Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

July 6, 2014

AARON SNYDER: Reds could have had seven All-Stars

ASHLAND — As ridiculous as this reads, the 45-42 Cincinnati Reds could have easily had All-Star representation from seven players.

It’s unrealistic, considering each team must have at least one selection and there are 34 total players on the roster. However, based on the first three months of the season, each of the following seven Reds have justifiable cases.

Starting with the most deserving, I’ve ranked those seven Reds (along with an “in” or “out” indicating if they actually made it) and why none of us should’ve been shocked if they were suiting up at Target Field for the Midsummer Classic on July 15.

1. Johnny Cueto (in). Under any normal circumstances, Cueto’s remarkable numbers — 8-6 record, 130 strikeouts in 131 1-3 innings, 1.99 ERA, 0.87 WHIP  — would warrant the starting nod in the All-Star Game. However, with phenomenal pitchers such as the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright (11-4, 1.89 ERA, 106 Ks) and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (10-2, 1.85 ERA, 115 Ks) also in the mix, it may be tough to foot the rubber before the fourth inning.

2. Todd Frazier (in). Childlike enthusiasm and an old-school, lunch-pail approach have made Frazier a fan favorite in Cincinnati. The first-time selection deserves to start, but the Brewers’ Aramis Ramirez got that privilege thanks to fan voting. Frazier (.288, 17 HRs, 47 RBIs) is the first Reds’ All-Star third baseman since Aaron Boone in 2003. Frazier and Jay Bruce are the strongest guys in Cincinnati. Wouldn’t it be fun to see Frazier swinging for the fences in the Home Run Derby on Monday? That announcement comes Tuesday.

3. Jonathan Broxton (out). I can’t say I’m shocked to see Broxton omitted from the roster, but the burly righty certainly has packed his first-half-of-the-season resume with solid statistics. He may not be as flashy as some other relievers, but I think 4-0 and a 0.67 ERA in 27 frames gets the job done.

4. Devin Mesoraco (in). Mesoraco has improved both behind and beside home plate. The way he’s been pulverizing baseballs this year has been entertaining to watch. Even most of his outs are crushed.

5. Alfredo Simon (out). Cracking the National League All-Star starting rotation is tougher than getting past the bouncer at a Los Angeles A-list night club this season. Simon, whose story is captivating, is tied for the league-lead in wins (11) and he totes a 2.78 ERA. The former reliever has filled in nicely as “the fifth starter” on Cincinnati’s staff.

6. Aroldis Chapman (in). The “Cuban Missile” is electrifying, and fans will get a treat when he takes the mound in Minnesota. Chapman’s speedy recovery, as much mentally as physically, from getting drilled in the head by a hit ball was unbelievable. His performance since returning? Simply impressive.

7. Billy Hamilton (out). Just because of his unique ability to instantly change a game, I thought manager Mike Matheny might choose Hamilton. Offensively, the leadoff man’s .275 average, 30 RBIs and 33 stolen bases are a pleasant surprise. Perhaps even more stunning, though, is the way he operates in center field. To me, Hamilton will be a shoo-in for Rookie of the Year.

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664. Follow

@DindependentQB on Twitter.

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