The 2012 MLB All-Star Game is about one month away and while the Pittsburgh Pirates still have 27 regular season games to be played before the All-Star break, it’s not too early to look at which Pirates should represent the team should represent the team July 10 in Kansas City.
Notice I was referring to Pirates a plural as the days of the Bucs having just one representative in the Mid-Summer classic should be over.
Andrew McCutchen should be a lock to go, as should James McDonald, as long as he finished the first half strong. Depending on how the next 27 games play out, pitchers A.J. Burnett and Joel Hanrahan could be possibilities as well.
Don’t forget about Jason Grilli though as he’s as worthy of an All-Star selection as any other Pirates player.
As the Bucs’ set up man, all Grilli has done is post a 1.57 ERA in 23 innings of work. Opposing hitters are hitting a paltry .148 against him and he’s a big reason why the Pirates have the third best bullpen ERA in baseball (2.46). He’s fifth among all major league relievers in strike outs (37, 3rd in NL) and is as reliable as a reliever as there is in the game right now.
Unfortunately for Grilli, set up men usually aren’t noticed that much when it comes to being selected for the All-Star Game, but the job Grilli has done to date is certainly All-Star worthy. The impact he’s had on the Pirates bullpen can’t be measured by numbers and he’s been a big reason why the Bucs currently are in contention in the National League Central.
If the most deserving players always got selected as All-Star’s, then Grilli would be a lock, but we all know that the most deserving guys don’t always get that honor.
In the upcoming weeks, we will start to hear a lot of All-Star talk involving who should make it and who shouldn’t. When you’re having that discussion, don’t forget to bring up Grilli’s name.
He’s as deserving as anyone.