They say three is a crowd, but when that crowd consists of All Stars, then that’s a pretty darn good crowd! On Sunday, the Baltimore Orioles found out that they will send at least three players to Kansas City for the 2012 All Star Game, and possibly a fourth.
Baltimore has not sent more than one player to the All Star Game since 2005. Catcher Matt Wieters, outfielder Adam Jones, and pitcher Jim Johnson will be representing the Orange and Black, with the possibility of pitcher Jason Hammel also joining them.
Jones has had himself a monster first half. Currently, Jones is hitting .302 with 19 home runs, 42 runs batted in, and 11 swiped bases, all of which lead the team. He has also scored a team-high 52 runs. Among American League centerfielders, Jones ranks third in home runs, behind Josh Hamilton and Curtis Granderson. His 94 hits leads all AL centerfielders.
Matt Wieters has been having a decent first half to his 2012 season. The reigning AL Gold Glove winner is currently hitting .249, with 11 home runs and 38 runs batted in. His 14 doubles ranks second amongst AL catchers behind Joe Mauer from Minnesota.
Jim Johnson has been having a marvelous first half. Thanks to his league-leading 23 saves, JJ has helped Baltimore fans forget about Mike Gonzalez and Kevin Gregg. Johnson has a stingy 1.30 ERA so far to go along with his 0.78 WHIP. What is equally impressive is that hitters are batting only .154 against him.
Before I get into Hammel, I would like to apologize for comments I made earlier about him when Dan Duquette traded Jeremy Guthrie for Hammel and Matt Lindstrom. I was okay with trading Guthrie, but I felt they should have waited to get more value for him closer to the trade deadline.
Well, what they got in Hammel is a starting pitcher who has gone 8-3 in his first season as an Oriole, with a 3.29 ERA. Hammel has been consistent all season, and has even tossed two one-hitters. This crow I’m eating doesn’t taste all that good.
Hammel isn’t in the game yet, but he is among five finalists for the fans to vote in. He will be up against Jake Peavy, Ernesto Frieri, Jonathan Broxton, and Yu Darvish.
O’s fans, go to MLB.com to put your vote in and let’s send four O’s to Kansas City!
by Andy Mindzak