3 Orioles pitchers who deserve to make the MLB All-Star roster

Two Orioles hitters have secured starting spots in the AL All-Star lineup. Which pitchers will join them in Arlington later this month?
Baltimore Orioles v Seattle Mariners
Baltimore Orioles v Seattle Mariners / Stephen Brashear/GettyImages

This past Wednesday, MLB announced the full slate of starting hitters for both the AL and NL for next week's All-Star game. Two Orioles hitters secured spots in the starting lineup, with catcher Adley Rutschman and shortstop Gunnar Henderson set to head to Arlington later this month.

While the hitters are chosen by MLB's fans, the pitchers are chosen by a combination of the players and the commissioner's office. The league is set to announce the pitchers, as well as the remainder of the reserve hitters, later this afternoon.

Orioles' ace Corbin Burnes will likely be announced as an All-Star

If Orioles' fans could have voted, starter Corbin Burnes would almost certainly have had his ticket punched already. But with the way he's been pitching this year, it seems highly probable that he'll earn his fourth straight All-Star nod anyway.

Burnes has been every bit of the ace the Orioles were hoping for when they traded for him back in early February. The righty has thrown 112.2 innings in 18 starts, pitching to a 2.32 ERA that's been good for third best in MLB.

Burnes has notched 105 strikeouts with just 25 walks, and has done extremely well in limiting hard contact. Burnes' cut fastball has been sharp, but the slider and curve have gone a long way in keeping runs off the board. Batters have hit just .192 off the curve this year, and he's running a 45.4% whiff rate on the slider, which has been a huge out pitch for him so far.

Could Orioles' closer Craig Kimbrel ride a recent hot streak to an All-Star nomination?

In addition to Burnes, closer Craig Kimbrel has done well to quiet his critics this year. If you were to ask any O's fan about Kimbrel, they might say that if the Orioles want to win in October, they need someone more consistent in the back of the bullpen.

But to Kimbrel's credit, he's been unhittable for the past month. He's allowed just 1 earned run since June 1, and is running a 2.16 ERA with a stellar 2.56 FIP to match. With 22 saves under his belt already, he's poised to challenge for 40+ saves for the first time since 2018.

Kimbrel compares favorably to other full-time closers, running a strikeout rate north of 37% while keeping the walks mostly in check. Mason Miller and Emmanuel Clase are on another planet but you can fairly argue that Kimbrel has been a top-5 closer in the AL this year. That should be enough to put him in the conversation for inclusion on the roster.

What would it take to get O's youngster Grayson Rodriguez to Texas?

Grayson Rodriguez likely falls short solely based on the innings gap between him and the group of top pitchers, but he's been a stud for the division-leading Orioles. Rodriguez has thrown 88.2 innings, pitching to a 3.45 ERA along the way with an impressive 10-3 record.

The young righty has shown excellent control of the strike zone and has one of the best changeups in the sport. Batters are whiffing over 35% of the time when Rodriguez throws the change, and they've stumbled to a .169 batting average against the pitch.

Rodriguez is a bit of a long shot to make the All-Star roster this year but with the way he's been pitching, he likely won't be waiting much longer to make his debut in the mid-summer classic.