In the end, Jonathan Lucroy did not end up beating out Cardinals' catcher Yadier Molina for the starting spot on the 2014 NL All Star Game team. However, Lucroy is on the roster along with Francisco Rodriguez, Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Gomez. And the latter two did earn starting nods.
Gomez is starting the All Star game for the first time in his career. He also made the roster last year, but began on the bench as Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gonzalez, and Bryce Harper started. Gomez has been amazing this year, flashing his Gold Glove defense with a .303/.369/.511 line, 13 HR and 14 stolen bases. He'll join Andrew McCutchen and Yasiel Puig in the outfield as Giancarlo Stanton just missed out on a starting bid.
Aramis Ramirez will be playing in his third All Star Game. The 17-year veteran missed time earlier in the year due to injury, but has come back strong with an 814 OPS and 11 homers in 62 games. The Reds' Todd Frazier was probably the right choice to start, but in a weak year for NL third baseman, Ramirez deserved his spot as well. Frazier and Matt Carpenter both made the roster as backups.
Lucroy, of course, is by far the best-hitting catcher in baseball. From a few days ago:
Over 79 games this year, Lucroy has an incredible .331/.399/.511 line with eight homers and 29 doubles. Of qualified catchers in the MLB, only Carlos Ruiz has a higher walk rate and only Kurt Suzuki strikes out at a lower rate. Only Mike Zunino has a higher ISO. The next closest catcher to Lucroy's .393 wOBA is Salvador Perez, at .343. The next closest NL catcher is Buster Posey at .338.
Alas, Molina's popularity proved too much despite a valiant effort from Brewers' fans in the vote. In the end, Lucroy is the MVP candidate this year and I'm glad to see he is getting his recognition as a first-time All Star.
Francisco Rodriguez keeps rising from the dead to have good seasons with the Brewers. This will be his fifth All Star nod, and first since 2009. He leads the NL with 27 saves and 40 games finished. He also has a 2.34 ERA, a 0.87 WHIP and 10.4 K/9. He wasn't supposed to be the closer this year, but I'll be damned if he isn't doing a fine job of it.
As far as snubs go on the Brewers, the biggest is probably Zach Duke. As a non-closer, the likelihood of him earning a roster spot was low. But his 1.30 ERA, 11.9 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 over 34.2 innings would not have made him a bad choice. Kyle Lohse also missed out in a loaded starting pitching class despite a 3.18 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. He does still have a chance, though, as Jeff Samardzija is no longer in the National League and there is always a need for pitching replacements in the days leading up to the game.
It's hard to classify Ryan Braun as a snub, meanwhile. He's picked it back up lately, but is still hitting just .288/.340/.507. This is the first non-suspension shortened season that Braun has missed the All Star Game since his rookie year in 2007.
No Brewers are on the final vote, which consists of old friend Casey McGehee, Justin Morneau, Anthony Rizzo, Anthony Rendon, and Justin Upton. McGehee will be the one Brewers fans will want to vote for. Rizzo is the one who deserves it most. Vote as you please.