The Orioles' All-Star

When the All-Star game reserves are announced on Sunday, my guess is that Adam Jones will be selected to the American League team for the second time.

He would be my pick and, in my opinion, has been the Orioles' best player this year.

Until I looked it up, I almost forgot he hit just .218 in April. But in May and June, Jones hit .313 with an OPS around .850.

On the year, in 78 games, he is batting .286 with 15 doubles, 13 homers, 46 RBIs and an .801 OPS. Sure he could still draw more walks, he has just 18 and steal more bases, he has just six.

He is batting .304 with an .869 OPS with runners in scoring position.

For the most part, save for that throw home the other night, his defensive game has been sound. The one catch he made with his back to the infield was the best I've seen by anyone this year.

I can remember Jones talking about wanting to become a leader on this team two years ago, but it wasn't his time then and he probably wasn't ready. His leadership skills are emerging this year.

He never makes an excuse and always seem to take accountability with a few words like "we just didn't get it done." Some nights, what else is there to say?

I think a message was delivered to Jones that if you want to be a leader and a key guy on this team, you have to play hard every night. You can't ask a teammate to do anything you won't. He has played hard every night. And he has played well most nights.

Jones told me recently he had a nice vacation planned for South Beach during the All-Star break. I think he may have to change those plans.

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