Going by overall performance and value using the WAR statistic, Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals deserves the final All-Star spot for the National League. But he shouldn't be the favorite to be sent to Target Field. The same goes for Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs, Justin Upton of the Braves and Casey McGehee of the Marlins.
The best story, which also might turn into a fun bit of destiny, would be Justin Morneau of the Colorado Rockies being the NL's last man in. Morneau is batting .314 with a .346 on-base percentage, .518 slugging and 13 home runs for the Rockies. The advantage of playing home games at Coors Field makes those numbers a little less impressive, and Morneau's 1.9 WAR units put him in the middle of the five players up for the NL's final vote.
The hook with Morneau, though, would be a reunion with the Twin Cities.
If the host fans want to see Morneau come back for the All-Star game, they're more motivated than any other group to make it happen. Morneau's opponents, with the possible exception of McGehee (who's still popular with Brewers fans), have only one fan base rooting for them. Morneau has two, including the home team.
Morneau, 33, began his major league career in 2003 with the Minnesota Twins, where he won the AL MVP in 2006 and made four All-Star teams in the seasons immediately following. Injuries, particularly one of the nastiest concussions on record, helped to limit his effectiveness starting in 2010, and he was traded to the Pirates at the postseason roster deadline in 2013. Fully healthy again, he's hitting like Justin Morneau used to.
Is the All-Star game only supposed to be about sending the best players? No, because by rule, every team needs to have at least one representative. Is the All-Star game only about claiming home-field advantage for the World Series? Thank goodness, no.
It's also supposed to be about pageantry, tradition and fun (see Derek Jeter) and Morneau's appearance would enhance the aesthetic of the 85th All-Star game.
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