Players to Watch for All-Star Game MVP:
Joey Votto: Votto is widely regarded as the best hitter we have in the game today. He uses the entire field, takes what opposing pitchers give him, and never tries to do too much with the baseball. You can’t argue with the results. Already with one NL MVP to his credit, Votto appears on pace to win his second in three years. He leads or is near the top of the National League in every major statistical category and has the Reds in a position to be in the post season for the second time in three years. If he gets enough bats tonight with runners on base, he could do some serious damage.
- Andrew McCutchen: If one player appears poised to snatch the NL MVP away from Votto this year it’s McCutchen. He’s the best player on the most surprising team in baseball and is having the type of year that may very well catapult him from anonymity to super-stardom. Currently he’s hitting .362/.414/.625 and has added 18 homers and 60 RBI to go along with 14 steals. He’s a beast, plain and simple. Now, thanks to being a reserve, he could play a pivotal role in the late innings of this game at the dish, on the base paths, and in the field. If that happens, don’t be surprised if he’s the MVP.
- Michael Bourn: Bourn isn’t a star on the same level as Votto, but like McCutchen, he’ll be in the game during the late innings. He’s the type of player who could come into an All-Star Game, hits an RBI triple, scores on a wild pitch, and make an awesome play in the field all in a one or two inning span. Because of that his performance is amplified, especially if it’s the catalyst for a win. That’s what Michael Bourn has done all year for the Braves—he makes them go. Look for him to be up in a key spot for the NL and don’t be surprised if he comes through.
- Bryan LaHair: This seems like a ridiculously bold pick for the possible All-Star Game MVP, but consider this. As a career minor leaguer, LaHair was having an incredible year until late. However, he was recently demoted from everyday first baseman to right fielder in favor of super prospect Anthony Rizzo, has been the topic of numerous trade rumors, and has essentially become a forgotten man for the Cubs. What better way to top off what could be his first and only great moment in professional baseball then by hitting a late-inning, game-winning home run? It makes so much sense that it’s almost too good not to happen. I might actually be rooting for this, even though I’m an AL fan. It would be a great story.
- Bryce Harper: Yeah, I’m going there. You can say whatever you want about Harper and his attitude or the fact that he earned an All-Star spot after only two months in the Bigs, but the fact of the matter is he’s good. Harper has a nose for baseball and a knack for making the big play when the Nationals need it most. He legitimately cares and he legitimately wants to win. He reminds me a lot of Pete Rose in that regard. Would anyone be shocked if he plowed over Matt Weiters to score the winning run? I wouldn’t. Yes, this seemed more like a PR move by MLB than anything else, but this could be Harper’s coming out moment. This could be the time where everyone sits back after he makes some ridiculous play and says to themselves, “Wow.”
Trivia Answer: Bobby Bonds, right fielder for the San Francisco Giants, won the MVP as the NL won the game 7-1. Bonds went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and a double off the bench for the NL.