2013 MLB All-Star Roster: Relief Pitchers Who Deserved a Spot in New York

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2013

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 09:  Grant Balfour #50 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates after the last out of their game against the Detroit Tigers during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 9, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

No matter how many players make the All-Star roster, there will always be a question about those who did not make it. A number of players are having fantastic years but they still didn't make the roster. 

While there are snubs at every position, including Ian Desmond and Josh Donaldson, one spot that had a bunch of misses was relief pitching. In the world of saves dominating every other statistical category, it is easy to overlook players doing well at the back end of bullpens.

With the All-Star game having "real value", you want the best pitchers coming into the game to help you win. These players would have been useful in the upcoming contest and deserve to be there.

Grant Balfour, Oakland Athletics

There were some good pitchers selected to the American League roster. Grant Balfour, a closer who has been as good as anyone in the majors, won't be going to New York.

Not only does he have 22 saves this season, but he has zero blown saves. While no one is perfect, Balfour has been lights out as the Athletics' closer. He is a big reason the club has the second-best record in the AL.

Francisco Rodriguez, who has only eight saves, is second on the list of closers without a blown save this season. This shows how impressive Balfour has been this year.

With an ERA of 1.82, the veteran is having one of the best years of his career and he deserves to be recognized as an All-Star.

Bobby Parnell, New York Mets

It is easy to overlook Bobby Parnell, who only has 14 saves on the year with the New York Mets. However, it is not his fault that his team is rarely leading late in games.

Instead, he gets a lot of extra work with the squad tied or trailing. He is a big reason why the Mets stay alive late in games. This has helped record five wins, which trails only Tyler Clippard and Aaron Crow for relievers.

Hitters have had a hard time getting on base against Parnell all year. The pitcher has a WHIP of 0.88 and an opponent's batting average of .194.

He is not one of those guys who drives fans crazy at the end of games.

The Mets took a chance on making Parnell the team's closer with Frank Francisco on the DL to start the year and he has not disappointed. He should be able to play in his home ballpark for the All-Star game.

Mark Melancon, Pittsburgh Pirates

AL manager Jim Leyland gave a lot of respect to setup men when making the roster, putting a handful of them on the ballot and in the last-chance vote.

NL manager Bruce Bochy generally ignored the position.

However, it is important not to overlook the year that Mark Melancon has had with the Pirates.

Jason Grilli was selected to his first All-Star game after a great first half, but he would not have as many save opportunities without the impressive performance of his setup man.

Melancon is tied for eighth in the majors with 42 relief appearances, but has an amazing 0.87 ERA and 0.82 WHIP. He has allowed only four runs all year and he has an amazing 44 strikeouts with only four walks.

Although the Pirates already have four players on the All-Star roster, they deserve even more after such a fantastic start.

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