Sure, Andrew McCutchen draws the attention of many coaches, players and fans around the league for his incredible talent.
But is he the only player who can represent the Pirates in the 81st Annual Mid-Summer Classic that will take place in Anaheim on July 13th?
The answer is simple.
The Pirates feature one of the best young arms in the league in Evan Meek, whose 0.98 ERA is currently the lowest in the majors. He’s also made a team-high 37 appearances and leads all relievers with 46 innings pitched.
He just came off of a game Thursday in which he held the Phillies to two scoreless innings and, in addition to that, has been charged with just two earned runs in his last 16 games.
Also, at one point earlier in the season (April 11 to May 7), he made 10 straight scoreless appearances over 15 innings pitched. Most importantly, he’s kept the ball in the yard only giving up the long ball twice, which is second on the team to Javier Lopez (1) for pitchers with more than 30 appearances.
For obvious reasons, the majority of national observers expect McCutchen to be the lone Pirates’ representative, with his .300 batting average and 20 stolen bases (2nd in the National League); but with the numbers Meek has put up, I’m now a believer that it may be possible for more than one Bucco to join the All-Stars.
The Pirates haven’t had a reliever represent them in the All-Star game since former closer Mike Williams went back-to-back seasons in 2002 and 2003.
Granted, Williams was a reliable threat in those days. In 2002, he finished third in the National League with 46 saves. But on the other hand, in his All-Star year to follow, he set a record as the only pitcher to ever be selected with an ERA over 6.00.
Meek, in his second full major league campaign, has a 2.80 career ERA and has surpassed his total number of holds (5) from a season ago.
Plus, he’s clearly been one of the few bright spots on a team that is 16.5 games out of first place and 11 games behind .500. That may not help his case to get into the game, but despite that, his own play has been flawless.