O's top hitters up for Aaron Award
Jones, Roberts and Markakis nominated for honor
BALTIMORE -- The nominees are out, and the voting can begin. Adam Jones, Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis have been included in the first stage of balloting for the Hank Aaron Award, and fans can vote to choose who is most worthy.
Jones, Baltimore's lone All-Star this season, has joined Roberts and Markakis in the middle of a potent lineup. That trio has batted 1-2-3 often this season but may be reshuffled in the wake of the Aubrey Huff trade.
The Hank Aaron Award, presented by Sharp, is awarded annually to the best overall offensive performer in each league, with each club having three nominees. This is the seventh consecutive year that fans have had a voice in selecting the award winners.
Fans can vote through Sept. 15 to determine the club nominee, and then voting will be held Sept. 16-30 to select the winner in each league. The winners will be announced during the World Series.
Last year's winners were Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis and Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Originally introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record, the Hank Aaron Award was the first major award to be introduced in 30 years.
Roberts, the second-longest tenured member of the Orioles, is batting .288 this season and is on the verge of setting an interesting footnote in baseball history. The switch-hitter has 45 doubles, and if he reaches 50, he'll be just the fourth player -- along with Tris Speaker, Stan Musial and Paul Waner -- to have three 50-double seasons.
Markakis has reached base safely in 38 straight games, the longest active streak in the Majors. He's also reached base safely in 104 of his 118 games this season, setting a steady presence in the middle of the order. If Markakis and Roberts keep doubling, they could set the highest totals for teammates in baseball history.
Jones, in just his second full season, is beginning to establish himself as one of the most dynamic players in the league. The fleet-footed center fielder has made several highlight-reel plays and has hit 19 home runs this season. Jones has scored 80 runs and driven in 69 through his first 110 games this year.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.