Baseball fans (and presumably not just Baltimore ones) have voted in three Orioles to the starting lineup of the American League All-Star Team. Chris Davis earns the nod at 1B, J.J. Hardy will take the field at SS, and Adam Jones will start somewhere in the OF, probably, but not assuredly at CF. Manny Machado was also selected as a reserve.
THE ORIOLES STARTERS
Chris Davis, Orioles (1B) - Thesuarus.com lists 90 synonyms for the word "great". It’s not enough for Chris Davis’ 2013 season. He leads MLB in home runs. He leads MLB in slugging percentage. He leads MLB in total bases. He’s second in the AL in batting average, second in the AL on-base percentage, second in the AL in runs scored, second in the AL in runs batted in, and second in the AL in Baseball-Reference’s Offensive WAR. We’re talking about a hitter who’s struck out 95 times (sixth highest in the AL) and still is second in the league in OBP. He was the leading All-Star vote recipient across both leagues. Given the stats and his popularity, no sane individual could have argued against his starting. It will be Davis’ first All-Star team appearance.
Adam Jones, Orioles (OF) – We know Adam Jones’ flaws by heart. He swings and misses at too many breaking balls low and away. He plays too shallow. He’s 30th in FanGraph’s UZR American League outfielder listings. He went 182 plate appearances without a walk between May 18 and Thursday’s night’s free pass. But you know what? Adam Jones is really, really good. He’s 3rd among AL outfielders for hits, 4th in SLG, 6th in batting average, and 6th in HR. Is he the best OF in the American League? No one will argue that. Is he one of the best three? Quite possibly. And with 4.2 million votes, he had two million more votes than the next most popular outfielder going into the weekend. Worthy or not, it’s not like this was close. It will be Jones’ third All-Star team appearance, but his first starting.
J.J. Hardy, Orioles (SS) - Hardy is here because Baltimore fans are generous people and love defense. It’s not for his batting average of .256 or his sub-.300 OBP. But oh my, that glove. Hardy ranks 2nd on the Baseball-Reference.com list for Defensive WAR, although Fangraphs has him at just 7th in UZR (their preferred measurement of defense). He has the 8th highest OBP in the AL among shortstops. But his 15 HR are more than double the next AL shortstop, and his SLG of .439 is second in the league. So, maybe chicks (and dudes) loved the long ball enough to justify clicking on Hardy. Stranger things have happened. It will be Hardy’s second All-Star team appearance, and his first in the American League.
THE REST OF THE STARTERS
Robinson Cano, Yankees (2B) – He doesn’t lead AL 2B in WAR (that would be Dustin Pedroia), average (Pedroia, again), slugging (that’s Jason Kipnis) or OPS (Kipnis, again). Fangraphs thinks he’s the worst defensive 2B among the nine who qualify in the AL. But he’s your AL starting 2B, beating out Dustin Pedroia handily in the fan vote for the starting nod. Based on WAR, it should have been Pedroia, based on most stats, it should have been Kipnis, but Cano it is.
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (3B) – He may have falling-down range at best at the hot corner, but when you bat .361 over the first half, no one cares. Cabrera is on pace for a second AL MVP award, and if not for Chris Davis, he’d be looking at a second Triple Crown as well. Manny Machado has more WAR (at least, when using the Baseball-Reference.com version), and is a much, much, much better fielder, but honestly, the fans got this one right. Cabrera is a generational talent with a bat in his hands.
Joe Mauer, Twins (CA) – He’s leading catchers in the AL in average, OBP, and WAR. His 100 hits (after Friday’s games) are 21 more than the next catcher. FanGraphs has him as the 2nd best defensive catcher in the league. He’s the catcher who should be starting, and the fans made it so.
David Ortiz, Red Sox (DH) – Only six DHs have batted enough times in the AL to qualify for leaderboards, and this wasn’t an especially tough choice for fans. Ortiz leads in every stat category except hits, and that includes stolen bases. Seriously, he leads in AL DHs in stolen bases. (You can look it up!) He’s putting up a typical Big Papi season, and starts the All-Star Game as a result.
Mike Trout, Angels (OF) – He leads AL OF in average, on-base percentage, slugging, OPS and WAR. That’s not a bad year. Defense? Not so much. dWAR hates him, though, ranking him 53rd of 54 in the AL among all players who’ve played CF this season for even one game. He doesn’t fare much better at FanGraphs. Among AL CF who’ve played at least 10 innings, he’s 33rd. But he’s not getting elected for his defense, he’s getting elected for his bat.
