Sunday, July 6, 2014

Johnny Cueto headlines four Reds headed to All-Star Game

On July 15, Major League Baseball will hold the 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field. And we now know that at least four Reds players will have a chance to appear in the game. These players include right-handed ace Johnny Cueto, third basemen Todd Frazier, catcher Devin Mesoraco and closer Aroldis Chapman. For Cueto, Mesoraco, and Frazier, this will mark their first trip to the Midsummer Classic.

The rosters for both the National League and American League were revealed Sunday evening during the Taco Bell All-Star Selection Show on ESPN. The 33-man rosters were determined by a combination of fan voting, player voting, and managerial decision. The 34th and final roster spot for both leagues is being left up to fan vote. There are five players from each league in the mix.

As for the Reds selected to represent the National League, you would be hard-pressed to find a more deserving player than Cueto. In 18 starts, the 28-year-old is 8-6 with a 1.99 ERA and 0.87 WHIP this season. Of his 18 starts, 16 of them have been quality starts (six innings pitched with three runs allowed or less). Cueto also has 130 strikeouts, second-most in baseball, and is sporting a tidy .176 BAA, which leads all MLB pitchers.

Frazier entered Sunday sporting a slash line of .288/.354/.500 with a team-leading 17 home runs and 47 RBI. Meanwhile, his 3.5 WAR and 6.42 RC27 (Runs Created Per 27 Outs) leads all National League third basemen. When determining his All-Star merit, one would be remiss not to mention his defensive prowess and increased leadership role in the clubhouse too. Needless to say, Frazier is very deserving.

Also deserving is the 26-year-old Mesoraco. The Pennsylvania native is slashing .307/.372/.631 with 14 home runs and 46 RBI despite missing considerable time at the beginning of the season due to injury. There were concerns Mesoraco might be excluded from the roster because many believed NL manager Mike Matheny wouldn't carry three catchers. As fate would have it, Matheny did.

As for Chapman, the southpaw has bounced back better than anticipated following a scary injury sustained near the end of spring training. In 24 appearances, the 26-year-old owns a 2.55 ERA and 17 saves in 24.2 innings pitched. Chapman also has 47 strikeouts against only eight walks. This year will mark Chapman's third consecutive All-Star Game nod.

As great as it is to have these guys tabbed for the ASG, it's notable to point out that other deserving Reds players were not. These players include Alfredo Simon, Billy Hamilton and Jonathan Broxton.

Simon arguably had the best case of any player not selected as he is currently tied with two others for the league lead in wins with 11. Furthermore, he ranks seventh in WHIP (1.05) and eighth in ERA (2.78).

As for Broxton, the big guy has surrendered just two runs all season long in 28 innings pitched. That equates to 0.64 ERA and a WHIP of 0.75. His six saves and 11 holds aren't too shabby either.

Of course, there is always a chance Simon or others can earn a nod due to injury. But for the time being it appears like the Reds will have three players heading to Minnesota. 

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