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Which Orioles deserve to be All-Stars, and their chances of heading to San Diego

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
Many Orioles deserve to be All-Stars this year. Jon Meoli looks at which could be selected.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter has said throughout the past month that he wants all of his players who are worthy to get a chance to play in the All-Star Game. But the honor of selecting the rosters goes to the fans, the players and Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost, whose team was last year's American League representative in the World Series.

That leaves Showalter to simply stump for his deserving players to be included in the midseason showcase on July 12. Entering Saturday's game atop the American League East at 47-32, the Orioles have a long list of candidates who are worthy of consideration.

Here's a rundown of who the Orioles could send to the All-Star Game in San Diego, along with their chances of selection, as the Tuesday roster announcement approaches:

Third baseman Manny Machado: The only Oriole seemingly guaranteed of a spot is Machado, who despite a seven-week sojourn back to shortstop is far and away the best third baseman in the AL. The fan voting, which he led all spring, proved that. But in a way, so did his time away from the position.

Machado entered Saturday batting .330/.387/.601 with 18 home runs, 29 doubles and 50 RBIs, and fourth in the AL in wins above replacement (4.1). He is assured of spending his All-Star break in San Diego for his third appearance in the showcase game.

Verdict: Lock

Closer Zach Britton: It's hard to imagine a world where Britton isn't atop the reliever list in the American League.

His 0.81 ERA and league-leading 23 saves in 23 chances entering Saturday prove that. But there are probably dozens of hitters around the league who thought about worthy relievers, cringe at the thought of their at-bats against Britton's high-90s sinker, then wrote the left-hander's name on their ballots.

Verdict: Lock

Outfielder Mark Trumbo: Were Trumbo on the ballot as a designated hitter instead of an outfielder, he might still be a starter through the voting. Tied for the major league home run lead with 23 entering Saturday's games, Trumbo faces some good competition.

He was fifth in fan voting in the last balloting update, and with the hamstring injury to Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who was fourth, Trumbo will likely be the highest nonstarting vote-getter in the outfield. Plus, Major League Baseball will probably want his bat for the Home Run Derby.

Verdict: Near-lock

Catcher Matt Wieters: Two years ago, Wieters needed Tommy John elbow reconstruction and couldn't make what would have been a deserving start in the All-Star Game. He won't start this year — that will go to runaway fan-vote leader Salvador Perez of the Royals — but Wieters has a great shot at completing his comeback fully and earning a fourth All-Star nod.

Wieters entered Saturday batting .274 with nine home runs and a .780 OPS, and tied with Stephen Vogt of the Oakland Athletics for second among AL catchers behind Perez with 1.1 WAR.

Verdict: Near-lock

First baseman Chris Davis: Voters won't see that Davis' 20 home runs entering Saturday came around long fallow periods for the reigning home run king, but that's OK. He's on pace to drive in over 100 runs for a division leader, has led the league in home runs two of the past three years and has the numbers to warrant a spot this year.

Davis trails first basemen Eric Hosmer of the Royals and Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers in the voting, but three first baseman have traditionally made the roster. There's no clear threat to Davis being one of them.

Verdict: Near-lock

Reliever Brad Brach: Brach's case is what makes the All-Star Game interesting, both in a good way and a bad one. There's a fierce contingent of people associated with the Orioles who don't see how a reliever that entered Saturday with a 1.04 ERA and pitches in every role imaginable shouldn't be honored with a bid. There are also large swaths of casual fans who have never heard of Brach, and almost no in-between.

Anywhere between one and three noncloser relievers typically get tapped for the All-Star Game during the player and manager selection process. Yost himself has Kelvin Herrera as a candidate, and Will Harris of the Houston Astros thrived in that role earlier in the season before he became closer.

Verdict: On the fringe

Starter Chris Tillman: At 10-1 with a 3.11 ERA about a week ago, Tillman looked every bit an All-Star for the second time in his career and first time since 2013. In his past two starts, he has allowed 10 runs in 9 2/3 innings to see his ERA inflate to 3.71.

This year hasn't been one where big-name starters have dominated in the AL, but hurlers like Danny Salazar of the Cleveland Indians, Marco Estrada of the Toronto Blue Jays and knuckleballer Steven Wright of the Boston Red Sox have set a standard that few have lived up to.

Verdict: Unlikely, after the past week

Second baseman Jonathan Schoop: Schoop is on pace for a career year, entering Saturday's games batting .300 with 13 home runs and 21 doubles. He'd be even better than that if not for a two-week stretch in April when he was lost at the plate.

Such numbers have been fine for an All-Star spot in the past, but this year's field has Schoop struggling for attention behind Astros star Jose Altuve, Seattle Mariners slugger Robinson Cano, Boston's Dustin Pedroia and even Detroit's Ian Kinsler. This will not be Schoop's year.

Verdict: One year away

jmeoli@baltsun.com

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