be in contention for a Commissioner's Trophy. That shouldn't be a problem this year for the Oakland Athletics and Milwaukee Brewers, two of the best teams in baseball who were rewarded with a plethora of All-Stars.

A's third baseman Josh Donaldson is a starter, and cannon-armed outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is also on the AL roster to headline the six Oakland players.

Milwaukee's Jonathan Lucroy was beat out by division rival Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals for the starting catcher spot.

Lucroy, selected as a reserve, leads all catchers in hits (104), batting average (.329) and on-base percentage (.397), but fans went with the more defensive-minded Molina behind the plate. Two Brewers will occupy the starting National League lineup, though, in third baseman Aramis Ramirez and entertaining outfielder Carlos Gomez.

This may be a farewell tour of sorts for New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter, but he's done well to prove there's merit to warrant his spot in the AL infield. Jeter had three hits and two RBI in the Yankees' 9-7 win over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday—in the same ballpark he'll play in for the last time as an All-Star.

SportsCenter highlighted some history Jeter made to bolster his already stupendous legacy:

Newsday's Erik Boland recorded what Jeter had to say about starting the All-Star Game:

MLB Public Relations pointed to the elite company Jeter joined with this latest prestigious designation:

Arizona Diamondbacks standout Paul Goldschmidt apparently wanted to flex his All-Star might on Sunday, too. He snapped a 17-game home run dry spell by hitting his 16th dinger of the year, leading Arizona to a 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

The D'Backs' official Twitter account alluded to how consistent Goldschmidt has been over the years even when he's not swatting it out of the park:

There is considerable power on the AL side, with Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout in a stacked batting order, along with Jose Bautista, who led his league in votes. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports brings up how strong the pitching is on the AL side, too:

With how loaded both these All-Star rosters are, it's tough to predict who has the edge between the AL and NL on July 15.

What is certain is that many prominent contributors from MLB's two best teams in the A's and Brewers, along with members from other contenders, will be fighting especially hard for home-field advantage in the World Series.

There is a lot of baseball between now and when the playoff picture becomes far clearer, yet the one certainty of the All-Star Game is its stakes will inspire plenty of buzz in Minneapolis—even beyond the star power on display.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com