Philadelphia, PA – Major League Baseball's All-Star balloting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday and like the good baseball fan that I am, I figured it was time to perform my civic duty.
Luckily, thanks to technology, you don't have to waste your time punching out ballots at the ballpark. Now you can just turn on your computer or your phone and bang it out like that.
My 7-year-old has even gotten in on the act. Although, his votes seem to lean heavily in the direction of New York players. So when you see that Jayson Nix go a write-in vote, you know where it came from.
By the way, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that Homer Bailey has now thrown the last two no-hitters in Major League Baseball.
What was the first thing that crossed my mind when Todd Frazier fired across the diamond to Joey Votto to secure the no-no? Well, that we now live in a world where a pitcher like Homer Bailey has two no-hitters to his name.
Steve Carlton has none.
Think about that for a second.
No-hitters are just so random. Sure, there have been great pitchers to accomplish the feat. Hall of Famers. But, that club becomes far less distinguished when a marginally talented pitcher like Bailey has two under his belt.
Anyway, he won't be anywhere near the All-Star Game on July 16. But, then again, given the ridiculous rule that starting pitchers who appear on the Sunday before the Mid-Summer Classic can't play, who knows?
That's why we stick to starters. It's pointless to pick reserves given the pitchers' rule and the even more mind-numbing policy that each team needs to be represented.
So, explain to me again how this game can "count" when each side doesn't have the opportunity to field its best players?
1B, CHRIS DAVIS, BALTIMORE: Davis leads the major leagues with 31 home runs. He's first in slugging (.721) and is on pace to crush Brady Anderson's team record of 369 total bases. He���s second in OPS (1.126) and RBI (80), and in the top five in almost every offensive category. Any other questions?
2B, ROBINSON CANO, NEW YORK YANKEES: If you just look at the numbers, Boston's Dustin Pedroia should probably get the nod. But you have to think a big reason Cano is hitting nearly 30 points less than Pedroia is that he rarely gets pitches to see given the current state of the Yankees lineup. Still, Cano has 20 home runs, 54 RBI and is as slick as there is with the glove.
SS, JED LOWRIE, OAKLAND: So, this is the guy the Boston Red Sox were raving about back in the day. The Athletics have shown that last year was no fluke and Lowrie is a big reason why.
3B, MIGUEL CABRERA, DETROIT: The easiest pick of any to make for the All-Star Game. It's almost embarrassing for guys like Manny Machado, Evan Longoria and Josh Donaldson to even be mentioned with Cabrera. The league's reigning MVP and Triple Crown winner is doing it again with a league-best .368 average and 85 RBI. He is also just five home runs short of Davis' amazing total.
OF, MIKE TROUT, LOS ANGELES ANGELS: The Angels superstar has shown no signs of slowing down in Year 2. Yes, the Angels are a huge disappointment, but Trout is doing his part, batting .311 with 13 home runs, 53 RBI, 57 runs scored and 20 stolen bases. Oh yes, he also plays a flawless outfield. Quite simply, he's the best young player in the game.
OF, ADAM JONES, BALTIMORE: Jones is having his typical under-the-radar season. This year, his heroics are even less magnified given Davis' amazing season. But, believe this: When it's all said and done, the Orioles very well may walk away with an American League East title, but it won't be Davis leading the charge, it will be Jones.
OF, JOSE BAUTISTA, TORONTO: Before anyone points out that Bautista is batting only .261, keep in mind that he has hit 19 home runs and driven in 50 runs, while scoring 57. And if you like advanced statistics, Bautista's 3.3 WAR is second to only Trout among AL outfielders. A lot of people are leaning toward Nick Markakis, or as I like to call him, the guy with a WAR of nearly 2 1/2 less than Bautista. End of discussion.
C, JOE MAUER, MINNESOTA: Mauer seemed destined to be the face of baseball, but injuries kind of derailed that. Still, he's having a solid year, hitting .318. The days of him challenging for a batting title seem to be gone, but he's still the best all-around player behind the plate in the AL this season.
