06/13/05 12:00 PM ET
Jays need fans to rock the All-Star vote
Hillenbrand, Hudson, Wells deserving of consideration
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
The All-Star Game keeps drawing closer, but not much has changed for Toronto. The Blue Jays still don't have any players cracking the top level in All-Star balloting, but they do have a few players that have performed on an elite plane during the season's first nine weeks.
The position player who's made the best case for All-Star inclusion is Shea Hillenbrand, Toronto's designated hitter. Hillenbrand's been an All-Star once before, and he's making another bid with a .308 average and 73 hits in his first 63 games. He's listed on the ballot as a DH, but he's served some time at both infield corners for Toronto.
Orlando Hudson's another one of the team's All-Star hopes, even though his offensive totals don't show it. Hudson's hitting just .242, but he has 23 runs scored and 24 RBIs. The switch-hitter is known more for his defense and may be the league's best defender at the keystone.
What about the usual suspects? Vernon Wells hit .333 through the first 10 games of June and leads the Jays with 13 homers, but it probably won't be enough to snare a trip to Detroit. Corey Koskie, one of the best active players that has never played in a Midsummer Classic, will miss it once again this year. Koskie is currently on the disabled list and could miss another month of action.
As for the rest of the roster, outfielder Alex Rios has stepped up his game in recent weeks, but he's playing at one of the American League's most crowded positions. Gregg Zaun has been effective, but his numbers don't scream All-Star. Ditto for Eric Hinske, Toronto's first baseman. He's hit .261 with 17 extra-base hits, but he has to contend with big names like Mark Teixeira and Tino Martinez.
Fans can't vote on pitchers, but the Jays will likely be represented by one of their best arms. Toronto ace Roy Halladay is the most obvious choice, and he's likely a lock for the All-Star Game. The team's respective managers shape the pitching staffs, so the Jays may need some help from the fans to get more than one representative at the All-Star Game.
Voting for this year's contest, which will be played in Detroit on July 12, is ongoing at both bluejays.com and MLB.com.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.