All-Star FAQ: How the teams are built

July 5th, 2016

You know how the All-Star Game position player starters were selected because, well, you helped select them. But what about the benches and pitching staffs?
Here's a handy FAQ to guide you through the way the reserve selection process unfolded for rosters for the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, set for July 12 at Petco Park in San Diego.
How many spots had to be filled?
The National League had 26 spots, while the American League had 25. The difference, of course, is that fans vote in a starting designated hitter for the AL team. There are 34 total roster spots for each league.
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Who picked the reserves and pitchers?
In short, it was a group effort. The Player Ballot, the managers for each league (Terry Collins in the NL and Ned Yost in the AL) and the fans all had a say in how the rosters rounded out.
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How many Player Ballot selections were there?
Technically, it's more than just a "Player Ballot," because coaches and managers are also included in the process, but, anyway, the ballots gathered in all 30 clubhouses shortly before the roster announcements accounted for 16 players in the NL and 17 in the AL -- eight pitchers (five starters and three relievers), as well as one backup for each position (including DH in the AL).
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What if the players selected a guy already voted into the starting lineup by the fans?
Next man up. The guy who was second on the Player Ballot at that particular position was selected as the backup. This didn't change the number of Player Ballot selections. The Player Ballot is basically used as a pecking order to fill the backup slot at each position.
How many manager selections were there?
Collins picked 10 players: six pitchers and four position players. He had an extra pitcher pick to make because Clayton Kershaw, who was rightly voted in by the players, is on the disabled list and thus declared inactive.
Because of the injury that sent Wade Davis to the DL on Tuesday, Yost made eight selections: six pitchers (including Davis and his replacement, Astros reliever Will Harris) and two positions players. The reason the AL manager has fewer selections than the NL skipper is because the fans picked the starting DH (David Ortiz) and the players picked the backup DH (Edwin Encarnacion).
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What about the fans?
They will fill the 34th and final spot on each roster via the Final Vote ballot, which is open until 4 p.m. ET Friday. It features five candidates from each league: Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, Blue Jays outfielder Michael Saunders and Astros outfielder George Springer in the AL, and Giants first baseman Brandon Belt, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, D-backs third baseman Jake Lamb, Pirates outfielder Starling Marte and Rockies shortstop Trevor Story in the NL.
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These candidates were selected by the league's manager, with the assistance of the Commissioner's Office. It's a good chance to stymie a would-be snub situation.
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Did every team have to be represented?
Yes, and it was the job of the manager for each league to ensure this stipulation was accounted for with their selections.
Yost fulfilled this duty by selecting catcher Stephen Vogt (A's), reliever Alex Colome (Rays) and shortstop Eduardo Nunez (Twins) as their clubs' lone reps, while Collins made sure every NL club was accounted for with the inclusions of starter Julio Teheran (Braves), reliever Mark Melancon (Pirates), catcher Jonathan Lucroy (Brewers), first baseman Wil Myers (Padres), third baseman Matt Carpenter (Cardinals) and outfielder Odubel Herrera (Phillies).
This rule can lead to some prickly situations, most notably the Nunez inclusion this year. Because the AL shortstop scene was already crowded with Xander Bogaerts picked by the fans as the starter and Francisco Lindor selected by the players as the backup, there was no room for both Nunez and reigning Rookie of the Year Carlos Correa.
It should be noted, however, that if a player is selected to the roster and can't participate for a particular reason, he does not necessarily have to replaced by a teammate.
How is the starting pitcher for each team determined?
By the league managers. The announcement is made the day before the game. Kershaw's injury has deepened the difficulty of this assignment for Collins.
Who picks the replacements for injured players or those who decline to participate?
If an elected starter is going to be unable to play, the reserve who received the most votes on the Player Ballot at that particular position moves into the starting lineup. The roster replacement is then chosen by the league manager.
If a reserve or pitcher is going to be unable to play, the league manager and the Commissioner's Office work together to decide the replacement. The roster spots for Kershaw and Davis have already been accounted for. Dexter Fowler, voted in by fans in the NL outfield, is also currently on the DL, though he could be healthy in time for the game.
Does an injured or otherwise unavailable player have to be replaced by a player from the same position?
Not necessarily. Pitchers will be replaced by pitchers, as was the case already with the injured Kershaw and Davis. But on the position-player front, we've seen situations that are fairly fluid. Last season, for instance, infielder Brian Dozier replaced injured outfielder Jose Bautista.
What if a pitcher isn't available because of his throwing schedule?
If a pitcher starts for his team on Sunday -- the final day before the All-Star break (in this case, on Sunday, July 10) -- he can be replaced on the league roster. Whereas the rule instituted in 2010 ruled such pitchers ineligible for the Midsummer Classic, the rule was altered in 2013 to give those pitchers the option of deciding if they want to pitch in the game -- but for a maximum of one inning or for a preset pitch count.
As with injured players, those affected by this rule are still considered to be All-Stars, and they are invited to make the trip to the game and be introduced beforehand. The replacement process is the same as it is for injured players.
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So how many total All-Stars are we talking about here?
We're at 64 total right now, with two more coming later this week when the Final Vote results are in. But stay tuned. In the five-year period from 2011-15, the average number of All-Stars, once all the replacement situations were settled, was 79 All-Stars.
What if a selected player gets traded to a team in the opposite league before the All-Star Game?
This happened to Jeff Samardzija in 2014, when the Cubs dealt him to the A's. In such a scenario, the player is deemed ineligible to participate in the game but is still recognized as an All-Star for the original league. In Samardzija's case, he wore a generic NL jersey and All-Star Game cap for the pregame player introductions.