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All-Star Status: Lock
Why: The list of players above Machado in FanGraphs’ wins above replacement (WAR) rankings should say enough about why he has earned a trip to Cincinnati in two weeks: Bryce Harper, Jason Kipnis, Todd Frazier, Josh Donaldson, Paul Goldschmidt, Mike Trout, and Giancarlo Stanton. He’s a power/speed threat at the top of the Orioles lineup (15 home runs, 17 doubles, and 11 steals) and basically leads the team’s qualifiers in pretty much everything with a .305/.362/.524 line.
Why not: There is no reason, on this planet or any other, that an assembly of baseball players calling themselves the game’s best can gather without Machado being invited. So I suppose the reason why not is because the All-Star Game is ridiculous, bloated, and has no real value, even though it “counts."
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Chris Young / Associated Press
All-Star Status: Near-lock
Why: Jones, an All-Star the last three years, probably needs an appearance this year to solidify the “perennial All-Star” title. He’s certainly earned it. He and Machado have been the only constants on an Orioles team that’s been hit by injury or inconsistency at nearly every position outside of third base, and Jones has continued to perform even with new expectations this year. He has a career-high .293 batting average and .341 OPS.
Why not: The Royals, basically. With Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain (both deserving of appearances, mind you) atop the fan vote, there are only a handful of spots for the reserves who typically populate the roster like Jones, Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, and Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
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With the MLB All-Star Game two weeks away and voting winding down this week, the questions inevitably turn to who on the red-hot Orioles will represent the team in baseball’s annual showcase game. With so many Orioles mainstays from the game injured or not performing, it’s an interesting list of candidates who could and should be considered for the game, even if the Kansas City Royals fans will make it so no other team’s players can start.