06/20/05 12:00 PM ET
Jays need your All-Star vote
Despite elite performances, Toronto could use more votes
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
The Blue Jays still don't have any players cracking the top level in the All-Star balloting, but they do have a few players that have performed on an elite level during the season's first nine weeks.
Shea Hillenbrand, Toronto's designated hitter, best exemplifies that group. Hillenbrand's been an All-Star once before, and he's making another bid with a .306 average and 78 hits in his first 68 games. He's listed on the ballot as a DH, but he's served some time at both infield corners for Toronto.
Orlando Hudson is another one of the team's All-Star hopes, even though his offensive totals don't show it. Hudson's hitting just .238, but he has 25 runs scored and 26 RBIs. The switch-hitter is known more for his defense and may be making a case as the league's best defender at the keystone.
What about the usual suspects? Vernon Wells hit .300 through the first 15 games of June and leads the Jays with 13 homers, but it probably won't be enough to snare an All-Star berth. Corey Koskie, one of the best active players that has never been an All-Star, will miss out again. Koskie is currently on the disabled list and could miss another month of action.
On to the rest of the roster: Outfielder Alex Rios has stepped up his game in recent weeks, but he's playing at one of the AL's deepest 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 .249 with 18 extra-base hits, but he has to contend with players 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, 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 wind up with more than one All-Star.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for mlb.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.