The 2014 MLB All Star Game is just over a week away, and it appears that at least four members of the Cincinnati Reds will be on the National League's squad. The rosters were announced tonight, and Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman, Todd Frazier, and Devin Mesoraco were each selected to represent the Reds in the Midsummer Classic in Minneapolis on Tuesday, July 15th.
It's the first trip to the game for each of Cueto, Frazier, and Mesoraco, while next week's game will be the third such attended by Chapman.
Cueto and Frazier have been as dominant at their respective positions as any players in baseball for the bulk of the 2014 season, and have been among the presumptive frontrunners for All Star nods for quite sometime. Mesoraco, too, has mashed his way through league pitching this year, but the only potential roadblock to his selection was a pair of DL stints that limited his overall playing time; obviously, that wasn't enough to keep NL manager Mike Matheny - a former catcher in his own right - from picking the Reds' blossoming backstop.
Chapman, though, may well be the single biggest comeback story of the year in Major League Baseball, as he's recovered from a horrific spring training head injury to put up better stats in 2014 than even his previous lofty totals. Though he missed roughly a month and a half of the season, he's been the best left-handed reliever (and possibly the best reliever, period) in all of baseball, and there's no doubt he'll get a chance to play an important role should the game be tight in the late innings.
Unfortunately, neither Alfredo Simon or Billy Hamilton made the cut despite each being fairly qualified in their own right, and both of them also fell short of MLB's hyped-up final roster spot voting. While that's a tad disheartening for those that have watched both excel through the first half of the season, it can hardly be called a huge surprise given the relative successes of their peers who were included.
Todd Frazier's selection also means he's got a bit more realistic chance to be included in the upcoming Home Run Derby. His selection by NL team captain Troy Tulowitzki has been bandied about for some time, and while there's no requirement to be on the actual All Star team to be included in the event (see Yoenis Cespedes, for instance), players are generally more likely to get the nod if they're already taking part in the weekend's events.
Of course, there's always the caveat that players currently on the squad may miss the game due to injury, so there could potentially be a late addition from the Reds, though that's not exactly the most likely scenario.
Congrats, guys, and we'll look forward to watching you lead the National League to a victory so that Game 7 of the 2014 World Series can be contested at Great American Ball Park!