The Kansas City Royals are riding a nine-game win streak to take the lead in the AL Central division…
Royals All-Star Chances
Alcides Escobar/Shortstop Alcides Escobar is certainly making a case this season to reach the first All-Star game of his career. Most people know what Escobar brings to the diamond on the defensive side of the ball. He is constantly featured on Baseball Tonight's Web Gems for his spectacular diving plays and superb range. His resume includes one of the best defensive plays made all season, when he ran from behind second base and dove in foul territory to steal an at-bat away from Jason Giambi. This year, Escobar has done more than just get it done in the field. Escobar has been a force at the plate. His .288 batting average ranks him third among all American League shortstops. His speed and smart base-running skills has also put him atop the majors in stolen bases among his position. A high number of errors has been the only reason that Escobar hasn't won a Gold Glove in his career. With that being said, perhaps this flashy middle-infielder's most impressive statistic this season is that he's second among all AL shortstops with a .980 fielding percentage. Therefore, not only has Escobar made some difficult plays, but he has also consistently made the routine play as well. Salvador Perez/Catcher Salvador Perez is in search of another All-Star appearance after catching Mariano Rivera in last year's AL-NL showdown. Perez' offensive production is a bit down this year as he is hitting .280 with only 26 runs batted in after hitting .292 and driving in 79 a year ago. That being said, due to an increased walk rate and an increase in rates of both doubles and home runs, both his on-base percentage and his slugging percentage have shown a slight uptick since last year. Although Perez may not be quite hitting up to his potential, he is still second among AL catchers in batting average and tied for first among his AL counterparts in homeruns. He also has a hose from behind the plate and blocks pitches with the best of them. Perhaps most importantly, Perez has been able to keep himself healthy over the course of this season. His 568.2 innings caught leads the AL. I also believe his ability to call good games from behind the plate has played a strong role in how well the Royals pitching has performed this year. Lorenzo Cain/Centerfielder Lo-Cain certainly deserves to be in the All-Star conversation as he currently sports an AL centerfield leading .315 batting average. Cain has also played well in the field making some spectacular diving grabs whether he's in center or right. The only factors that may keep Cain out of the All-Star Game is the fact that he isn't quite an everyday outfielder. He has split time with Jarrod Dyson and was also on the DL early on in the season. Greg Holland/Closer Just like last season, Greg Holland has been lights out on the bump this year. Holland currently holds a 1.88 ERA in 28.2 innings this season. His biggest case to make the All-Star Game would be his AL leading 21 saves. Holland has arguably been the most dominant closer in the league over the past two seasons, which is why he should be playing in his second All-Star Game in a row this year. Wade Davis/Reliever Wade Davis has arguably been the best pitcher the Royals have this season. He has been sensational with a 1.11 ERA and a dominating 54 strikeouts in 32.1 innings of work. Davis has also shown how consistent he is with a current streak of 22 innings without allowing a run. Alex Gordon/Leftfielder One of the most important skills a hitter must possess is the ability to get on base. Alex Gordon has given the Royals plenty of scoring opportunities with his .371 on base percentage, which is third among all AL leftfielders. Gordon has also shown successful plate discipline with the second most walks among all AL leftfielders. All Royals fans also know that you can't talk about Gordon without mentioning the cannon he has. He is well on his way to winning his fourth straight Gold Glove if he continues to take away runs from other teams by gunning them out at the plate with his accurate arm. Who will get into the All-Star Game? Among all the deserving Royals All-Star candidates, I believe Wade Davis and Greg Holland are the only two locks to make the roster. Both, as I mentioned earlier, have been sensational out of the bullpen. Davis would be my choice for team MVP at the moment because his numbers are arguably the best of any reliever in the league right now. As far as positional players go, I believe it's unfortunate that some people around the country don't realize just how good some of the Boys In Blue starters are. Alcides Escobar is very deserving of a spot on the roster with his nifty glove skills complimented by his surprisingly strong season at the plate. Unfortunately for the young Royals shortstop, Derek Jeter is in his final season and will get in on sympathy vote, although in all the major offensive categories, Escobar has better numbers. Therefore, I think Escobar is deserving but will probably get snubbed. Salvador Perez' numbers are still among the best of AL catchers. His defensive skills are as good as anybody's as well. Therefore I believe he gets in for a second straight year. Alex Gordon is also playing superbly this season. In fact, he is arguably the Royals' best hitter this season with nine homeruns, 40 RBI and a .292 average. With that being said, among other outfielders, his power numbers are a bit inferior. I don't believe he will make it to a second straight All-Star Game. Although Lorenzo Cain has a solid .315 batting average, he simply hasn't played enough games this year to make it to Target Field in the July All-Star festivities. Ultimately I think the Royals get three players to the All-Star game in 2014: Wade Davis, Greg Holland, and Salvador Perez. Escobar deserves to be in the game as well, but I think he will get snubbed unless he gets in on the players' vote.
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