It’s easy to overlook a team like the Baltimore Orioles who, no matter how much success was had last year, will still be remembered for countless losing seasons. Now that Buck Showalter and the Orioles are putting together back-to-back contending seasons, it is time to start taking them seriously and putting them in talks with one of the league’s toughest teams.
The latest all-star voting numbers have come out, and no changes have been made in the infield of the AL. Chris Davis and J.J Hardy have so far been voted as two starters, with Manny Machado running close at third. There’s reason that the Orioles have one of the best infields—maybe even the best in the MLB.
First Base: Davis has been a treat to watch at first and is proving to be the Orioles’ best option. He was acquired in a trade with Texas, something that the team won’t be regretting any time soon! His league-leading 31 homers through 83 games is an Orioles record and his numbers don’t show any signs of slowing down.
His play on defense can’t be overlooked either. He picks seemingly every ball in the dirt and makes countless diving plays. There’s no reason to say that Davis doesn’t deserve a spot in the 2013 All-star game.
Shortstop: J.J Hardy has quickly emerged as a fan favorite at Camden Yards and is without doubt deserving of the role. His numbers on offense started out pretty slow, but have jumped and evened out over the past two weeks. Hardy is hitting .266 with an impressive 15 homers from the middle of the lineup. Coach Showalter is using him as a power bat at the bottom, and it has been beneficial.
It’s hard to see a shortstop that plays as smooth as Hardy. He’s had countless incredible diving plays, and you’ll find it hard to see him make a bad throw. People don’t think Hardy should make the All-Star game because of his low average with runners in scoring position (.232), but he’s played a huge role on the team and is a sure-fire all-star.
Third Base: You know what the deal is here… Manny Machado! Machado, just 20 years old, is already being compared to Brooks Robinson in Baltimore and has made an enormous impact not only at the plate, but at the hot corner as well. His numbers at the dish are some of the best in the AL, where he leads in doubles, and there is no reason to exclude Machado from the All-star game.
The only reason he won’t be starting is because of Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera is an instant pick, unfortunately for Machado, but that’s no reason for the third baseman to hang his head. He’ll get some playing time in the big game, assuming he gets voted, and will become a staple in the “Harper-Trout” talks.
The only slight weakness in the Baltimore infield is at second base, but it isn’t the worst case scenario. Ryan Flaherty and Alexi Casilla have filled in for Brian Roberts when he was on the DL. Roberts is now back and when he’s healthy, is of all-star caliber. It might not be now, but the second base spot could be one of the strongest in the league by the end of the year.