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MLB All-Star Game 2014: Chris Sale the early favorite for the final American League roster spot

Mitchell Layton

Sale will compete with fellow pitchers Dallas Keuchel, Corey Kluber, Garrett Richards and Rick Porcello for the fans' votes.

With the American League All-Star rosters nearly set, the final spot will be determined by fan voting that will run through 4 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday July 10.

Dallas Keuchel, Corey Kluber, Garrett Richards, Rick Porcello, and Chris Sale will compete for that spot. Sale, who has a realistic chance to win the American League Cy Young award this season, seems to be the favorite. However, all of the pitchers on the final ballot have been exceptional in 2014.

Sale missed about a month with a flexor strain in his pitching elbow, but that hasn't slowed him down on the hill. There was some concern that he'd need Tommy John surgery when the words "elbow injury" were first uttered, but he has quickly put those fears to bed. In 87⅓ innings, Sale has a 2.16 ERA, a 0.87 WHIP, he's striking out more than a batter per inning, and walking less than two per nine innings.

Kluber has his own appreciation society. He was excellent for Cleveland last season, but this year, he's been unbelievable. In 117⅓ innings, Kluber has a 2.99 ERA, and his advanced metrics are off the charts. He has the sixth-highest strikeout rate in the American League and he's walking just six percent of the hitters he has faced.

Despite the presence of C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver in Los Angeles, Richards has been the Angels' ace this season. In 109 innings, he has a 2.81 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. Unless Richards wins the fan vote, the Angels will only send one player to the All-Star Game, but as a team, they have the second-best record in the AL and the third-best record in the majors. Much of that success is thanks to Richards.

Porcello's success this season has been thanks in part to some luck on balls in play, but his emergence isn't superficial. The results on the field have been huge for the Tigers in their efforts to repeat as AL Central champs, especially since Justin Verlander has struggled at times this year.

The Astros might not be in the hunt for the postseason yet, but Dallas Keuchel's surprising success this season has been a bright spot for Houston fans. His otherworldly groundball rate -- 63 percent -- combined with his ability to limit free passes -- 2.24 walks per nine innings -- have resulted in an exceptional run in 2014.

To place your vote, go to MLB.com, text the word "VOTE" to 89269, or tweet your vote to #FinalVote. Follow @MLB for details.

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