Rachel Levitin: Examining which Nats are most deserving of All-Star nods

It's almost that time of year again, that time when fans get a say regarding who takes the field at a Midsummer Classic of sorts. It's almost time for the All-Star Game.

This year's game will be hosted by the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis and voting runs through Thursday, July 3 at 11:59 p.m. It's always interesting to see who the Nationals get to send to the All-Star affair despite the fact that I've personally never gotten too into that particular exhibition game.

Since the current club's inception in 2005, the Nats have had 14 All-Stars. The 2012 season was the year when Washington fielded the most All-Stars (Ian Desmond, Gio Gonzalez, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg), but 2012 was also that special gem of a year for baseball in D.C. In 2013, Harper and Jordan Zimmermann got the nod. But who will get to have a little fun in sunny Minnesota come mid-July?

Nats Buzz blogger Connor Smolensky made a solid point earlier this week in saying, "The Nationals may be in first place in the National League East, but they are not well-represented in the 2014 All-Star Game voting. Actually, they're barely represented at all."

Harper appears to be the only name making any headway in the competition, but he isn't even back from his rehab assignment yet. That's the thing about the All-Star Game, it's an exhibition game for fans, but it just so happens to determine who gets home-field advantage in the World Series. So it affects any team hoping for a shot at October baseball, but the fans (mostly) determine who gets the opportunity to fight for the home-field advantage prize.

There are some solid players on the currently active Nats roster including: Anthony Rendon, who has been exceptional at 3rd base this season, Adam LaRoche, whose bat has been quite a prominent piece of Washington's offense, and the team's starting rotation, which seems to have finally found its groove.

If anything, it would make the most sense to have the Nats' representative(s) at the All-Star Game be Rendon, LaRoche, and/or one of the team's starting pitchers. But that's not what tends to happen. The All-Star Game, at the end of the day, is for the fans and they vote for who they want to see most. If that's Harper, then it's Harper, but isn't that the ongoing debate? Do people want to bestow the "honor" of dubbing a standout player an All-Star nod or do they simply want the biggest name from the team to take the spot regardless of their current health and/or play so far this season?

Rachel Levitin blogs about the Nationals for We Love DC. Follow her on Twitter: @RHLevitin. She will be sharing her observations about baseball in the nation's capital as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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