With all-star voting ending July 3 at 11:59 p.m. there is not much time left to vote your favorite players into the midsummer classic. In the most recent set of results released by Major League Baseball, Pittsburgh Pirates star Andrew McCutchen leads all National League outfielders by a bit over 4,000 votes, while Neil Walker trails front-runner Chase Utley by almost 900,000 for the starting nod at second base.
While McCutchen figures to be an absolute lock for the game, Walker’s place is still in contention. Presuming that Utley wins the voting portion of the roster that leaves only two spots remaining for second basemen. Walker places second among NL second basemen in home runs, his .272 batting average is troublesome. It is tough to see an all star roster that would leave off Dee Gordon, who is batting .292 with 40 stolen bases. Nor a roster that would not include Daniel Murphy, who is batting .303 and leads the NL in hits with 105.
I think that Walker will ultimately get the nod, however if you want to be sure, it is worth voting for him here.
As for the Pirates pitchers, Arguments have been made for relievers Tony Watson and Mark Melancon. Given how challenging it is for relievers to be selected to the all star game it is hard to see a scenario in which both of them would go. Melancon boasts a 2.33 ERA and has 14 saves, neither of which are leading relievers by any stretch of the imagination. Plain and simple, Melancon is not deserving this year, but Watson is. His 0.96 ERA places him in the upper-echelon of relief pitchers.
There are not enough words to accurately describe how much Watson has meant to the Pirates pitching staff this season. He has been the only consistent pitcher and has spelled the Pirates out of trouble on numerous occasions. Watson has a fairly good chance to be selected by Cardinals and National League manager Mike Matheny and do not forget Pirates manager Clint Hurdle is on the NL coaching staff.
The final Pirates player who is getting all star attention is Josh Harrison. He has been invaluable this season and provided a much needed spark to a season that had already been written off by many as a losing one in late May. Harrison is not entirely worthy of being labeled an all star though. He has been great but with no real position it is tough to place him on a team.
Here is where it gets interesting though. Given the new “importance” on the all star game, home field advantage in the World Series is awarded to the winning league, managers will sometimes stack their roster with players that could come in handy in a late-inning situation. He has experience at almost every position and with a .301 batting average he is not too shabby at the plate either.
There is also potential for Harrison to selected as one of the five to compete in the Final Vote. If that is the case I will vote for Harrison and I would implore you to do the same as well. It would be a fitting for him to be there if not for his surge but for what he has meant to the Pirates. If you think that Harrison is worthy of a bid to the game then vote him in as a write-in here.
Remember, you can vote up to 35 times, and if you select the Pirates as your favorite team you earn a free BOGO coupon for a future game.
As always follow me @aminkoff93 for updates on everything Pirates.