It’s hard to believe, but the MLB All-Star break is now upon us. So much has happened in the first half of the season, and this week was no different. Let’s get to it!

All-Star Teams Finally Set

After being released towards the beginning of last week, the All-Star rosters are finally set following the All-Star Final Vote and the adjustment of the teams due to injuries and starting pitchers having thrown to close to Tuesday’s game.

Fans in Chicago had to be elated at the results of the Final Vote, as it was a clean sweep for the Windy City with Chris Sale and Anthony Rizzo both earning a spot on the respective teams. Rizzo, especially, has a reason to be proud, as he was the leading vote getter among all of the players eligible.

Much like every year, there were a few players who have a right to be upset about the results of the voting. Los Angeles Angels starter Garrett Richards has been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball this year but didn’t get the nod, and Miami Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee didn’t make the cut even though he leads all third basemen in hits, and leads National League third basemen in RBI’s.

It’s impossible to create a team like this without leaving out some worthy players, however, so it’s tough to get too upset. With as much talent as there is in baseball, this would be a difficult game to bet on, but if I had to guess I’d say that the National League will wind up taking this one home. Who do you think was the biggest ASG snub? And what are your predictions for the game?

Home Run Derby Contestants Named

One of the best parts of baseball’s All-Star weekend is undoubtedly the Home Run Derby. This year should be no different in terms of excitement, especially considering the heavy hitters that are on both squads.

For the American League, Jose Bautista and reigning champion Yoenis Cespedes should be considered the favorites, but Brian Dozier, Adam Jones and Josh Donaldson certainly won’t be pushovers. With the new bracket-style format, I expect that Cespedes will again make his way to the finals.

Over on the National League side of things, youngsters Giancarlo Stanton and Yasiel Puig headline a team that’s full of pop. They also have a former champion on their side in Justin Morneau, but Todd Frazier and Troy Tulowitzki can’t be forgotten. Ultimately, I think Stanton’s raw power will allow him to advance to take on Cespedes.

If the final ends up being Stanton and Cespedes like I predict, we’re going to be in for quite a show. Stanton has become known for the light tower power that he exhibits, and Cespedes put himself on the scene last year with his performance. When it comes down to it, though, I’m taking Stanton to win it all. Who’s your pick in this year’s Derby? How do you feel about the new bracket format?

Tanaka To Miss Time With Elbow Issues

The dreaded injury bug has taken claim to yet another promising young arm, this time being New York Yankees star Masahiro Tanaka. After leaving against Cleveland this week, the initial reports aren’t that promising, though they could definitely be worse.

It was reported that Tanaka has a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament. This is the last thing you want to hear about a pitcher, as it’s tears in this ligament that often result in the infamous Tommy John surgery, which can keep players out for over a year.

Fortunately for the Yankees and Tanaka, it doesn’t appear to warrant surgery at this point. They’re going to go with a six-week plan of rest, rehab and platelet-rich-plasma therapy, which is known to drastically improve recovery times in injuries involving tendons.

It’s far too early to make any judgment regarding the injury, but this could doom the Yankees. Their starting pitching took a hit with the loss of CC Sabathia last week, and Tanaka has been infinitely more important to the team thus far. You have to wonder if the years of strain placed on his arm in Japan had anything to do with this injury. If this injury winds up being season-ending, do you think it could affect the contracts of others making the jump from international leagues to the MLB?

This Week’s MVP: Andrew McCutchen (.357/.406/.929, 4 HR, 8 RBI)

This Week’s Cy Young: Hisashi Iwakuma (2-0, 1.15 ERA, 18 K)

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Brian Rzeppa is an avid follower of the Cubs, and of Major League Baseball in general. You can find his basketball-related work at Sheridan Hoops, and you can follow him on Twitter @brianrzeppa.