June 19, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis (21) at bat against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

AL All-Star Race Coming Down to the Wire

June 20, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter (48) hits a two RBI single in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Some spots on the MLB All-Star team’s are locked up early. Guys like Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout are shoe ins to make the team year in and year out, without much trouble.

But other spots see a close race down to the bitter end, and sometimes aren’t decided until much closer to the actual game. This is the case for the last outfield spot this year, which has seen a lot of fluctuation over the last few weeks.

Torii Hunter, right fielder for the Tigers, originally had the job, and there looked to be no changing that. But he has slipped recently, and was passed up by both Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, and the current leader Nick Markakis of the Orioles.

While Markakis has the lead right now, he has by no means locked it up. He is only a few thousand votes ahead of Bautista and Hunter, with about a week and a half remaining. Bautista has been on the rise lately, and if the Blue Jays continue their scorching pace, he may continue to do so.

But with All-Star voting comes controversy, and lots of it. There are people who despise the fact that fans vote, because they do not feel the right players get into the game. And a lot of the time, that is true.

For whatever reason, people vote hundreds of thousands of times for Derek Jeter, despite the fact that he hasn’t even played yet this season. Situations like that seem to pop up every year, and it can be frustrating as it shows a blatant lack of attention or knowledge of the season. How can someone have the best first half of the season without even playing?

On top of that, without getting too opinionated, neither Markakis nor Hunter are deserving of an All-Star appearance this year. Neither are in the top 15 among AL outfielders in OPS, or WAR, or really any other category.

There is also some controversy over Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig, who many want to see in the game due to his exciting style of play. However, NL manager Bruce Bochy has said he is not likely to place Puig on the team.

There is certainly some problems with the fan vote, but it is unlikely to ever go away.

Tags: All-Star Jose Bautista Nick Markakis Torii Hunter