Adam Jones Makes First All-Star Team

Adam Jones is hitting .307/.364/.503 with 12 HR so far this year, and that’s been good enough for him to be named as the O’s lone All-Star representative.  Congrats to Adam on what should be the first of several times on the Midsummer Classic roster appearances.

Jones is only ranked 17th in the AL in Wins Above Replacement among outfielders though, and just 7th among centerfielders (though he is second in the latter group with the bat, to Torii Hunter). He has been the O’s top player thus far (tied with Brad Bergesen and Koji Uehara) so he was probably the right pick considering the stupid “one player from each team” rule. The AL and NL rosters can be found here and here, respectively. The only AL pick I could really argue with was Tim Wakefield (10-3, 4.30 ERA, 4.34 FIP) over a more deserving starter like Cliff Lee (4-7, but with a 3.39 ERA, 3.28 FIP) or Dalles Braden (6-7, 3.13 ERA, 3.45 FIP) or Jared Weaver (8-3, 3.10 ERA, 3.75 FIP). Josh Hamilton and possibly Jason Bay shouldn’t have made it either, but they were both voted in by the fans.

The NL roster has more issues, but I’ll leave that to other bloggers. It is nice to see the guy leading all AL position players in WAR making it.  That would be Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays.  He’s just destroying the ball to the tune of .286/.406/.609, 16 HR, .427 wOBA, with a +10.8 UZR split between (mostly) 2B, SS, and RF. Zobrist came into the 2008 season with 3 longballs in 303 career plate appearances, and he then he suddenly found his power stroke.  What might have looked like a flukey 12 HR in 227 PA in ’08 has been continued this year and then some.  I was a fan of his back when he was putting up .400+ OBPs as a shortstop in the Houston Astros farm system, though I don’t think anyone expected .323 ISOs. Since he has no set position there was really no way for the fans to vote Zobrist into the game, and if Rays manager Joe Maddon wasn’t the one picking the reserves for the All-Star game roster I wonder if Zobrist would have been selected at all. Something else I’m curious about: if the Rays make the playoffs and Zobrist is still the leader in WAR in the AL, does he have a chance at the MVP award despite not being a “star” and playing all over the diamond? How much better would he have to be than the next best guys to actually win it?