Orioles should have more than one all-star

Since 2006, the Baltimore Orioles have had just one All-Star, each year sending their one obligatory representative to the Midsummer Classic every July.

Some years the player truly deserved to be an all-star (George Sherrill in 2008), while other selections were more questionable (Ty Wigginton in 2010) and made the game only because a player from each team is required to be on each league's roster.

But this season, the Orioles have a realistic chance of having more than one player in Kansas City for the July 10 All-Star Game.

The last time Baltimore had more than one was in 2005, when Brian Roberts and Miguel Tejada were voted into the game, and Melvin Mora and B.J. Ryan were selected as reserves.

The 2012 Orioles have been a surprise team in the first half of the season, and the AL All-Star team should reflect that when selections are made tonight.


Adam Jones. The Orioles' center fielder has had a breakout season in 2012, and performed well enough to earn a six-year, $85.5 million extension in May.

Jones was an All-Star in 2009, but did not have the same type of numbers that he has this year.

Going into the weekend, Jones led the O's in batting average (.295), home runs (19), RBIs (41) and runs scored (49).

Adam Jones may not be voted in, as he was fifth in outfield voting at the last update, but should be selected as a reserve.

Jim Johnson. The Orioles' closer has had a career year in 2012, converting 22 of his 23 save opportunities with a 1.07 ERA entering the weekend.

Prior to this season, Johnson had just 21 saves, and had served primarily as the team's set-up man in recent years. Johnson has provided stability to a position where the Orioles have had failed experiments such as Kevin Gregg and Michael Gonzalez in recent years.


Good candidate

Jason Hammel. Hammel has taken over the role of Orioles ace this season, after being acquired along with Matt Lindstrom for Jeremy Guthrie in the offseason.

With an 8-3 record and 3.29 ERA, Hammel has shown that he can be a dominant starter in the tough AL East.

Hammel pitched a one-hit shutout against the Atlanta Braves on June 16 and followed that with eight inning of no earned runs in beating the Washington Nationals. But he got bombed by the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, which could hurt him as it's always questionable how many pitchers will make the team, and the AL is loaded with talented hurlers.

Likely left off

Wei-Yin Chen. Chen has been the most surprising starter in the Orioles staff, as many hitters have not known what to expect from the 26-year-old rookie, going 7-4 with a 3.73 ERA.

The Taiwanese lefty has given up two earned runs or fewer in 10 of his 15 starts, and pitched seven shutout innings in Atlanta on June 17. But he gave up six earned runs on Thursday night against the Indians, and there are many talented AL pitchers.

Matt Wieters. The Orioles' 2011 All-Star has had a solid first half to his 2012 campaign, hitting .250 with 10 homers and 34 RBIs while continuing to gun down baserunners.

However, Wieters has already set a career-high in errors (seven). With Mike Napoli most likely getting voted in, and Joe Mauer likely to be the Twins' lone representative, it is likely that Wieters will be left on the outside looking in.


Not this year

J.J. Hardy. The Orioles' shortstop has been great defensively, has good power for the position with 12 homers, and was third in voting for shortstops in the last update.

But Hardy's paltry .243 average and recent 4-for-41 slump will keep him off the All-Star team.

Robert Andino. Andino was fifth in voting for second basemen in the last update, but much of that was probably from his new-found popularity after "The Curse of the Andino." He has lost playing time with Brian Roberts' return, hit poorly, and struck out a ton.

Nick Markakis. Despite having his hamate bone removed and not playing since May 29, Markakis continued to receive votes and was 13th for outfielders in the final voting update. However, Markakis has not played enough or well enough (.256 average) to even be considered.

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