Starling Marte is not a Rookie of the Year candidate, since he already put in two months of big league time at the end of last season. However, the Pirates' dynamic young left fielder is a rookie All-Star candidate, appearing on his first All-Star Game ballot as voting begins for the 84th Midsummer Classic on July 16 in New York's Citi Field.
And Marte has already run a compelling early-season campaign, with a 10-game hitting streak that had a lot to do with lifting the Bucs out of their early-season funk. Marte batted .442 during that streak to put himself on the map as a bonafide All-Star candidate, putting all five of his tools on display.
"He's getting on base two, three times a game," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle noted. "He's attacking the ball in the outfield, making throws, laying out for balls. He's running the bases aggressively. It's early, but he is in a very good place."
That place now is the All-Star ballot, which Marte shares with the rest of the Bucs' regulars, including the other two-thirds of a productive outfield -- two-time All-Star Andrew McCutchen in center and Garrett Jones in right; the trio comprises the top three RBI producers so far this season for the Pirates.
Pittsburgh newcomer Russell Martin, nominated at catcher, and first baseman Gaby Sanchez, also listed on his first All-Star ballot as a member of the Pirates, are the only two other former All-Stars among the club's position players. Martin twice was a National League All-Star with the Dodgers as well as a choice while with the Yankees in 2011, the same summer Sanchez represented the Marlins.
Around the horn, third baseman Pedro Alvarez, shortstop Clint Barmes and second baseman Neil Walker round out the list of Pirates candidates.
In-park balloting at PNC Park will begin May 3 -- when the Bucs open their next homestand, meeting the Washington Nationals -- and continue through June 15.
Fans may submit twenty-five (25) online ballots during the voting period, but can also earn a one-time bonus of ten (10) additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, visit www.mlb.com
Fans can also once again participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The 2013 Home Run Derby -- part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day -- will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 15.
The 2013 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 7, on the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com on MLB.com
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16. Come to MLB.com
The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Given the Pirates' deep and versatile squad, some hard choices had to be made in the All-Star nominations, and among the missing names is one of the leading pistons of their recent charge -- Travis Snider.
However, with Jones listed in right field to accommodate Sanchez at first, Snider is not on the ballot and is a standout write-in candidate.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.