May 19, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Starling Marte (6) celebrates with teammates after defeating the Houston Astros at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Which Pirates Deserve To Be All-Stars This Year?

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All-star voting started very early this year, and while most fans just stuff the ballot box for the players on their favorite teams, some people (including myself) prefer to be a bit more objective with their voting. The All-Star game isn’t a big deal as far as a game goes, and most people can agree with that, but the prestige of being an MLB All-Star is quite the honor, and the players certainly seem to appreciate receiving such awards. So, while trying not to be a total homer, which Pirates deserve to go to the mid-summer classic?

The Easy Choices:

Starling Marte. I’ve had concerns about Marte before, particularly looking at his plate discipline, but there’s not much more you could ask for from a leadoff hitter. Marte is batting .305, with five home runs, and seventeen RBI. He’s covered the vast expanse of left field at PNC like a gold glover. He’s batting an incredible .486 in the first inning this year. If you want to talk about a guy who can instantly jump start an offense at the beginning of the game, you’d be hard pressed to find many better. Marte shouldn’t just be at the game, but he should be in serious considerations for the starting left fielder. Starling Marte: Even atheists believe.

A.J. Burnett. Burnett leads the NL in strikeouts so far with seventy-nine, he has an ERA of 2.57. Burnett has been absolutely stellar so far this year, the only thing that would hold him back from being picked to go to the game would be the fact that he has a record of 3-4 so far, due almost exclusively to the fact that the Pirates have given him so little run support. Burnett might be retiring after this season as well (he mentioned the possibility during spring training), so it would be great to see him get the honor of being at the All-Star game as well.

Mark Melancon. He has an ERA 0f 0.78, is there anything more that needs to be discussed? How about his 9.0 K/9? That’s pretty good too. Or what about his WHIP of 0.783? If there’s a better setup man in baseball this year, I haven’t noticed him yet. His stuff is electric, and he’s been a great return on the Hanrahan trade so far this year.

Jason Grilli. He leads all of the major leagues in saves, his era is a minuscule 0.92 this year, and he’s striking out an astonishing 14.2 batters per nine innings pitched. Grilli is a fan favorite, and as a guy previously known as a journeyman for the rest of his career, it’s great to see him dominating like he is at a later stage in his career.

The Homer Pick:

Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen has been good this year, but has he been good enough to be considered an All-Star? A .280 batting average with six home runs and twenty-three RBI is very good, but is it enough to be an All-Star outfielder in the NL this year? I’m not sure. It may be that because he was so amazing last year, I’m less impressed with some very quality numbers that he’s putting up. It could also be that he really is playing above average baseball, but not elite baseball right now. As the Pirates fan that I am, I’ve voted for him. As a fan of another team? I might not be voting for him. There have been a lot of NL outfielders putting on shows to this point in the season, so my vote might go elsewhere as a fan of another team.

Who are your picks for the All-Star game from the Pirates roster? Did I leave any deserving candidates off of the list? Was I wrong to pick some of the players that I did? Sound off in the comments section.

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