In less than a month, the baseball world will turn its collective attention to Target Field for the 2014 All-Star Game. The Cincinnati Reds figure to be well represented when the time comes, however, it doesn't appear like any Reds will earn starting nods via fan voting. They will have to settle for reserve spots instead.
In a way, letting fans decide which players are worthy of starting the All-Star Game is a travesty to the integrity of the game. It's essentially a popularity contest with players who play in large markets and/or have already established a name for themselves holding the upper hand. But it is what it is and I understand why Major League Baseball goes this route.
With that being said, the folks at ESPN wanted to compile their own National League lineup for the Midsummer Classic, by tabbing only the players they believe are most deserving to start. The voters included Buster Olney, Christina Kahrl, Jerry Crasnick, Jim Bowden, David Schoenfield, Jayson Stark and Tim Kurkjian and they opted to peg both Johnny Cueto and Todd Frazier among the starting crew.
All bias aside, you can't go wrong with starting Frazier at third base. The same can be said for Cueto on the mound.
Frazier currently leads all league third basemen in home runs (15), slugging (.506), and stolen bases (6) and ranks second in RBI (37) and runs scored (42). Unfortunately, David Wright and Pablo Sandoval are likely to win the starting job thanks to the fan vote though (aided in part to playing in large markets no doubt).
As for Cueto, if he's not chosen to be the National League's starting pitcher, it won't be because of the fans. It will be difficult to deny the right-hander a shot at starting if he continues to pitch the way he has. Entering Friday, Cueto led all of MLB in ERA (1.92) and WHIP (0.83) and led the National League in innings pitched (108) and WAR (3.2).
Of the two, Cueto is most likely to earn a start, but we can rest easy knowing that Frazier will be making his first trip to the ASG if he continues to hit and hit well.