For Orioles fans, there hasn’t been a whole lot worth getting excited about with baseball’s midseason classic for several years, with the team having its one obligatory All-Star and that’s been it every year starting in 2017. That’s finally changed as the team has exploded into season-long playoff contention and has ended up with four All-Stars.
It’s fun to see our guys get that recognition for their individual efforts, and fun that the team has played so well that several players were noticed. Hopefully all of Austin Hays, Adley Rutschman, Félix Bautista, and Yennier Cano have a great time with their All-Star experience.
When and where to watch the game
- Time: 8pm Eastern
- Channel: Fox (Spanish language: Fox Deportes)
Pregame coverage begins at 7pm Eastern, so if you want to get the introduction of the Orioles reserves and clap at your television for them, you’ll want to tune in during the pregame coverage. Fox is determined to make this as unpleasant as possible for Orioles fans with David Ortiz, Derek Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez all being part of the commentary team.
The Orioles in the game
What’s fun about the Orioles quartet of All-Stars is that they’ve each got their own story of how they made it to the big leagues at all, let alone to All-Star status.
No surprise when a recent #1 overall pick becomes an All-Star, right? Actually, even for them, it’s not guaranteed. 2015 #1 Dansby Swanson only made his first All-Star roster last year, and the 2016-18 #1s haven’t done it and don’t look likely to. Rutschman has been pretty much everything you could have wanted from a #1 pick for the first year-plus of his career. With his .376 OBP and 12 home runs, no question he’s been one of the AL’s best catchers this year.
He even got to have fun in the Home Run Derby last night, with his dad pitching batting practice to him, putting on a show even though he lost in the first round by switching from left-handed to right-handed in the middle of his time at the plate. A solid flex in the middle of a respectable performance. He had the third-most home runs of the eight competitors in the first round.
Hays was the Orioles third-round pick in the 2016 draft and he rose rapidly in the Orioles system, eventually becoming the first player from that draft class to make the majors when the O’s called him up straight from Double-A Bowie in what turned out to be an ill-advised desperation move to try to boost that team’s fading September fortunes. It didn’t work.
Due to assorted injuries and poor performance in the subsequent seasons, Hays didn’t end up with a full-time big league role until 2021. Heading into this season, his age 27 season, he had a career OPS of .743. The breakout he’s enjoyed this year was not guaranteed by any means. He is tied for the team lead in bWAR (2.3) at the All-Star break, along side of non-All-Stars Gunnar Henderson and Tyler Wells.
Bautista first pitched as a professional in the Dominican Summer League a decade ago, when he was 18. His original team, the Marlins, let him go after he walked 20 batters in 12.1 innings in 2014. The Orioles picked him up and Bautista didn’t get off the Dominican until 2018, or above the rookie level until 2019, when the Mike Elias development group assigned him to Delmarva.
The same wild, walking guy was still there even two years ago. Bautista had a 5.6 BB/9 in 2019 and 5.8 across three levels in 2021 coming out of the pandemic-canceled minor league season. Yet the O’s and Bautista got something to click heading into last season and suddenly one of baseball’s elite relievers emerged. Though his walk rate is up a little this year, so is his strikeout rate. He’s struck out 41.1% of all MLB batters he’s faced and has a 0.929 WHIP in two seasons.
The 29-year-old Cano is an international player like Bautista whose journey has been much different. Born in Cuba, Cano was banned from playing in his home country, left for Argentina, and eventually signed with the Twins for the 2019 season. Like Bautista, his walk rate was initially crazy, as he walked 14 men in 15 innings in that first American pro season.
He settled down a bit, and in 2022 was rocking a sub-1 WHIP in Triple-A. The Orioles acquired him in the Jorge López trade before last year’s trade deadline. At the time, I thought he was just kind of a throw-in to make the 40-man roster math even. Cano’s command at the MLB level was really, really bad - 16 walks in 18 innings - and so was his 11.50 ERA.
Like Bautista, things got better from the end of one season to the start of the next. Most teams wish they could get a reliever with a 0.837 WHIP. The Orioles having Cano and Bautista has been great.
The starting lineups
- Marcus Semien - 2B
- Shohei Ohtani - DH
- Randy Arozarena - LF
- Corey Seager - SS
- Yandy Díaz - 1B
- Adolis García - RF
- Austin Hays - CF
- Josh Jung - 3B
- Jonah Heim - C
Gerrit Cole was named as the starting pitcher.
- Ronald Acuña Jr. - RF
- Freddie Freeman - 1B
- Mookie Betts - CF
- J.D. Martinez - DH
- Nolan Arenado - 3B
- Luis Arraez - 2B
- Sean Murphy - C
- Corbin Carroll - LF
- Orlando Arcia - SS
National League starting pitcher Zac Gallen is, like the Orioles’ Hays, a 2016 third round pick. So is the catcher, Murphy.
American League position players
Salvador Perez, Adley Rutschman, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Whit Merrifield, Bo Bichette, José Ramírez, Wander Franco, Luis Robert Jr., Kyle Tucker, Julio Rodríguez, Brent Rooker, Yordan Alvarez (will not play)
American League pitchers
Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Nathan Eovaldi, Kevin Gausman, Shane McClanahan (will not pitch), Framber Valdez, Michael Lorenzen, George Kirby, Pablo López, Kenley Jansen, Emmanuel Clase (will not pitch), Félix Bautista, Yennier Cano, Carlos Estévez
National League position players
Will Smith, Elias Díaz, Matt Olson, Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley, Dansby Swanson, Pete Alonso, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Nick Castellanos, Juan Soto, Jorge Soler
National League pitchers
Justin Steele, Mitch Keller, Josiah Gray, Kodai Senga, Alex Cobb, Corbin Burnes, Alexis Díaz, Josh Hader, Camilo Doval, David Bednar, Craig Kimbrel
Will not pitch: Spencer Strider, Bryce Elder, Clayton Kershaw, Marcus Stroman, Devin Williams