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Cutch, Melancon are Sporting News All-Stars

Several Pirates finish among leaders in voting for magazine's awards

PITTSBURGH -- From the top down, the Pirates were well represented in the Sporting News' 2015 awards.

General manager Neal Huntington was the runner-up for Sporting News' Baseball Executive of the Year, as voted on by a panel of 47 Major League executives. Alex Anthopoulos, who parted ways with the Blue Jays on Thursday, won the award.

Huntington received 10 votes to Anthopoulos' 21, finishing ahead of Royals general manager Dayton Moore and two National League Central competitors: the Cardinals' John Mozeliak (tied for fourth) and the Cubs' Theo Epstein (tied for seventh).

Huntington has led the Pirates to the postseason three years in a row with a number of savvy signings and trades. This year, the Pirates benefitted greatly from Huntington's offseason trade for catcher Francisco Cervelli and his bold risk in signing infielder Jung Ho Kang out of the Korean Baseball Organization.

The Pirates also re-signed left-hander Francisco Liriano over the winter and agreed to a one-year deal with A.J. Burnett, solidifying their rotation. Huntington further bolstered the Bucs at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, acquiring relievers Joakim Soria and Joe Blanton along with first baseman Michael Morse and starter J.A. Happ, arguably the most valuable under-the-radar move of the entire Deadline.

Additionally, Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen placed ninth in the voting for Sporting News' Player of the Year, as selected by his fellow players. He was tied with Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw and Astros ace Dallas Keuchel. Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson won the award, while Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper finished second.

McCutchen and closer Mark Melancon were named to the Sporting News' National League All-Star team. This is the fourth straight year McCutchen has received the honor, while Melancon -- the Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year Award winner who logged a Pirates record 51 saves this year -- was a first-time Sporting News All-Star.

Kang finished third in the Sporting News' voting for NL Rookie of the Year, behind Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant and Giants third baseman Matt Duffy. Burnett came in sixth in the voting for the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award, which was won by Mets right-hander Matt Harvey.

This is only the beginning of the Pirates' awards season, however. They have three Gold Glove Award finalists, and several likely contenders for the Baseball Writers Association of America awards.

The Bucs also have several nominees in the Esurance MLB Awards. Voting will remain open through Nov. 13 . Winners will be announced live on MLB Network and on Nov. 20.

Adam Berry is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.
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