One of the benefits for small market, less successful teams is that each club must be represented in the mid-summer classic. This rule actually hurts the playoff contending teams because the winner of the game determines which league, American or National, gets home field advantage throughout the World Series. Whether every team should be represented, or only the best players should play, is an argument for another occasion.
On the bright side, someone will be in Anaheim, Calif., in the All-Star Game wearing an Indian's uniform. It is pretty simple to tell who it might be. A nice little plus is that neither of these candidates has been to an All-Star Game throughout their careers.
There is little, if any chance that both these sluggers will make it, but one is guaranteed to go. Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is the most likely candidate. The Indians' left-handed right fielder has been arguably their most consistent hitter on a day-to-day basis. Leading the team in batting average, hits and RBIs, Choo is near the top of every stat category for the Tribe. He also has 11 steals, a team best, and is third in doubles with 13. He has also scored more runs that any other Cleveland hitter with 43.
Choo plays a slick right field defensively on a team where they are amongst the worst in the A.L. in fielding. He has hit in the three hole, and made a nice adjustment to the two spot to try and help set the table for guys such as Travis Hafner and Jhonny Peralta. Choo has a good balance of power and speed and is the only Indian to use those tools time and again.
The other candidate is outfielder Austin Kearns. Having been lucky to make the team in the first place, Kearns was given a roster spot and a chance to re-prove himself under former and current manager Manny Acta as a spring training invitee. The Tribe's skipper got good looks at his outfielder's talent while in Washington. Austin Kearns was said to become one of the games premier sluggers while in Cincinnati with the Reds, but was overshadowed by big guns such as Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. For Kearns, it didn't work out with the Reds, or the Nationals, but he seems to have found his sweet stroke with the Indians.
Kearns has been a bit streakier as opposed to Choo, but when he is on, he has done well. Seven homers and 32 runs batted in are among the leaders on the team. His numbers looked a bit more impressive a few weeks ago. His 4-for-21 slump has dramatically reduced his chances of making the All-Star roster. Even if he does not go to the All-Star festivities, his production is still drawing attention from other general managers around the league as the July trade deadline swiftly approaches.
Overall, it appears that the fan favorite Choo is the leader to get what will probably be the Indians' only spot on the mid-summer classic roster. The Indians had only one representative in the All-Star game in 2009 (Victor Martinez) and now it appears that they'll only have one for a second consecutive year. Whoever ends up going, he may not get playing time, or even an at bat, but at least it gives Tribe fans the satisfaction of having one of their players play amongst the best in the business