With the release of the 2011 MLB All-Star Game rosters comes the inevitable talk of snubs. Every year deserving candidates are left off the initial roster and every year fans have valid complaints. This year is no different, and the rosters have already been sufficiently picked apart in the two days following the announcement of the All-Star Game rosters. But humor us.
The Seattle Mariners were fortunate enough to have two pitchers named to the 2011 MLB All-Star Game. Neither of those two pitchers are named Michael Pineda. Though Felix Hernandez and Brandon League did make the cut, and deservedly so, Pineda does have a legitimate argument for inclusion into the festivities.
Pineda has been outstanding in his first three months of play, giving us far more than we initially expected. The growing pains have been nearly non-existent, and Pineda has provided a one-two punch in the rotation that's been a treat to watch. If he keeps it up, Pineda should find himself firmly in the American League Rookie of the Year discussion.
In 17 starts, Pineda is 8-5 with a 2.58 ERA and 3.00 FIP and 3.50 xFIP. He's been worth 2.5 wins above replacement at just about the halfway point of the MLB season. His ERA is 10th-best among all pitchers -- American or National League -- just behind names such as Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and James Shields. By WAR, Pineda is 25th-best, though he ranks behind both Hernandez and fellow Mariners pitcher Doug Fister.
Pineda has been outstanding and if he isn't named to the roster this year, he'll almost surely make it at some point in the near future. But if you're looking for a pitcher who deserves to be an injury replacement, Pineda's name should be near the top of the list.