Welcome to the Tap Room. I’m pushing the Canadian beer in non-throwable cans today. You may want to partake.
The question I’m pushing is sort of timely. Tonight at 11:59 p.m., Major League Baseball halts its voting for the 2017 All-Star Game. On Sunday at 7 p.m., the rosters for both teams will be announced on ESPN.
For the first time since 2011, the Orioles may land only one player on the American League team. They certainly won’t get a starter. Manny Machado was fifth among AL third baseman in the most recent vote released this week while Welington Castillo was fourth among AL catchers. No other Oriole was in the Top 5 of the positional voting.
The question now is, who will be the Orioles’ All-Star?
About two weeks ago I thought it might be Castillo. He has good numbers, catcher is never a particularly deep position and no other Oriole was soaring above others at their respective positions.
But both second baseman Jonathan Schoop and first baseman/outfielder Trey Mancini have raised their already solid games recently. And so I’ve reconsidered my guess, with apologies to Castillo.
Houston’s Jose Altuve should start at second base – and that’s earned – but Schoop’s numbers are right there in arguably the deepest position in the AL. He’s leading second baseman in homers and has made a case that he deserves a nod over (or at least alongside) such stars as Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia and the injured Starlin Castro.
Mancini is arguably having the best campaign of any AL rookie not named Aaron Judge. Plus, he has position flexibility. He can be used at first base or outfield, which may give him an advantage if the final few roster spots come down to position.
Along with Castillo, I guess we need to throw in starter Dylan Bundy and de facto closer Brad Brach for consideration. But I think they are longshots.
It is possible the Orioles get two All-Stars, but given the team’s mediocre play, I’d be somewhat surprised if that happens.
Here’s my guess: I say Schoop, who has been an emerging player for a couple seasons now, will get his due. And everyone in the Orioles’ clubhouse will be thrilled for the likable and hard-working Curacao native.
And then I’m going to say that Mancini will also be recognized for his impressive rookie contribution with a spot in the “Final Vote,” competition, which allows fans to select one more player to make each league’s team.
It also wouldn’t surprise me if Mancini makes the team and Schoop ends up in the “Final Vote.”
Now, it’s time for your prediction.
Tap-In Question: Who do you think will represent the Orioles in the 2017 All-Star Game?