With the American League and National League All-Stars set to be announced on Saturday evening, there is plenty of speculation about who will and won't make the cut.
While the final voting tallies for starters have remained under wraps, it's not too difficult to predict who will make the teams through that manner.
Vote totals were released a few days ago, so unless there were some monumental swings in the final days, most of the starting sports have long been determined. When it comes to the reserve spots, however, it is anyone's guess who will play at Citi Field, as the players and managers are trusted with the responsibility of picking those players.
Here are three elite players who are very much on the All-Star borderline right now and will need a little bit of luck in order to make one of the rosters.
Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria is known for getting off to slow starts before turning it on and heating up down the stretch.
That hasn't been the case this season, though, as he has been excellent from the very start. Longoria has never hit .300 in a season, but he is flirting with that number right now at .295 and also has 17 home runs as well as 49 RBI to boot.
Due to the strength of third base in the AL, however, there is a chance that Longoria will get snubbed.
Along with Longoria, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles, Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers and Josh Donaldson of the Oakland Athletics are in play. All five men are having spectacular seasons and deserve to make the team, but it's unlikely that more than three of them will.
MLB Network's Peter Gammons seems to believe that Donaldson and Beltre will ultimately be the odd men out.
That's possible, but it's far from a guarantee. The only certainty is that Cabrera will deservedly get the starting nod, as ESPN.com had him well ahead in the voting on July 1. Longoria was fourth behind Cabrera, Machado and Beltre, so he wouldn't even make if it was up to the fans entirely.
The final battle could come down to Longoria vs. Donaldson. Even though Longoria is more established, Donaldson may get the nod due to the fact that he has helped carry the A's.
Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown has been labeled a can't-miss prospect for the past several years, but until this season he missed plenty. Brown couldn't hold down a full-time spot with the Phils, so he was often shuttled between the majors and Triple A.
After a lukewarm start this season, Brown appeared to be in the same position, but he came around in a major way and is suddenly one of the top power threats in baseball.
Brown's numbers are extremely impressive, as he is hitting .279 with 22 home runs and 60 RBI along with eight steals. Despite that, Brown received absolutely no love from the fans. As of July 1, ESPN.com had him at 15th among NL outfielders, behind the likes of Angel Pagan, Jon Jay and Gregor Blanco.
According to CSN Philly's Reuben Frank, Brown would love to make the All-Star team, but it isn't his main focus at the moment.
Even though Brown has been disrespected through the fan vote, he should still be in decent position to make the team. He has been the Phillies' best hitter by far this season and has surpassed the likes of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins to become the face of the franchise.
The All-Star Game is about showcasing the best talent in baseball, so Brown definitely deserves to be a part of it. If the players and managers neglect to vote him in, he'll be one of the biggest snubs in recent memory.
Boston Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury's career arc has been an interesting one. He came into the league as a pure speed guy and quickly became one of the most exciting players in the game, as he stole 120 bases between the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
After an injury-plagued 2010 season, Ellsbury changed his style of play and became a slugger, clubbing 32 home runs and driving in 105 runs en route to a second-place finish in AL MVP voting in 2011.
Ellsbury once again struggled with injuries last season, but he has returned to his roots this year. Ellsbury has just two homers and 30 RBI, but he is hitting .302 with 54 runs and 34 stolen bases to lead the entire league.
Ellsbury also plays Gold Glove-caliber defense, which is no small feat at Fenway Park. He didn't get much love in the voting as of Monday, however, as he was just eighth among American League outfielders.
There are a lot of good outfielders in the AL, so Ellsbury will have a battle on his hands. The likes of Los Angeles Angel Mike Trout, Baltimore Oriole Adam Jones and Toronto Blue Jay Jose Bautista were first, second and third in the voting, respectively, and their numbers are certainly good enough to warrant playing in the All-Star Game.
Ellsbury brings a different dimension to the Red Sox and would bring a different dimension to the AL All-Star team as well, so look for him to make it by hook or by crook.
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