No-Star selection of Jones is clearly out of left field

Roch's Rant

June 13, 2008|By ROCH KUBATKO

This is more of a mild protest over a slight irritant, but it'll do in a pinch.

Jon Heyman of SI.com came out with a list of No-Stars earlier this week that paid tribute to players who shouldn't be allowed to punch an All-Star ballot, let alone play in next month's game.

He puts together a pretty unimpressive rotation, with the likes of the Detroit Tigers' Justin Verlander and Nate Robertson, Seattle Mariners' Carlos Silva and Jarrod Washburn and Minnesota Twins' Boof Bonser - who should at least get some credit for having the most creative name of the bunch. And there's no arguing Mariners first baseman Richie Sexson and third baseman Adrian Beltre. No wonder Seattle has the worst record in baseball, and a clubhouse that's one spark - or even a hot towel - away from imploding.

But Heyman's outfield includes young Orioles center fielder Adam Jones. Hey, man! Jones began last night batting .252 with 13 doubles, two triples, four homers and 26 RBIs. He has also been playing Gold Glove-caliber defense, with a few spectacular grabs and others that were made routine only because of his tremendous instincts and athleticism.

Jones is 22 and still tapping into his vast potential at the highest level. Even Heyman notes that Jones is "learning on the job." So does he really deserve to be included among the "worst of the worst," as Heyman describes the players who constitute the two teams?

Maybe it's because Jones came to Baltimore accompanied by so much hype that he needed an extra suitcase to carry it. He was the centerpiece of the Erik Bedard deal, the can't-miss, five-tool superstar in the making. But he's still raw in some areas. He's not supposed to be Willie Mays this season. Give him time.

Nick Swisher is hitting .223 for the Chicago White Sox. He would be a better choice. Or perhaps a trade can be worked out where Corey Patterson returns here. At least that way, an Orioles center fielder would deservedly make the list.

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