Who should represent the Pittsburgh Pirates at the 2017 All-Star Game.
Which Pittsburgh Pirates’ players are most deserving of bids to this year’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game?
The Major League Baseball All-Star game is rapidly approaching. The fan vote ends on Thursday, and each team must send at least one representative to Marlins Park in Miami for the game on July 11th.
Typically, how many representatives a team gets hinges largely on the success of the team. With the Pirates struggling to keep a .500 pace it is likely the will only get one All-Star. Who this All-Star will be can be debated though.
Josh Bell could state a claim to be an All-Star. Bell is tied for the team led in home runs with 14 and has 34 runs batted in while hitting .233 as of June 27. A rookie spark in his first full season with the club., could draw comparisons to Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger. All have flashed power making them exciting to watch.
Josh Harrison has stayed reliable this season and is a prime candidate to return to the all-star game. Harrison is the Pirates leading hitter with a .291 average. His nine stolen bases on also tops on the team. Additionally, Harrison has seen an increase in power, belting nine home runs this season, against four all of last year. Putting him on pace to beat his career high in homers with 13 back in 2013.
Harrison is a viable option as he compares favorably statistically against the current top five vote receivers at second base. Harrison has a higher batting average than Logan Forsythe and Javier Baez. He has more home runs than Forsythe, Brandon Phillips, and D.J. Lemahieu. His nine stolen bases would give him the most against the current top five vote receivers. Giving Harrison a good shot at representing Pittsburgh.
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Adam Frazier and Andrew McCutchen also deserve looks in the outfield. Frazier is hitting well with one of the team’s highest average at .285 this season. Frazier also has the versatility to play both infield and outfield. While listed as an outfielder on the ballot he could be valuable off the bench in the infield as well.
McCutchen is tied with Bell for the team lead in home runs with 14. Owns the team lead in runs batted in with 44 while hitting .268. While he isn’t the leading outfielder statistically, he does compare favorably against a lot of his completion. Most notable his higher batting average, home run, runs batted in and stolen base total than Jason Heyward of the Cubs. Heyward ranks fourth in the vote among outfielders.
There are two Bucco hurlers having all-star seasons. Ivan Nova leads the way with his 3.06 era and team best seven wins. The 3.06 is Nova’s best career mark. Nova has finished two complete games with a shutout to his credit this season.
From the bullpen, the Pirates best reliever is Felipe Rivero. Rivero has a team low 0.68 ERA. While appearing in a team high 38 games. Rivero holds hitters to a team low .137 batting average. His WHIP of 0.70 is tops on the team. Rivero has been so reliable he was placed in the closer role after the removal of Tony Watson.
The strikeout versus walk numbers have been good to the form of 43:9. Rivero is a big part of the Pirates’ bullpen and is its top performer. I look for Rivero to get the chance to be the Pirates representative. The stats are there as is recent history. Over the past six years, three Pirate relievers were selected for the game. Add Rivero to that list.