With the 2013 MLB All-Star Game rosters finally revealed, some pitchers might be staring at the selections in disbelief.
The MLB tweeted both rosters' pitchers:
AL pitchers: Buchholz, Cecil, Colon, Crain, Darvish, Hernandez, Iwakuma, Masterson, Perkins, Nathan, Rivera, Sale, Scherzer, Verlander. #ASG— MLB (@MLB) July 6, 2013
Because the All-Star selection process isn't an exact science, there's plenty of room for error on the part of the fans. Expecting a pool of partisan voters to get the best pitchers into the game is bound to leave some deserving hurlers out in the cold.
NL pitchers: Bumgarner, Chapman, Corbin, Fernandez, Grilli, Harvey, Kershaw, Kimbrel, Lee, Locke, Wainwright, Wood, Zimmermann. #ASG— MLB (@MLB) July 6, 2013
Here are a few pitchers who can make a legitimate claim that they should be pitching in New York.
Grant Balfour, Oakland Athletics
The 35-year-old Australian native has been 22-of-22 on save opportunities and is the only closer who has converted every single save opportunity thrown his way this season.
Aside from being the best at doing his job this season, Balfour has the stats to warrant a roster spot. He sports a WHIP of 1.10 and an ERA of 1.82. Considering that American League All-Star reliever Mariano Rivera posted a WHIP of 1.21 and ERA of 1.39, those two are close statistically.
To top it all off, Balfour has set a club record for consecutive saves, according to ESPN Stats & Info:
However, none of that was good enough to earn Balfour a trip to New York.
Grant Balfour: converted 40 straight save chances, tying Dennis Eckersley's Athletics franchise record for consecutive conversions.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 6, 2013
Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh Pirates
If he had enough innings pitched to qualify as a league leader, he would be among the elite in nearly every statistical category. The lefty has an ERA of 2.20, which would be third in the National League.
The 8-3 Liriano has posted an impressive 9.56 K/9 ratio, placing him fourth among National League pitchers.
Liriano's exclusion is somewhat understandable because of his lack of innings, but his numbers are good enough for him to have a legitimate gripe about being left off the roster.
Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals
Holland is one of the few bright spots on an otherwise struggling team, which isn't the best place for a closer to be. But he has shined in the role.
The 27-year-old rocks an ERA of 1.97 and has capitalized on 19-of-21 save opportunities while posting a K/9 ratio of 14.9—a number that is only topped by Cincinnati Reds flamethrower Aroldis Chapman.
Playing in the oft-overlooked Royals organization, Holland was bound to be neglected by fans, but few pitchers have better numbers.