Orioles fans have had good reason to look forward to the All-Star Game during each of the past five seasons, with at least three players having made the roster and often one of them getting into the starting lineup. Based on the early voting and early season performance, when this year’s rosters are unveiled, things might not be quite as much fun for Orioles fans.
When you get down to it, voting for the All-Star rosters is nothing more than a popularity contest. Good players on good teams tend to be the most popular. Voting doesn’t even really resemble voting any more, either, ever since MLB decided to turn the whole process into a sponsored, online-only thing that’s more about getting the sponsor’s name in front of people’s eyeballs than picking worthy players for the game.
The Orioles haven’t been all that good since voting opened up for the July 11 game in Miami this year, and neither have the players who you might have expected, based on past success and All-Star selections, to do well in the voting or even lead it.
In the first voting update released by MLB, the Orioles have only one player leading the votes at his position: Manny Machado, whose 369,069 vote total may be doubly nice to the Internet but leaves him with a lead of fewer than 6,000 votes over Twins third baseman Miguel Sano. If Machado’s .210/.292/.415 batting line persists, it’s hard to imagine he’ll stay up top.
The few other Orioles scattered among the top vote-getters in MLB’s first AL vote update:
- Welington Castillo - second among catchers, 339,902 votes, trails Salvador Perez (Royals) by over 80,000
- Adam Jones - seventh among outfielders, 236,481 votes, trails third place Mookie Betts (Red Sox) by over 100,000
- Jonathan Schoop - fifth among second basemen, 149,060 votes, trails leader Starlin Castro (Yankees) by over 350,000
As an Orioles-rooting partisan, I operate under the default position that of course the entire All-Star roster should be Orioles, but it’s a lot easier to make that case when the team is good and many of the players are good too.
That’s just not happening right now, and other than Castillo, it’s hard to argue that anybody of the position players deserves much consideration to be an All-Star starter, or even reserve.
Pitchers, including past All-Stars Zach Britton, Brad Brach, Darren O’Day, and Chris Tillman, aren’t exactly bathing themselves in glory either. Even the best Orioles starting pitcher, Dylan Bundy, is “only” tenth in the American League on the ERA leaderboard with his 2.89. Absent some big change, I won’t be expecting to see any one of them donning an All-Star jersey this season.
Even the non-playoff years of 2013 and 2015 still had five and four Orioles All-Stars, respectively. It was fun while it lasted.
The other position leaders in the AL:
- First base - Miguel Cabrera (Tigers)
- Shortstop - Francisco Lindor (Indians)
- Designated hitter - Nelson Cruz (Mariners)
- Outfield #1 - Mike Trout (Angels) - overall AL vote leader
- Outfield #2 - Aaron Judge (Yankees)
The next vote update will be released around the same time next Tuesday.