5 Pittsburgh Pirates Who Deserve to Play in the 2013 MLB All-Star Game
2013 MLB All-Star Game
Okay, the All-Star game. We all know it's not what it used to be. At least anyone who knows what it used to be. And those youngsters who don't or oldsters who just can't remember?
Take my word for it. It ain't what it used to be.
But no matter. It's nearly upon us and any true baseball fan still looks forward to it's annual coming, signifying if anything, the psychological half-way point of any major league baseball season. Mathematically speaking it's 93/162nds of the season so far for Pittsburgh Pirates, but hey, who's counting? After the 4-day break though, everyone will be counting as the Pirates will have just 69 games left to rewrite the last 20 years of dismal team history.
All signs point to them doing so as this year's team continues to improve on what already has been a banner season. No less than 5 current Pirate players have a legitimate shot at making the mid-summer classic this July 16th at Citi Field in Queens, the home of the New York Mets.
Jason Grilli, Pedro Alvarez, Jeff Locke, Andrew McCutchen and Mark Melancon are all worthy elections to the All-Star game this year and have the numbers to prove it. Numbers alone won't get them on the team though, as it often comes down to a manager's decision or an injury that sets the final roster.
But numbers are all we have to make a rational argument, so numbers are what we'll use to state our case for the following five Pirates to make this year's 2013 National League All-Star team.
Stacey Kengal is a writer for RantSports.com covering the Pittsburgh Pirates. Follow him on Twitter @StaceyKengal, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.
No one's been better this season than closing out ballgames than Jason Grilli. His 26 saves lead the NL, and along with his 0.87 WHIP, his relief appearances can be classified as boring. A typical Grilled Cheese save involves nothing more than three opposing batters stepping up to the plate and soon returning dejectedly to the bench to do nothing more than watch their team lose.
A few weeks ago, no one would have thought of Pedro Alvarez as an All-Star. But after going on a month-long tear that included nine home runs, 23 RBI and a .313 BA, the Pirate 3B now leads all others National Leaguers at his position in both home runs and RBI with 19 and 51 respectively. If that doesn't qualify you for an All-Star selection, then nothing does.
Many are no doubt still asking the question, Who is Jeff Locke? The only answer that need be told is he's second among starting pitchers in the NL (by only .01 of a point) to rookie phenom Matt Harvey with a stingy 2.06 ERA. Add to that though opposing batters are hitting only .199 against him and you have a legitimate All-Star that still few too many know about.
Andrew McCutchen's .287 BA is well below his usual .300-plus average we're accustomed to seeing, but his 38 RBI are still best among NL centerfielders. His 83 hits and 15 stolen bases rank second at his position, while defensively his six assists are number one. McCutchen might actually be the weakest Pirate candidate for an All-Star selection due to high expectations, but there's still plenty of time to meet them over the next two weeks.
It's not often a set-up man gets All-Star consideration, but Mark Melancon has been unbelievably good this season. With a 0.94 ERA and 0.89 WHIP, Melancon could be closing for most other teams. While walking only four batters all season, his 39 appearances rank him 3rd among NL relievers. Without Melancon, the Pirates simply would not be where they are today, sporting the best record in all of baseball.