Major League Baseball announced today that Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen, Gerrit Cole, A.J. Burnett and Mark Melancon have been named to the National League All-Star team for this year's All-Star Game in Cincinnati. This is the fifth straight year the Pirates will send multiple representatives to the Midsummer Classic and the first since a 12-year run of multiple representatives from 1958 to 1969.
This is the fifth consecutive time McCutchen has been named to the All-Star team. He is the first Pirates position player to be named to five straight Midsummer Classics since Roberto Clemente was selected to eight consecutive All-Star Games from 1960-1967. The only other players in team history to be named to at least five All-Star teams were Hall-of-Famers Roberto Clemente (12 times), Arky Vaughan (eight times), Willie Stargell and Bill Mazeroski (seven times each) and Ralph Kiner (five times).
Since McCutchen's first All-Star season in 2011, he ranks first among all National League players in doubles (161), second in hits (784) and extra base hits (295), third in on-base percentage (.394) and RBI (403), fourth in batting average (.304), fifth in slugging percentage (.512) and home runs (110) and sixth in OPS (.906) The 28-year-old McCutchen was selected to this year's contest by the players.
The selections of Cole and Burnett will give the Pirates two starting pitchers in the Midsummer Classic for the first time since 1960 when Bob Friend and Vernon Law were two of a Pirates-record eight All-Stars.
Gerrit Cole enters today ranked first in the league in wins (12), fifth in ERA (2.28) and sixth in strikeouts (113). He is tied with Ken Brett (12 in 1974), ElRoy Face (12 in 1959) and Rip Sewell (12 in 1943) for the second-most wins prior to the All-Star break in Pirates history (Dock Ellis owns the club record with 14 wins prior to the 1971 All-Star break). At 24-years-and-309 days old next Tuesday, Cole will be the second-youngest pitcher to ever represent the Pirates in the All-Star Game (John Candelaria was 23-years-and-25 days old in 1977). Cole was selected by the players.
A.J. Burnett has been named to the All-Star team for the first time in his 17-year big league career. He enters today ranked third in the National League in ERA (2.05) and tied for seventh in winning percentage (.700, 7-3 record). The 38-year-old Burnett is the oldest Pirate to be named to the All-Star team since Rick Reuschel represented Pittsburgh at the 1987 All-Star Game at 38-years-old. Burnett, who was selected to the team by National League manager Bruce Bochy, enters today ranked 36th on the all-time Major League list for strikeouts (2460), one behind Jim Kaat, who ranks 35th with 2461 punchouts. He also ranks fifth among active pitchers in wins (162) and second in strikeouts behind CC Sabathia (2520).
Mark Melancon has been named to the All-Star team for the second time in three seasons (also 2013) as a member of the Pirates. He enters today with a National-League leading 27 saves. He would become just the third Pirate along with Dave Giusti in 1971 (19) and Jason Grilli in 2013 (29) to be tied or leading the league in saves at the All-Star break since saves became an official statistic in 1969. Melancon was elected by way of the players. He is also two saves shy of tying Jason Grilli's club record for saves prior to the All-Star break (29 in 2013).
Since the beginning of the 2013 season when he was acquired by the Pirates, Melancon's 1.63 ERA is the third-lowest in the Majors among relief pitchers, trailing only Wade Davis (0.76) and Greg Holland (1.54).