Disclaimer: I despise the All-Star game. The fan voting portion of this event has become a popularity contest instead of a knowledgeable selection of deserving players. This has led to players such as Bryce Harper and his .211 batting average most likely getting a starting nod over players such as Christian Yelich, Derek Dietrich, Lorenzo Cain, or Corey Dickerson, who have all had a better all-around first half of the season. So when it is all said and done, I will probably watch Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies get his at-bat and then move on to something else more worth watching.
That said, the Rockies have five viable candidates to make the 34-man National League roster. Unfortunately, considering that the Rockies are sitting in the middle of the pack in the NL, I have a strong suspicion that only two of the five players will make their way to Washington, D.C., on July 17.
Here is a rundown on the five Rockies who might be playing in the Mid-Summer Classic:
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Nolan Arenado: He will be announced as a starter on Sunday when the official word comes out. He is arguably the best all-around player in the NL and, since there is no debating he will be in the game, I will move on.
Charlie Blackmon: Chuck Nazty is currently in fourth place in the latest outfield voting release. He is currently trailing Bryce Harper by a large margin … and that is probably a good thing. Blackmon has had a down season to his standards and hasn’t been his usual self since tweaking his leg in mid-April. Even though he has shown signs of breaking out (including the last two games), maybe missing out on the All-Star Game and having a four-day break could be useful for him.
Trevor Story: Story is absolutely deserving of his first career All-Star bid. He is currently leading all NL shortstops in home runs and RBI and is fourth in batting average. Perennial All-Star Brandon Crawford will get the starting spot and deservedly so. The worry for Story is that there is a hometown favorite who is also having a solid year who may get chosen ahead of him. The Nationals’ Trea Turner is in the top three in all major categories for NL shortstops and, unless manager Dave Roberts decides to go with three players at short or he gets the final vote, Story might get left out.
Adam Ottavino: Otto should be the second lock on the roster. His 1.88 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, and 14.09 K/9 in 38.1 innings should make him a shoe-in for the game. Unfortunately, there are a couple things that may keep him out. He did have a three-week stint on the DL and he has struggled as of late, giving up five earned runs in his last four appearances.
Kyle Freeland: Freeland might be the most under the radar player most deserving of an All-Star bid. Freeland is 8-6 with a 3.25 ERA, which is 10th amongst NL starting pitchers. Those numbers don’t do Freeland justice. Since May, Freeland is 7-2 in his last 11 starts with an incredible 2.78 ERA. The second-year Coloradoan has solidified himself as the Rockies’ best starting pitcher but there are many established/known names who are having just as good of a season as Freeland who may keep him out of the game.
Along with Arenado, the Rockies will probably get one other player on the NL All-Star roster. I am guessing that it will be Ottavino but if they are going to get an more than two, they do have a secret weapon. Bud Black is on Dave Roberts’ coaching staff for the game. We will find out Sunday night.