One thing is for sure and that’s the day of asking the question of who should be the Pittsburgh Pirates lone All-Star represenative are over.
The Bucs sent three represenatives to the game in 2012 and are in a position to have multipe All-Stars this season as well when the rosters are announced Sunday afternoon. If they do, it will mark the first time the Pirates have had multiple All-Star selections since the 1992 (Barry Bonds and Andy Van Slyke) and 1993 seasons (Van Slyke and Jay Bell).
This year, the Bucs won’t just have players heading to the Mid-Summer’s Classic, but player’s who belong there. There is a difference.
How many All-Star’s will the Bucs get?
They should get four, but ultimately will probably only get three. Here’s a quick look at who should be heading to Kansas City for the All-Star Game on July 10.
Andrew McCutchen: .344 AVG, 15 HR, 51 RBI, 14 SB
Cutch was originally snubbed last season before filling in for Ryan Braun. He’s a lock this season and if he’s left off the roster then they should cancel the game. With Matt Kemp out of the game, McCutchen should realistically be the National League’s starter in center field.
A.J. Burnett: 9-2, 3.31 ERA, 81.2 IP, 69 K, 1.24 WHIP
What a roll Burnett is on, winning eight games in a roll. Take out one bad start against the Cardinals and that ERA and WHIP would be outstanding. Burnett won’t be considered to start the game, but you could make a case that he should.
James McDonald: 7-3, 2.44 ERA, 96.0 IP, 86 K, 0.98 WHIP
J-Mac deserves a spot on the team and should be a lock considering both the way the Pirates have pitched as a team and where they are in the standings. The guy has given up more than three runs in only one start this season. If Tony LaRussa and company reward players for their first half of the season instead of career accomplishments, then McDonald is a no-brainer.
Joel Hanrahan: 3-0, 2.10 ERA, 20 SV, 22 SVO, 30.0 IP, 35 K, 1.04 WHIP
Hanrahan should be headed to his second consecutive All-Star Game after a very strong first half that has him ranked in National League in saves, behind only Craig Kimbrell (22) and Santiago Casilla (21). In addition the league is only hitting .157 against him. Hanrahan could get squezzed out after every team gets a represenative, which often ends up being a closer, but ‘The Hammer,” is certainly having an All-Star season.
Really no other Pirates player will be considered. Jason Grilli is having a great season but middle relievers aren’t sexy picks. Pedro Alvarez is tied for the Major League lead for homers among third basemen, but has no chance at being selected.
Other than that, no other Pirates player belongs in the conversation.
But the Bucs should have a case for a realistic four All-Star’s. We will find out Sunday how it plays out.