With there being less than a month until the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Minnesota, we will take a look at the Cincinnati Reds that may be finding themselves playing in the sport’s most competitive exhibition.
Todd Frazier – 3B
Due to the fact that All-Star Game starters are determined by fan vote, there is very little chance that New York Mets third baseman David Wright will not win the selection. The cornerstone of a scuffling franchise, Wright has been the premier third baseman in the National League for the majority of the past decade.
Luckily, for Frazier, there is not an overwhelming number of other qualified candidates. With Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies having a broken finger, his selection to the club seems unlikely. Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals and Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates may also make a case, but neither can showcase the statistics that Frazier possesses.
Frazier is third in the league in home runs with 16, while being one of four players to currently lead his team in runs, home runs and runs batted in.
Brandon Phillips – 2B
One of the more unlikely resurgences in all of baseball this season has been that of Philadelphia Phillies second baseman, Chase Utley. As of June 18, Utley is hitting .301, and that number has taken a dip recently. Not having been selected to a mid-Summer Classic since 2010 due to chronic injuries, Utley remains the popular favorite amongst baseball fans coast-to-coast.
In order for Phillips to make it to Minnesota, he may have to be the recipient of some luck. Dodgers’ second baseman Dee Gordon currently leads the league in steals, so it would be hard to imagine keeping him off the roster. Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy would be a sure lock if David Wright does not win the vote down at third, since each team needs a representative.
Now that Phillips once again has protection in the lineup, his numbers may see a sharp increase in the following weeks.
Devin Mesoraco – C
It is difficult to imagine a player getting off to a hotter start than Mesoraco did in 2014, regardless of his injuries. Although his numbers have significantly tailed off, he is still making sound contact with the ball.
Unfortunately, Mesoraco has virtually no shot of making the All-Star team. Either Yadier Molina or Buster Posey will almost assuredly win the vote as the game’s starting catcher—whoever loses, will be selected anyway.
Then, there is Jonathan Lucroy from the Milwaukee Brewers who not only should be the starting catcher, but also is making a push to be considered in the National League MVP race.
While Mesoraco has been brilliant this year, he will have to continue to be the Reds’ best kept secret.
Johnny Cueto – SP
Due to his lack of offensive contributions, Cueto will more than likely not be slotted as the All-Star Game starter. In addition, whether it is fair or not, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny will be managing the team, and in case you have not heard, the Cardinals have an ace of their own who presents quite the résumé, Adam Wainwright.
Cueto may not be slated as the game’s starting pitcher, but he will almost assuredly be a member barring a travesty. With his ERA sitting south of two, Cueto has arguably been the most consistent pitcher in the league since Opening Day.
Alfredo Simon – SP
The most surprising potential selection unquestionably is Simon. A relative unknown to the rest of baseball at the beginning of the season, a man who once filled the #5 starter spot in the rotation now seems destined for Minnesota in the middle of July.
Ahead of his start on Wednesday evening, Simon is currently tied for the league lead in wins with nine. He has certainly not been a product of offensive help, with his ERA sitting just a tick above three.
There is still a month of baseball that has to take place before selections are made, but with the way rules are about pitchers whom start on Sunday not being allowed to make the team, Simon has as good a chance as he ever will.
Jonathan Broxton – RP
While it is certainly rare to see non-closers make the All-Star team, there seems to be no way Broxton can be denied. Having allowed just a single run this entire season, no matter the role he has been used in, he has been unhittable.
There are multiple relievers with impressive seasons similar to Broxton up to this point, including Jean Machi of the San Francisco Giants and Will Smith of the Milwaukee Brewers. How things unfold over the following three weeks will determine if Broxton will receive his third All-Star appearance.
Aroldis Chapman – CP
To think that after his horrendous injury in Spring Training that he would even be available at the All-Star break, yet alone pitching in the game would have been astounding.
Without a doubt, Chapman is the most exhilarating weapon in any bullpen in all of baseball. Even if his statistics did not merit a selection, he would almost undoubtedly be taken due to the sheer fact that opposing hitters have not seen him very often, and hitting Chapman for the first time must be a daunting task.
Curiously not mention above was Joey Votto. One of the game’s premier players at any position, Votto will most likely not be considered due to his injury. While fans love to cheer on the face of the franchise, an extra three days off for Votto is definitely what is best for the long-term success of the club.
In just a year from now, all teams will have their sights set on Cincinnati, as they will host the biggest game of the summer come 2015.
Tags: Cincinnati Reds