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Big League Stew

Eight early thoughts on the 2012 All-Star rosters

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

The rosters for July 10's All-Star game at Kauffman Stadium were unveiled to the public Sunday afternoon, and already you can hear fans from coast-to-coast stating their opinions on who got snubbed and who doesn't belong. Well, we'll have plenty of thoughts, too, over the next nine days, but here are just few of our initial reactions to the rosters Ron Washington and Tony La Russa will manage in Kansas City.

(A more complete list of the rosters can be found here. Note: Rosters are subject to change.)

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Rangers takeover: The two-time defending American Champion Texas Rangers lead the way with seven selections this season, including three starters: outfielder Josh Hamilton, third baseman Adrian Beltre and catcher Mike Napoli. Manager Ron Washington selected three more — pitchers Joe Nathan and Matt Harrison, and shortstop Elvis Andrus — to go along with player selection Ian Kinsler. That number can, and likely will, rise to an even eight with Yu Darvish among the five candidates for the Final Vote.

Chipper vs. Harper: In the National League, we're set up for one of the most fascinating Final Votes we've had since it was instituted in 2002. In one corner, we have Atlanta Braves legend Chipper Jones, who everyone would love to see get one last moment of All-Star glory. In the other corner, it's Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper, who undoubtedly will receive his share of selections in the future, but many believe deserves the nod right now. It'll be an interesting five-day campaign, and then we'll all rejoice in the end when they both make it anyway.

[Tim Brown: Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey continues to amaze]

Feel good stories: At 37-year-old, R.A. Dickey receives his first All-Star selection and seems like a logical, if not the only sensible choice to make the start for Tony La Russa. But how about the comeback story of Adam Dunn, who returns to his first All-Star game since 2002 after hitting .159 in 2011. Not to mention virtual 29-year-old rookie Bryan LaHair of the Chicago Cubs and the Houston Astros' 5-foot-5 underdog Jose Altuve are making their first trips. This is why we love baseball!

Giant turnout: You may not agree with the selections, but credit San Francisco Giants fans for getting out the vote. Catcher Buster Posey was the leading vote-getter in the National League with 7.6 million ballots punched and will start over Philadelphia's Carlos Ruiz. They also managed to elect third baseman Pablo Sandoval and outfielder Melky Cabrera over David Wright and Ryan Braun respectively. It took some serious, serious work to pull off those upsets.

All about Trout: My personal favorite selection of the afternoon was that of the 20-year-old human highlight reel from the Los Angeles Angels, Mike Trout. Since his recall on April 27, Trout has an astounding OPS of .917, and the Angels have gone 35-21, quickly cementing his status as an impact player. Bravo to the players of the American League for giving him an opportunity to now make a lasting impression on the entire country.

Youth is served: Tony La Russa is going to have some fun mixing and matching the NL's young crop of power arms. Among the weapons at his disposal will be the reigning Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, Stephen Strasburg, Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman, and the impressive rookie from Arizona, Wade Miley. Yes, the rosters seem to be stacked in the American League's favor, but that will be offset if these young stars shine brightly in Kansas City.

Lonely Big Papi: For the first time since 2001, when Manny Ramirez was their lone representative, the Boston Red Sox will be sending only one player to this year's midsummer classic. That one man will be David Ortiz, who was voted in by the fans as the AL's designated hitter. While Ortiz was certainly a worthy selection with his team high .305 average, 21 homers and 53 RBIs, what a disappointment it must be that a roster including Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, who have all dealt with injury, along with Adrian Gonzalez and Jon Lester, will have one single locker in the AL clubhouse.

Here comes CarGo: It's feels like Carlos Gonzalez has been putting up monster numbers for a decade and should already be an All-Star game regular. In reality, the Colorado Rockies' 26-year-old outfielder — the only NL hitter in the top 6 in homers, RBIs and batting average — just received his first All-Star selection. It's a tad overdue, but we're happy to see him finally get the national spotlight.

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