For the first time in eight years, Derek Jeter won't be an All-Star. He's been sidelined all season following ankle surgery. Yankees teammate Alex Rodriguez (hip) is out, too, but Mariano Rivera figures to make one last appearance.
Other stars are likely to be absent due to disappointing seasons: David Price, Albert Pujols and Matt Kemp, to name a few. But that makes room for impressive newcomers like Chris Davis, Domonic Brown and Paul Goldschmidt.
As for Puig, the Los Angeles Dodgers' rookie sensation, the uproar over whether he should be included after only one spectacular month in the majors is nothing new.
The same thing happened with Stephen Strasburg three years ago and then Harper last season — although the Washington Nationals' outfielder had at least had two months under his belt after getting called up in late April.
Harper got in, Strasburg was left out. And both times, the sun came up the next day.
Strasburg pitched his way onto the 2012 team, and that's how it should happen. Puig is extremely exciting to watch and has all the makings of a perennial All-Star, but let him earn his trip with a legitimate body of work.
Otherwise, he's taking someone else's place.
For what it's worth, here's a prediction: Puig winds up on the Internet ballot for the final NL roster spot and gets voted in by fans.
And you know what? That'd be just fine.
So without regard to fan or player balloting — or Leyland's self-imposed limit on third basemen — here are our selections for the 84th All-Star game at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets since 2009. Rosters will be announced Saturday evening.
The league that wins gets home-field advantage in the World Series again, which has helped the NL secure three straight championships.
Starting with the AL:
First Base — Davis is putting up incredible power numbers during a breakout season for Baltimore. His backup is another heavy hitter, Prince Fielder of the Tigers.
Second Base — Cano, in the final year of his contract with the Yankees, gets the nod over Red Sox rival Pedroia. Also in the mix is Jason Kipnis, quietly having a tremendous season for Cleveland.
Shortstop — Detroit's Jhonny Peralta edges J.J. Hardy of the Orioles. An underrated Jed Lowrie warrants a look in Oakland but gets left off in the end.
Third Base — Cabrera gets the start for Detroit, and all four boppers mentioned above make it as reserves: Longoria, Donaldson, Beltre and Machado, who turns 21 on Saturday. They've all been too good to leave anyone out.
Catcher — Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins earns his fourth start, with Cleveland's Carlos Santana behind him.
|Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi||2||FINAL|
|Boston - WP: J. Lester||6|
|William & Mary||74||FINAL|
|North Dakota St||83|
|South Dakota St||60||FINAL|
|South Dakota St||58|
|San Jose St||75||FINAL|
|(5) West Virginia||71||FINAL|
|San Diego State||63|