2012 MLB All-Star Game logo2012 MLB All-Star Game

2012 MLB All-Star Roster: Deserving Players Most Likely to Get Snubbed

HOUSTON - JUNE 22:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws to first base against the Cleveland Indians at Minute Maid Park on June 22, 2012 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2012

Like anything else that involves voting, the 2012 All-Star Game will be as much of a popularity contest as it is a true reflection of which players are having the best seasons.

And that's fine—it's for the paying fans of the sport, and they should be allowed to see whomever they want. If the fans want to watch Derek Jeter play in the game when he's 52 years old and has the defensive range of Jabba the Hutt, so be it.

But it also means that some truly deserving players are going to be left off of the team, even after the managers make their selections. Let's take a look at those players.

 

Carlos Ruiz, C, Philadelphia Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 25: Catcher Carlos Ruiz #51 of the Philadelphia Phillies bats during a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park on June 25, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 8-3. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Ruiz has been one of the few bright spots on a disappointing Phillies team this season. Statistically, he is having the best offensive season of any catcher in baseball.

Ruiz is currently hitting .358 with 11 home runs and 43 RBI, astronomical numbers both for his position and career averages. But Ruiz may be left off the team, as Buster Posey was the leading vote-getter at the position at last tally and Yadier Molina is having a fantastic season.

Plus, the National League manager is Tony La Russa, and he's likely to select his guy, Molina, over Ruiz. Which means for as good as the latter has been, if the players don't vote him in, there's a very good chance he won't be participating in the Midsummer Classic.

 

Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/DH, Toronto Blue Jays

TORONTO, CANADA - JUNE 29: Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates game winning run against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during MLB action at the Rogers Centre June 29, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Abelimages/Getty I
Abelimages/Getty Images

Encarnacion plays the wrong position in the American League.

At first base, he would have to overcome Prince Fielder, Paul Konerko, Mark Teixeira and Albert Pujols to garner a selection. Heck, even at the designated hitter spot he's dealing with players like David Ortiz and Michael Young.

It's hard to imagine either the players or manager Ron Washington will select him for the squad. And that's a shame, because Encarnacion is hitting .289 with 22 home runs (fifth in baseball) and 59 RBI.

If only he played a different position...

 

Jason Kipnis, 2B, Cleveland Indians

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 17: Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians rounds third after hiting a solo home run during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Progressive Field on June 17, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Imag
Jason Miller/Getty Images

If Kipnis isn't elected for this squad, it will be a travesty. But I'm sorry to report that it's a very real possibility.

At last tally, he was fourth among AL second basemen, with Robinson Cano looking like a solid bet to earn the fans' vote. Second in the voting was Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler, meaning his selection by Ron Washington would be totally justified.

And you couldn't blame Washington for taking care of one of his guys, especially when Kinsler's been good enough this season to warrant the honor.

But Kipnis is totally deserving of the honor as well, hitting .275 with 11 home runs, 46 RBI and 19 stolen bases. If three second basemen are to be included on the roster, I'd give him the edge over every other candidate. But in my opinion, he's got "snub" written all over him.

And that's a shame.

 

Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets want Dwight Howard to just get traded already too.

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