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays (OF) – Barely edging out Nick Markakis for the starting nod (and I do mean barely), the former Oriole had become a bête noir with O’s fans for his antics toward Darren O’Day. And let’s get this out of the way – he deserves to be here. He’s second in among AL OF in WAR (Fangraphs and B-R agree), 2nd in OPS, 3rd in SLG, 3rd in HR, and 4th in OBP. His batting average isn’t much to write home about – just .267 – but the man gets on base and hits some homers, too.
THE AMERICAN LEAGUE RESERVES
Manny Machado, Orioles (3B) - He leads MLB in doubles, third among AL 3B in batting average, and while he's just 6th in OPS using B-R.com among AL 3B, he's leading the AL in WAR using B-R.com. Not shabby for someone who just turned 21 today.
|AL STARTERS||NL STARTERS|
|CA - Joe Mauer, Boston||CA - Yadier Molina (STL)|
|1B - Chris Davis, Baltimore||1B - Joey Votto (CIN)|
|2B - Robinson Cano, New York||2B - Brandon Phillips (CIN)|
|SS - JJ Hardy, Baltimore||SS - Troy Tulowitzki (COL)|
|3B - Miguel Cabrera, Detroit||3B - David Wright (NYM)|
|OF - Adam Jones, Baltimore||OF - Carlos Beltran (STL)|
|OF - Mike Trout, Los Angeles||OF - Carlos Gonzalez (COL)|
|OF - Jose Bautista, Toronto||OF - Bryce Harper (WAS)|
|DH - David Ortiz, Boston|
|AL PITCHERS||NL PITCHERS|
|Clay Buchholz, Boston||Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles|
|Brett Cecil, Toronto||Patrick Corbin, Arizona|
|Bartolo Colon, Oakland||Matt Harvey, New York|
|Jesse Crain, Chicago||Adam Wainwright, St. Louis|
|Yu Darvish, Texas||Jason Grilli, Pittsburgh|
|Felix Hernandez, Seattle||Jordan Zimmermann, Washington|
|Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle||Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta|
|Justin Masterson, Cleveland||Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati|
|Glen Perkins, Minnesota||Travis Wood, Chicago|
|Joe Nathan, Minnesota||Jose Fernandez, Miami|
|Mariano Rivera, New York||Cliff Lee, Philadelphia|
|Chris Sale, Chiacgo||Jeff Locke, Pittsburgh|
|Max Scherzer, Detroit||Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco|
|Justin Verlander, Detroit|
|AL RESERVES||NL RESERVES|
|C - Jason Castro, Houston||CA - Buster Posey, San Francisco|
|C - Salvador Perez, Kansas City||1B - Allen Craig, St. Louis|
|1B- Prince Fielder, Detroit||1B - Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona|
|2B - Dustin Pedroia, Boston||2B - Matt Carpenter, St. Louis|
|2B - Jason Kipnis, Cleveland||2B - Marco Scutaro, San Francisco|
|SS - Jhonny Peralta, Detroit||SS - Everth Cabrera, San Diego|
|3B - Manny Machado, Orioles||SS - Jean Segura, Milwaukee|
|UTL - Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay||3B - Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh|
|OF - Nelson Cruz, Texas||OF - Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh|
|OF - Torii Hunter, Detroit||OF - Domonic Brown, Philadelphia|
|OF - Alex Gordon, Kansas City||OF - Michael Cuddyer, Colorado|
|DH - Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto||OF - Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee|
|AL FINAL FIVE CHOICES||NL FINAL FIVE CHOICES|
|P Joaquin Benoit, Detroit||SS - Ian Desmond, Washington|
|P Steve Delabar, Toronto||1B - Freddie Freeman, Atlanta|
|P David Robertson, New York||1B - Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles|
|P Tanner Scheppers, TExas||OF - Hunter Pence, San Francisco|
|P Koji Uehara, Boston||OF - Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles|
So, in all, the 2013 Baltimore Orioles have three starters, and one named as a reserve. That’s a long way from sending Ty Wigginton as the team’s sole representative (and as a reserve to boot) a mere three years ago. Just another perk of rooting for a winning team.