Richard Justice

10 #ASGWorthy players who deserve nods

10 #ASGWorthy players who deserve nods

In the end, the most deserving players almost always end up in the All-Star Game, and that's important to remember as we sift through this first round of voting.

So take heart, Twins fans. Your best guy, third baseman Miguel Sano, will be there when the American League team is announced at the 88th All-Star Game presented by MasterCard on July 11 in Miami. Likewise for Rays outfielder Corey Dickerson and a bunch of others.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for your favorite #ASGWorthy players

That shouldn't keep us from nudging voters in a certain direction in the wake of the first round of voting results being released. In fact, this is one of the best things about being a baseball fan.

2017 AL All-Star Ballot update

We argue for our hometown guys. We also argue for the players we see as the most deserving. Having gone through the voting results with my carefully trained eye, here are 10 players who could use a bit more love the next time you fill out an Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot:

1. Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins
.292, 12 HR, 39 RBIs, .996 OPS

This is Sano's breakthrough season. Remember how superstardom was forecast for him? That's exactly where Sano appears to be headed. He's fourth in the AL in Wins Above Replacement (WAR), behind only Mike Trout, Aaron Judge and Mookie Betts. Sano leads all AL third basemen in OPS and RBIs and is third in home runs. Send this man to South Florida.

Sano's offensive showcase

2. Zack Cozart, SS, Reds
.347, 7 HR, 27 RBIs, 1.030 OPS

Cozart is tied with Freddie Freeman and Bryce Harper for the National League WAR lead (2.7), and he is the best defensive shortstop in his league. He leads NL shortstops in batting average and is tied with Corey Seager for second in home runs behind the Rockies' Trevor Story. Cozart was a very solid, very respected player in his first six seasons. In his seventh, he has emerged as a cornerstone-type player.

Cozart's two-homer game

3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, D-backs
.303, 12 HR, 39 RBIs, .993 OPS

That Goldschmidt will make his fifth straight NL All-Star team isn't a question. That he's running fourth in the voting, well, we can quibble with that. Goldschmidt is one of baseball's greatest players and true gentlemen. His 2.6 WAR is fourth best in the NL. Goldschmidt's offensive numbers line up nicely in a crowded field with Freeman, Ryan Zimmerman, Joey Votto and Eric Thames. Arguably one of the toughest votes on the ballot.

Goldy's solo homer

4. Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros
.319 BA, 7 HR, 27 RBIs, .891 OPS

Altuve leads AL second basemen in OPS and stolen bases. Do you really want the fine print? He's a four-time All-Star and a two-time batting champion, and he has averaged 214 hits the past three seasons. If Altuve is not on the AL All-Star team, it's not really an All-Star team, is it?

Altuve's four-hit game

5. Justin Turner, 3B, Dodgers
.379 BA, 1 HR, 17 RBIs, .946 OPS

Turner just might be the best-kept secret in all of baseball. Of course, a batting title would go a long way toward changing that. There are at least six other deserving candidates in the mix, including Kris Bryant, Jake Lamb and Jedd Gyorko. Turner's 2.1 WAR is tops among NL third basemen. His defense is terrific. Turner is deserving.

6. Corey Dickerson, LF/DH, Rays
.341 BA, 12 HR, 25 RBIs

We shouldn't even be debating All-Star voting here. Dickerson is putting together a season that could have him in the AL MVP Award conversation, leading the AL in runs, hits and total bases. Whether he's voted into the starting lineup or not, he'll be in Miami.

Dickerson's two-homer game

7. Eric Thames, 1B, Brewers
.286 BA, 14 HR, 28 RBIs

Thames has cooled off since a magical start, but he remains one of the season's most compelling figures, having remade his swing in Korea and helped Milwaukee to a great start. Depending on how many Brewers are selected, he's deserving of his first All-Star selection.

Thames' 13th homer

8. Brett Gardner, OF, Yankees
.276 BA, 11 HR, 25 RBIs

Probably the most surprising name on this list. Just when some thought Gardner's best baseball was behind him and that he no longer fit with the Yankees' youth movement, he has bounced back with one of his best seasons. Just as in his best years, he's a weapon in the outfield, on the bases and at the plate.

Gardner's pair of taters

9. George Springer, OF, Astros
.265 BA, 13 HR, 31 RBIs

If that 473-foot home run Wednesday didn't punch Springer's ticket, then it may not be punched. His low batting average belies his defense, baserunning and overall impact he has on winning. At least two of Springer's teammates, shortstop Carlos Correa and super-utility man Marwin Gonzalez, deserve trips to South Florida as well to represent baseball's best team.

Springer's huge offensive game

10. Michael Conforto, OF, Mets
.316 BA, 13 HR, 34 RBIs

Here's your write-in candidate. Conforto has been one of the 10 best players in the NL this season, a touted prospect who appears to be on his way to fulfilling every bit of the promise forecast for him.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.