Pittsburgh Pirates’ All-Star Frontrunners
Pittsburgh Pirates' Possible All-Stars
The MLB All-Star game is a tradition that dates back to 1933. That, season the Pittsburgh Pirates sent Pie Traynor and Paul Waner to the Midsummer Classic. This year's game is scheduled to take place at Citi Field on July 16, and the Pirates could have several representatives at the game. The Pirates currently have the second-best record in baseball, just behind the St. Louis Cardinals, and it is the franchise's best through 54 games since 1991. One would think that such a stellar record would be rewarded with some extra All-Star selections.
In five of the last 19 years, the Pirates have only had one player in the All-Star game — the one MLB requires each team to have. Of course, that is what happens when a team has a losing record every season. In 2012, both closer Joel Hanrahan and center fielder Andrew McCutchen were selected. Hanrahan, of course, is now with the Boston Red Sox and McCutchen is a strong candidate to make the team for the third straight year.
Taking a quick look at the stats, there is only one obvious choice for the All-Star game, and we will cover that in our slideshow. None of the hitters are leading the league in the power categories, and no starter is at the top for wins or earned run average, but a deeper look into it all will show that the Pirates have many solid possibilities. Here are my top five choices and if you disagree, feel free to leave your thoughts below.
5. Mark Melancon
Baseball has started to recognize the importance of setup men over he last few seasons and even invited a few to the All-Star game. Melancon could be one of those guys this season.
4. Andrew McCutchen
McCutchen's numbers are down a bit, but his bat is starting to come around. He still has a good shot because he has star power and that will help with the fan vote.
3. Russell Martin
Martin has led the pitching staff brilliantly and his hasn't been that bad with the stick either. He is currently batting .262, a 51-point jump from last season.
2. Starling Marte
Even though Marte has struggled a bit lately, I think he can still make the team. He had a strong start and he still leads the league in stolen bases.
Grilli leads the majors in saves and is a perfect 22 for 22 in save opportunities. He has an earned run average of 1.09 and has 38 strikeouts in 24.2 innings pitched.