By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
9:17 AM EDT, July 2, 2013
Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis’ chances to make his first All-Star Game took a hit with Monday’s latest American League fan-balloting results as Markakis slipped out of a starting spot, going from third to fourth.
For Markakis, who was passed by Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista in the latest round of voting, his best shot at making the game is with the vote. With three other Orioles -- first baseman Chris Davis, center fielder Adam Jones and shortstop J.J. Hardy -- all on track to earn starting nods at their positions, and third baseman Manny Machado and catcher Matt Wieters likely to make the roster as non-starting selections, Markakis would likely be edged out unless he’s voted in because every AL team needs a representative.
It would have been a great story, but it looks like it is probably not going to happen.
Stadium balloting for the All-Star Game, which will be played on July 16 at CitiField in New York, ended last Friday, so the Orioles’ numbers won’t be hurt by the team playing on the road this week. Fans have until July 4 at 11:59 p.m. to vote online, so there's still a chance that Markakis gets voted into the game.
Anyone who sees Markakis play regularly knows that his stat line doesn’t fairly represent his role in the Orioles' success, but here’s a look at the top six votegetters among AL outfielders:
Mike Trout, LAA (4,822,983 votes): .315/.392/.545, 13 HR, 52 RBI, 25 2B, 20 SB, 3.5 WAR
Adam Jones, Orioles (4,766,256): .292/.315/.486, 15 HR, 57 RBI, 22 2B, 56 RS, 1.9 WAR
Jose Bautista, TOR (2,679,230): .256/.355/.505, 19 HR, 49 RBI, 15 2B, 55 RS, 3.1 WAR
Nick Markakis, Orioles (2,536,864): .282/.331/.405, 8 HR, 42 RBI, 17 2B, 49 RS, 0.6 WAR
Torii Hunter, DET (2,390,336): .293/.336/.405, 4 HR, 31 RBI, 20 2B, 44 RS, 0.4 WAR
Nelson Cruz, TEX (2,258,797): .271/.332/.525, 20 HR, 61 RBI, 15 2B, 32 RS, 1.2 WAR
We’re assuming that the fan balloting-process is entirely representative of which players are most deserving -- New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who hasn’t played a game this season due to injury, was top five among shortstops for most of the fan-balloting process -- but the fact that Markakis is in the mix says he’s getting his due (and that Orioles fans have been hitting the ballot boxes).
Whether hitting from the No. 3 spot or the leadoff position, Markakis serves as a catalyst for the Orioles lineup, and the offensive production of Davis, Jones and Machado all reflect Markakis’ value. His defense can’t be overstated. And his -0.6 defensive WAR shows the flaw in that metric because there are few right fielders better defensively.
Having said that, it appears that Bautista -- who has been the poster boy for the Blue Jays’ recent surge -- will take the third and final outfield starting spot. As his numbers show, he’s more than deserving, but it would have been nice to reward a player who is just as big a part of the Orioles’ now-recognized resurgence with a trip to the All-Star Game.
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