4 former Pirates who could be first-time All-Stars in 2024

May 19, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Trevor Williams (32) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
May 19, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Trevor Williams (32) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

As the calendar turns to June, we inch closer and closer to next month's All-Star festivities in Arlington, Texas. Every team will have at least one player represented at the All-Star Game, and most of the Pirates' more probable candidates (Jared Jones, Paul Skenes, Bailey Falter, Connor Joe, Colin Holderman) would all be first-time All-Stars.

That left me wondering - how many former Pirates fall into that category? While it's obviously too early to tell which players will be selected or voted in and whose hot starts will hold up for another month, it's not too early to have that discussion.

In honor of the All-Star fan ballot opening up today, here are four former Pittsburgh Pirates who have never made an All-Star team who could be on track to do so in 2024:

Tyler Glasnow

Admittedly, Glasnow wasn't on my radar going into this; I assumed he had made at least one All-Star team at some point in his first eight MLB seasons. But alas, that was not the case, as Glasnow spent an unfortunate amount of that time on the IL with various injuries.

Now in his first season with the Dodgers, Glasnow is healthy and appears to be worth every penny of the $135 million extension he received. After Tuesday's tough-luck loss against the Pirates, his 13th start of the season, Glasnow has excellent numbers, including a 2.93 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 2.70 FIP, and an MLB-best 104 strikeouts, making him the only pitcher currently above the 100-strikeout threshold.

The Dodgers won't have any shortage of All-Stars this year - the trio of Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, and Freddie Freeman almost certainly will win the fan vote at their respective positions, and Will Smith and Yoshinobu Yamamoto have strong cases as well. Glasnow getting the nod would not be out of necessity, but he has more than earned the call, and might even get to start the game on the mound.

Trevor Williams

Williams spent five seasons in Pittsburgh, headlined by a 2018 campaign in which he posted a 3.11 ERA in 170.2 innings pitched. He was on another level during a 12-start span from July to September of that year, during which his ERA was a sparkling 1.00 and opponents could only muster a .537 OPS against him.

While he hasn't quite been able to replicate that type of performance, he is still off to an outstanding start to the 2024 season. In 11 starts, Williams is 5-0 with a 2.22 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 2.78 FIP. He currently sports a career-best home run rate (0.9%) and his best groundball rate (45.3%) since his first full season in 2017.

Williams has thrown scoreless outings against the top-scoring offense in the league (the Orioles) and the defending World Series champions (the Rangers), and his latest outing saw him allow just one run across 5.2 innings against the high-powered Braves. The Nationals are 9-2 when Williams pitches and 18-31 in all other games.

Unfortunately, Williams just hit the Injured List with a strained flexor muscle in his pitching arm, which will sideline him for at least a few weeks. While it's uncertain whether or not he will be able to return before the All-Star break, his performance so far might be enough for him to be chosen to be the Nationals' representative.

Jameson Taillon

Taillon also has yet to earn an All-Star bid, despite being the #2 selection in the 2010 draft and posting a 3.67 ERA across his four seasons in Pittsburgh. He is two years into a four-year, $68 million contract with the Chicago Cubs.

He's started eight games this season, and he's off to a much better start than he was last year - Taillon's ERA currently sits at 2.84. Through eight starts last year, his ERA was an abysmal 8.04, and the Cubs lost each of those games. His strikeouts are down (15.4%, 5.9 K/9), which explains his FIP being a bit higher at 4.10.

Still, a 2.84 ERA is an impressive figure, and that comes on the heels of a matchup tonight with the lowly White Sox. The good news for Taillon is that only six qualified NL starting pitchers have an ERA lower than his. What doesn't bode as well for him is that two of them are his teammates, Shota Imanaga and Javier Assad, which decreases his chances of receiving an All-Star selection. Nonetheless, Taillon is having a fine season and, unless the production tapers off, he should garner consideration.

Jose Soriano

This one's a bit of a wild card, as Soriano never ended up playing for the Pirates. The Bucs selected him from the Angels with the first pick of the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, ahead of the likes of Akil Baddoo, Garrett Whitlock, and Trevor Stephan. Soriano was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery at the time, but was designated for assignment after undergoing another surgery and then returned to the Angels.

Soriano battled back and debuted last year and showed promise. In 38 relief appearances, he had 3.64 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, and an excellent 30.3% strikeout rate. This prompted the Angels to move him into their starting rotation this spring, and that decision is paying off.

In 12 appearances (10 starts), Soriano is a misleading 2-5, but with an ERA of 3.86 and a WHIP of 1.22. His FIP sits at an encouraging 3.89, and while he isn't striking out as many batters (22%), he is doing a better job at limiting walks (10.2%, a full walk per nine below his rate as a reliever in 2023).

Soriano has been a steady presence for an Angels team that badly needs one, and with Shohei Ohtani on the other side of town and Mike Trout once again on the shelf, somebody is going to have to represent them at the All-Star Game in Arlington. That just might be Jose Soriano.