MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Final Vote: Cueto, Moustakas should get nods

Hometown ace, Royals' stalwart are most deserving

Final Vote: Cueto, Moustakas should get nods

The 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote is underway to determine the last spot on the American League and National League rosters, and there are some very difficult choices on the ballots.

Cast your Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote now

If you're having a particularly difficult time deciding which guys should get the opportunity to play at the 86th Midsummer Classic on Tuesday at Great American Ball Park, here are the guys I'd vote for in each league.

NL: Johnny Cueto
Much awaits Cueto, and maybe sooner, not later.

When the season is over, Cueto will almost certainly get a new address, and with it a contract among the richest in the game. But change seems to be coming even quicker with his Cincinnati teammates unable to dig their way out of an early hole in the NL Central.

The Red with the dreads, 91-62 lifetime in an eight-season run, lacking only success on the October stage, is in demand with contenders trying to upgrade before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The 29-year-old Cueto, runner-up to Clayton Kershaw in the 2014 NL Cy Young Award voting, is cutting up batters like always. Witness the 0.87 WHIP he's compiled, which ranks behind only Max Scherzer in the Majors. The same Scherzer who Cueto outdueled on Tuesday night with 11 strikeouts in a complete game shutout of the Nationals.

Cueto deserves a chance to be soaked in cheers as he jogs in from the bullpen to pitch in the All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park, where he's made 97 starts. Let's give it to him.

Moustakas a Final Vote candidate

AL: Mike Moustakas
Day in, day out, Moustakas is there for the Royals and their highly-engaged fans.

Moustakas is a tough out who can turn around a good pitch or crush a mistake, and you never know when he's going to hurl himself into a photo well to make a catch when one of Kansas City's pitchers needs an out to escape an inning. He might not be the best athlete in the clubhouse, but he's a ballplayer.

Just ask anyone who saw Moose last October or this April. His postseason production was a key to the Royals' long run last October. Moustakas' play out of the gate (a .942 OPS with 19 runs scored) was a big part of the story in the 15-7 April that ended any talk about them being a one-year wonder.

Moustakas was Ned Yost's No. 9 hitter in the AL Wild Card Game against the A's, but he has been in a fixture in the No. 2 spot this season. He's hitting .301 with a .361 on-base percentage and an .801 OPS, in no small part because he spent the offseason working to beat shifts by hitting the ball to left field. Moustakas is a solid piece of a great fielding team, as reflected by a rating of six Defensive Runs Saved.

During the Midsummer Classic in Cincinnati on Tuesday, fans can once again visit MLB.com to submit their choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. Voting exclusively at MLB.com, online and via their mobile devices in the 2015 All-Star Game MVP Vote presented by Chevrolet, the fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

MLB.TV Premium subscribers will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 supported MLB.TV platforms, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities, including the 2015 Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday. The Derby will feature a new format with brackets and timed rounds and will be broadcast live by ESPN and MLB.com beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports (7 p.m. ET air time, 8:15 first pitch), in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Phil Rogers is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.