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The fans have spoken, and they have declared that the Arizona Diamondbacks' budding slugger Mark Reynolds will not represent the National League in next week's All-Star Game in St. Louis. Instead, it will be Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino filling the NL rosters' final spot.
Between the time the All-Star rosters were announced on Sunday and this afternoon, fans could vote for one more player on a list of five to make the team. On the list besides Reynolds and Victorino were young San Francisco Giants slugging infielder Pablo Sandoval, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, and the Washington Nationals' shortstop, Cristian Guzman.
Entering today, Reynolds was far and away having the best season at the plate than the other four candidates. Here's how the candidates' stats match up:
Victorino: .308 batting average / 6 home runs / 61 runs / 40 runs batted in / 15 stolen bases
Sandoval: .326 BA / 13 HR / 38 runs / 48 RBI / 3 SB
Reynolds: .262 BA / 24 HR / 53 runs / 62 RBI / 14 SB
Kemp: .314 BA / 10 HR / 46 runs / 45 RBI / 19 SB
Guzman: .310 BA / 3 HR / 41 runs / 21 RBI / 1 SB
Why did fans fail to acknowledge Reynolds' superior first half? Simply, the 25-year-old infielder is still below the average fan's radar. Those that do know him by name likely still equate him with his ignominious single-season strikeout record in 2008. Meanwhile, Victorino has been a fixture in the Phillies' outfield for three years now. Make that the world champion Phillies. He is easily the highest-profile player on the list. And he plays for a history-rich franchise in one of the country's bigger media markets. Plus, the Phillies are contending for an National League East title. Reynolds' D-Backs are fighting to just stay out of last place in the NL West.
Reynolds deserves a spot on the NL roster. Chalk it up to bad timing this year. He is one of the best young sluggers in either league (with still a lot of room to grow), and it's conceivable that he will contend for home run titles in the next several years. Hang tight, D-Backs fans, Reynolds' day in the spotlight will come.
In the American League, fans voted in the Detroit Tigers' Brandon Inge over the Texas Rangers' Ian Kinsler, the Los Angeles Angels' Chone Figgins, the Tampa Bay Rays' Carlos Peña, and the Toronto Blue Jays' Adam Lind.