One of the most hotly debated topics in regards to the All- Star game is the rule that every team must have one player in the game. Personally, I am not in favor of this rule, but given the Orioles ineptitude over the last 12 years, this is the only way we get an All-Star. The game is called the All STAR game, so how is a good player on a last place team considered a “Star”. There will likely only be one Oriole All-Star this year, but who will Joe Maddon select? Let the debating begin.
Despite the Orioles being in last place and one of the worst teams in baseball. I believe they have a few players that are worthy of playing in the All- Star game. Adam Jones, Luke Scott, George Sherrill and Brad Bergesen have all had stellar first halves and are definitely the “front runners” to gain All-Star selection. Despite his numbers, which aren’t the best but are still pretty good, Brian Roberts is one of the top three second basemen in the American League. I think he should be a perennial participant in the game but he will not be chosen. The argument could also be made for Nick Markakis but his numbers do not merit selection and he is at a much deeper position in terms of talent then Roberts is.
So of all the players I mentioned, who has the best chance of playing in the “Midsummer Classic”? I think Adam Jones is the most deserving, but his horrendous June and the position he plays could prevent him from being selected.
Jones still leads the team in average and ranks sixth among all American League outfielders with a .30o average. Despite his average, Jones ranks behind the likes of Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye, Nelson Cruz and Ben Zobrist in homers and RBI. If Joe Maddon picks the Oriole he thinks is the team’s best player then Jones will be selected, however if he chooses based on position and numbers then Jones is likely to not get selected.
A few months ago Brad Bergesen wasn’t even in the Orioles rotation let alone being in the conversation to represent them at the All- Star game, but he just might be the person with the best “case” to be the Orioles All-Star. Bergesen is 5-2 with an ERA of 3.53 which ranks him 14th in the league ahead of the likes of CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and John Lester. Bergesen is starting to work his way in the discussion and I would love to see him on the team more then any other Oriole. Bergesen does not have the reputation or “star power” of some of the other pitchers. So for this reason, he is likely not to be chosen, which is one of the problems I have with the All-Star game.
Given numbers, notoriety, position and merit I think the race to be the lone Oriole representative in St.Louis is down to two men: Adam Jones and George Sherrill. Sherrill has 17 saves on the year and is pitching better then he did in the first half of his All-Star campaign last season. Despite blowing three saves on the year, Sherrill is still 6th in the AL in saves. Mariano Rivera, Brian Fuentes, Jonathan Papelbon and Joe Nathan should all be “givens” but Sherrill’s numbers are comparable to all of their numbers so he might just “sneak” his way into the game.
Both Jones and Sherrill are deserving but I think that ultimately Sherrill will get the nod over Jones and make his second straight All- Star selection.
One thing is for sure, if the Orioles continue to lose and not draw any fans, then no Oriole will be “selected” into the All-Star game and the manager will have to select someone.
Hopefully, sooner rather then later, the Orioles will have multiple players playing in the Midsummer Classic, but for now, let the debate rage on.