There are still 10 talented players up for an MLB All-Star Game nod, but just two roster spots.
I've never been all that great at math, but I'm pretty sure those aren't great odds for the remaining hopefuls.
Nevertheless, this is all in good fun. The "Final Vote," as it's so aptly named, has always helped further spark fan interest, and this year's version has a nice new twist to help keep things fresh.
On the American League side, the final roster spot will be filled by a reliever—whether you like it or not. In the NL, fans will choose between five hitters, including one certain Cuban rookie named Yasiel Puig whose name seems to spark heated debates every single time it's mentioned.
This is shaping up to be arguably the most compelling vote since the rule was implemented in 2002.
Nominees: Joaquin Benoit, Det; Steve Delabar, Tor; David Robertson, NYY; Tanner Scheppers, Tex; Koji Uehara, Bos
Who Should Win: Koji Uehara, Bos
Who Will Win: Koji Uehara, Bos
Separating five relief pitchers is not easy. Separating five relievers who have been pretty much equally lights out is next to impossible.
There are just very few ways to distinguish anyone from the rest of the wolf pack:
An argument can be made for anyone.
Benoit leads the bunch in saves. Delabar has the best ERA and SO/9 ratio. Robertson has been nearly untouchable since a rocky first month. Scheppers is rock steady across the board.
Uehara, however, tops them all. Not only is he pitching for the top team in the AL, but he has also been the best in the group at missing bats—his 12.8 SO/9 is tied with Delabar's for the best in the group, while he boasts the lowest H/9 allowed, BB/9 allowed and WHIP.
In a race as close as this one, that's enough to convince me he deserves it, although I'm sure every fan will have a different thought process.
Uehara having the passionate Boston fanbase and entire country of Japan behind him, however, makes me much more confident he'll get the nod.
Nominees: Ian Desmond, Was; Freddie Freeman, Atl; Adrian Gonzalez, LAD; Hunter Pence, SF; Yasiel Puig, LAD
Who Should Win: Yasiel Puig, LAD
Who Will Win: Freddie Freeman, Atl
The debate here surely centers around Yasiel Puig.
On the one hand, the 22-year-old has been the story of the year, injecting some much-needed life into the Dodgers while hitting a video game-like .409/.437/.677 with eight homers, 19 RBI, 25 runs scored and five steals through 135 plate appearances.
On the other, he's only been in the league for 32 games. Many believe he needs to prove himself for a longer stretch before being named one of the best players in the league. Call it the Jeremy Lin Effect.
For me, though, it's all about entertainment value, and a young, tantalizing superstar with a rocket arm and incredible raw power is exactly the type of player I want to watch in an exhibition game.
Something tells me the majority of the voters don't want to justify a month of success, however, and the final race will come down to Ian Desmond and Freddie Freeman.
Desmond has more homers, steals and a better slugging percentage, while Freeman has more runs batted in, a better average and a better on-base percentage.
You can't go wrong with either player, but Freeman's marketing campaign may just be enough to put him on top:
Throw in his team's success, and he'll land a spot on the NL roster when voting ends on Thursday.
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