We are about halfway to the All-Star break, which has me wondering just how many O’s have a legitimate shot at making this year’s All-Star team. A few names come to my mind right off the bat – Matt Wieters, Zach Britton and Adam Jones. As of right now, all three of these guys have a real case for representing the O’s in the All-Star game. The only problem is that I’m not sure if three O’s will actually be voted on by the fans considering they aren’t as popular on the national stage as a lot of the other teams. But if you look at how these three guys have played so far this season, they all should be in the conversation when the ballots come out. Here’s a look at their numbers so far (all stats are as of 5/19).
.273 BA, 4 HR, 22 RBI
Wieters is the only player on the O’s roster that is almost a definite to make the All-Star team. He ranks close to the top in every offensive category among AL catchers including batting average, home runs, RBIs and doubles. He is batting .552 with RISP, which is the best in the majors, and .563 with RISP and two outs. Offensively, Wieters has really improved himself in every aspect of the game. He looks much more confident at the plate than he did in 2010 when he batted .213 with RISP and .154 with RISP and two outs.
In addition to Wieters playing at a higher level offensively, he is also playing out of his mind behind the plate. He leads the major leagues in caught-stealing percentage at 46% (12-for-26) and makes even the best base stealers in the league think twice about trying to steal. I’m not sure if there is a statistic that calculates how many runners haven’t been able to score as a result of a catcher blocking the plate. But if there was, I’m sure Wieters would be at the top of that list too. In addition, he can call one hell of a game. He has really helped his young starting pitchers mature and is one of the reasons they are doing as well as they are.
5-2, 2.14 ERA, 1.05 WHIP
Britton has been by far the O’s best pitcher this season. He is tied for the team lead and second in the major leagues in wins with five. His 2.14 ERA ranks fifth in the AL and he has only given up 14 earned runs and 43 hits in 59 innings. The only knock on Britton, if you can call it one, is that he doesn’t strike out a lot of batters (33). But even though he doesn’t strike a lot of hitters, he doesn’t walk a lot either (19), so he isn’t giving his opponents free opportunities to score runs. Britton is very efficient for as young as he is, too. He is averaging close to seven innings per start and is throwing about 96 pitches a game in those starts. He will need to keep up with the strong performances if he wants to make the All-Star team, but he’s definitely not far back in the race.
.287 BA, 5 HR, 23 RBI
Jones is having the best season of his career so far at the plate. His .287 batting average ranks third among AL centerfielders and he is batting .419 with RISP. He leads the team in RBIs, runs (21) and OPS (.781) and, besides Wieters, has been the O’s best hitter so far this season. If Jones keeps playing at the level he has been, I don’t see any reason why he won’t make the All-Star team at least as a reserve. There are a few guys that may make it ahead of him as of right now such as Jacoby Ellsbury, Curtis Granderson and possibly Michael Brantley, but Jones should still be in the conversation when the voting begins.
Submitted by Steve Giles