Congratulations to Adam Jones, who yesterday was selected by Rays manager Joe Maddon as the Orioles' sole representative in next week's All-Star Game. With the home team having been down in the dumps for a dozen years now, most of us are resigned to having just one of our O's on the 33-man American League roster. But this is no Cal Ripken, Jr. reputation pick, nor is it a Tony Batista "Gotta Pick Somebody" selection. Even after a rough June brought his numbers down to Earth a bit, Dr. Jones still looks like one of the breakout players of 2009. He's leading the Birds with a .308 batting average, and his 12 home runs are already three more than he hit all of last season. His center field defense continues to improve on a daily basis, as his five assists suggest.
But most encouraging of all, Adam is still a few weeks away from his 24th birthday. Things should only get better in the coming years. Also, if you're keeping count, the O's have now gotten two All-Star appearances out of last year's Erik Bedard trade; closer George Sherrill was the club's sole representative in 2008, and has actually had a better first half this season. A third player, Kam Mickolio, will get a chance to bolster the Baltimore bullpen following today's promotion from AAA Norfolk. Of course, there's still a large amount of buzz surrounding pitching prospect Chris Tillman, who has a 2.69 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings with the Tides and is rumored to be joining the big league club shortly. This isn't the first time I've talked about the Bedard Trade (which, as some have pointed out, has quickly become the Adam Jones Trade), and it certainly won't be the last time. I'll do anything to supplant the painful memories of Glenn Davis, after all.