Cueto Reds’ only lock for All-Star Game, but others have good arguments

Johnny Cueto, who ranks second in the National League in ERA (1.99) and strikeouts (130), is the only lock to head to Target Field in Minneapolis on July 15. Despite being one of baseball’s best pitchers over the past five seasons, he has never been an All-Star.

Alfredo Simon, Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco also have good arguments to earn All-Star nods for the first time.

Two-time All-Star Aroldis Chapman and rookie Billy Hamilton probably won’t make the team, but they would be interesting choices by Cardinals manager Mike Matheny because of the ways both can affect a game, and this game does matter in that the winning league gets homefield advantage in the World Series.

The selections will be announced Sunday night.

“We’ve got some guys here who are having great years who have never been to an All-Star Game,” Reds manager Bryan Price said Friday before the start of a three-game series against the Brewers at Great American Ball Park. “I would think those candidates would be extremely excited about the possibility of making the club.

“There’s always surprises, both good and bad, in the selections because you can never take every player you want, but I think we have some real legitimate guys.”

Frazier leads all National League third basemen with 17 home runs, but the Marlins’ Casey McGehee has three more RBIs than Frazier (50-47) and is hitting 22 points better (.311 to .289). The Brewers’ Aramis Ramirez leads the fan voting. Frazier ranks fifth.

Jay Bruce, for one, thinks Frazier should get the nod.

“He’s been the best player on our team all year,” Bruce said. “He’s been arguably, if not definitely, the best third baseman in the National League. He couldn’t be more deserving, in my opinion.”

Mesoraco ranks second among NL catchers in home runs (18) and third in RBIs (41). His .314 average would rank second if he had enough at-bats to qualify for the rankings. The Cardinals’ Yadier Molina leads fan voting. Mesoraco ranks fifth.

Simon (10-3, 2.81) had a chance to move into a tie for most wins in the NL on Friday night. The Reds haven’t had two starting pitchers named to the All-Star team since Jim Merritt and Wayne Simpson in 1982.

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