Mid-summer MLB update: Canadian edition

Major League Baseball is announcing the starting lineups for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game tonight. Injuries have affected many of MLB’s Canadians this year, and while only one is likely to be selected as an All-Star this year, many have still put together a season to take note of.

Here are a few to keep an eye on during the second half of the year:

Justin Morneau – 1B, Colorado Rockies

Justin Morneau

(.315 AVG, 13HR, 58 RBI) – Justin Morneau is enjoying a breakout year in his first season with the Rockies and is the most likely Canadian to play in the All-Star game this year.  Once a Twin, he was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates at last year’s trade deadline, but was unable to provide a spark during their first postseason run in 20 years. This offseason, Morneau signed with the Rockies to take over as their everyday first baseman from perennial All-Star Todd Helton. He has seemed to enjoy his time in the mile-high city, amassing 58 RBIs in only 80 games.

Brett Lawrie – 3B, Toronto Blue Jays

Brett Lawrie

(.244 AVG, 12 HR, 38 RBI) – BC boy and 2008 Olympian Brett Lawrie has had much success already in 2014, but currently finds himself watching games from the 15-day Disabled List. Lawrie started the season slowly, hitting only .135 during his first 20 games, but soon began to turn it around, hitting .288 over his next 48 games. Brett has already set a career-high in 2014 with 12 home runs so far. He has also showed off his defensive range, making several starts at second base when needed. Unfortunately, he was hit in the hand twice in one week during a recent road trip and suffered a broken finger that has forced him to the DL for now.

Joey Votto – 1B, Cincinnati Reds

Devin Mesoraco

(.259 AVG, 6 HR, 22 RBI) – Recently, baseball fans have become accustomed to seeing Joey Votto represent his Cincinnati Reds in the MLB All-Star Game. The Toronto-native has made 4 straight All-Star appearances leading up to 2014, but looks primed to miss his first mid-summer classic in the last 5 years. Votto missed four weeks earlier in the spring with a quad injury and hasn’t found his stride since returning to the lineup.

Michael Saunders – OF, Seattle Mariners

Michael Saunders

(.259 AVG, 5 HR, 26 RBI) – Michael Saunders has also been bitten by the injury bug this year, having spent several weeks on the DL already with an injured shoulder. Before being placed on the DL, Saunders was being used regularly in the top two positions in the batting order, normally reserved for the guys on the team with the best On-Base Percentage.

John Axford – RP, Cleveland Indians

John Axford, Yan Gomes

(2 Wins – 3 Losses, 9 Saves, 3.58 ERA) – John Axford (aka The Ax Man) was signed by the Cleveland Indians this past offseason to become their everyday Closer. He did begin the season as the main man in Cleveland, but following several bad outings and blown saves, he was replaced in the closer role. However, recently Axford’s game is starting to come around again, and he could find himself back in the Closer role before season’s end.

Russell Martin – C, Pittsburgh Pirates

Russell Martin, Billy Hamilton

(.274 AVG, 4 HR, 40 RBI) – Three-time All-Star catcher Russell Martin put up good numbers in his first season with the Bucs (last year: .226 AVG, 15 HR, 55 RBI), helping the Pirates make the playoffs for the first time since 1992. The Toronto-native started 2014 somewhat slowly and was forced onto the DL early in the season. However, since returning from injury, Martin is beginning to recapture his form  (he is currently on a three-game hitting streak).

If Baseball were to find its way back into the 2024 Olympic Games, Canada – with a mix of veterans and potential future stars – might be able to field a pretty decent team. Here’s hoping!