DH, DAVID ORTIZ, BOSTON: For no matter how long Ortiz (.320, 16 HR, 57 RBI) plays, he is always going to be my designated hitter. And why not? He's the best to ever play the position and is still doing his thing now at the age of 37.
SP, MAX SCHERZER, DETROIT: Yes, I know Bartolo Colon is probably having a better season than Scherzer, even if the Tigers right-hander is currently undefeated. But, if you think that MLB is going to let Colon start this game given the fact that he was suspended last season for performance-enhancing drugs and is a prominent fixture in the Biogenesis scandal, you need to have your head examined. Luckily, Jim Leyland is managing the game and he will go with Scherzer, who is 12-0 with a 3.10 ERA. His 131 strikeouts are second in the AL to Texas' Yu Darvish.
Now there is some sort of grass roots campaign to get Yankees closer Mariano Rivera to start the game. Whatever. Regardless of what Bud Selig will have you believe, it's a meaningless game, but Rivera should do what he does best and that is pitch out of the bullpen.
1B, JOEY VOTTO, CINCINNATI: You can split a hair between who is better here. Votto is hitting .325 and leads the majors with a .435 on-base percentage. Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt, meanwhile, has produced 10 more runs than the former MVP. Votto, though, gets the nod because he has a better glove. It's really a moot point because both will likely be the starting lineup.
2B, MATT CARPENTER, ST. LOUIS: Before the season, everyone was wondering who Matt Carpenter was. Nobody is wondering any more. Carpenter has done a terrific job adjusting to second base and is hitting .321 with 60 runs scored.
SS, JEAN SEGURA, MILWAUKEE: One of the key pieces in the deal that sent Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels last season, Segura (.325, 11 HR, 33 RBI, 46 runs, 24 SB) has essentially made that trade a win for the Brewers. Segura is not a household name yet, but he will be a year from now.
3B, DAVID WRIGHT, NEW YORK METS: It would have been a miscarriage of justice had Wright not been voted into this game. Luckily, it seems like that is going to be the case, but regardless he'd have been there anyway. He's the shining light in a lineup that I dare you to name three other players.
OF, CARLOS GONZALEZ, COLORADO: CarGo is on the short list of MVP candidates this season for the upstart Colorado Rockies. Staying on the field is always a concern for Gonzalez, but he appears to be healthy and it shows, as he's hit 22 home runs with 60 RBI. And if you are wondering if he's just a Coors Field product, think again. His home run totals are nearly split at home and away and he's actually hitting better average-wise away from home.
OF, CARLOS BELTRAN, ST. LOUIS: Is there a bigger under-the-radar star than Beltran? He is just so consistent year in and year out. The Cardinals have barely skipped a beat since Beltran came in to replace Albert Pujols as the focal point in the lineup. Perhaps this is a topic for another day, but is Beltran a Hall of Famer?
OF, MICHAEL CUDDYER, COLORADO: It's nice to have a guy like Yasiel Puig in the All-Star Game, but if he takes a spot away from someone like Cuddyer, it's almost criminal. Cuddyer won't be voted into the game and maybe his recent 27- game hitting streak is fresh in my mind, but he deserves to be in the lineup a week from Tuesday.
C, YADIER MOLINA, ST. LOUIS: San Francisco's Buster Posey may be the league's MVP, but Molina is the best catcher in baseball. He leads the NL in hitting and there is nobody better behind the plate than him. This is an easy choice.
DH, GOLDSCHMIDT, ARIZONA: With Votto around, Goldschmidt is going to have a hard time ever cracking that starting lineup, but thanks to the DH, he'll get a few starts here and there. This just happens to be one of those years.
SP, MATT HARVEY, NEW YORK METS: Yes, Harvey only has seven wins, but if you still gauge starting pitchers by that, you may need to throw that black-and- white television away, too. Fact: Harvey has been the best pitcher in baseball this season. He should be about 14-1. He's posted five no-decisions when giving up one run or less and another in which he surrendered two. His only loss of the year came in an outing that saw him surrender one run in seven innings. Not to mention that the atmosphere at Citi Field will be electric with him starting the game.