Orioles could make MLB and franchise history thanks to fans' All-Star voting

The Orioles landed six players on the final All-Star ballot, moving them one step away from the record books.
Cleveland Guardians v Baltimore Orioles
Cleveland Guardians v Baltimore Orioles / Greg Fiume/GettyImages

With the unveiling of the finalists for the starting position players, including designated hitters, at next month’s All-Star Game, the Orioles are poised to make franchise history. They have an outside chance of landing in the MLB record books.

Six Orioles – Adley Rutschman, Ryan Mountcastle, Jordan Westburg, Gunnar Henderson, Anthony Santander, and Ryan O’Hearn – will vie for spots in the starting lineup when Phase 2 of voting opens on Sunday. If just four of those players win their races, they will match the franchise record for most Baltimore starters at an All-Star Game. In 1970, Jim Palmer, Boog Powell, Davey Johnson, and Frank Robinson took the field together in the Midsummer Classic. This historic moment, though, should come with an asterisk; Johnson was filling in for the first choice at second base, Rod Carew, who was injured.

The franchise mark notably includes Palmer, a pitcher. The manager selects the starting pitcher, and the Rangers’ Bruce Bochy is at the helm of the AL squad in 2024. While Corbin Burnes has been outstanding in his first season in Baltimore and will likely earn an All-Star nod, he will face stiff competition from Detroit’s Tarik Skubal and Boston’s Tanner Houck for starting duties.

With fan support, the Orioles have a chance to make MLB All-Star Game history in 2024.

In the admittedly unlikely event that all six players on the voting ballot win their head-to-head matchups, the Orioles will break the record for most position player starters in a single All-Star Game. Five teams, including the 2023 Rangers, have claimed five spots in the starting lineup.

The record for most All-Star selections, including non-starters, is nine, most recently accomplished by the 1959 Yankees. Even if Burnes and Craig Kimbrel land on the roster, this feat seems difficult for the Orioles to accomplish. In the expansion era, each All-Star team consists of 32 players, and each of the league’s 15 teams must send at least one player. For a single team to capture nine of the remaining 18 slots would be astounding.

Still, a number of the Orioles’ eligible position players have a strong change. Rutschman and Henderson landed in the top four among AL vote-getters, surpassing 2.5 million votes apiece. Rutschman fell short in the Phase 2 voting last year but seems a runaway candidate to beat Kansas City’s Salvador Perez. Henderson faces tough competition from Bobby Witt Jr., but his historic season thus far, which has earned comparisons to Hall of Famers, should give him a healthy boost.

Mountcastle may be a toss-up against his competition, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Guerrero had a massive May after a slow start to the season, but his June numbers have been a bit more up-and-down. Although he has hit six homers this month, Guerrero’s batting average on balls in play has regressed considerably, falling from .413 to .293.

Westburg, Santander and O’Hearn will need significant fan support to earn a starting nod. Westburg faces Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez, a former MVP and five-time All-Star. The Guardians are surging at the moment, and Ramirez seems to have found his power once again, slugging .539. Santander is up for one of the two outfield spots available, since Aaron Judge won the popular vote and is guaranteed a position in the lineup. He’ll have to supplant either a slugger (Juan Soto) and a guy who could legitimately make a run at a .400 average (Steven Kwan). O’Hearn’s surface numbers are not quite as astonishing as what Yordan Alvarez has posted; the fearsome Astro has 16 homers compared to O’Hearn’s 10.

Regardless of how the fan vote turns out, the Orioles have something to crow about. They landed more players on the Phase 2 ballot than any other AL team, even the hated Yankees. With New York and Baltimore deadlocked in the division, a small win such as this is still a point of pride.