Who Will the Minnesota Twins’ 2016 All-Star Game Representative Be?
Who among the Minnesota Twins will be heading to the All Star game?
There’s got to be someone. There must be a representative from all the 30 teams at the All Star game. So a Twin will be heading there. If it weren’t for the “one (at least) per team” rule, Minnesota would probably not be asked to send any players.
But MLB has mandated inclusiveness for its All Star game and for good reason. Why shut out an entire market from having a good reason to watch it? It makes sense to have fans from each team engaged to some degree. However, how engaged can Twins fans’ be knowing in the back of their minds that their representative will be a bit of a pity selection?
By taking a look at the positional leaderboards for the AL, it quickly becomes apparent that the Minnesota Twins don’t have any players even close to qualifying under objective measures.
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Of course, there is a fan element to the Summer Classic as well. To an extent, the fans get to see the players they want to see, regardless of merit. If Minnesotan fans had really wanted to see one of Twins voted in, they could have gotten behind them and make a push. But understandably, no one on the Twins’ 2016 roster really inspired fans to push for them.
So really what we must consider is who has been the best/most valuable Twin this year? It would be difficult to make a case for a member of the rotation as no Twins starter has an ERA lower than 4.50.
In the bullpen, as good as Fernando Abad has been, he ranks 14th among AL relievers in ERA (19th by FIP)—there are just too many more deserving candidates.
From the position players, Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier, Eduardo Nunez and Robbie Grossman have been the standouts. Grossman has been excellent early in his Twins career but hasn’t had enough playing time to earn player votes or a manager selection. Even if Grossman’s stats were adjusted to match his competition’s playing time, there are still more deserving options.
Nunez has been a rare pleasant surprise for the Twins this season and has swung a hot stick but he’s been a defensive liability. Joe Mauer has seen a bit of a resurgence with a return to his high OBP ways but his slugging percentage is only a few points higher (.379 SLG).
At this point, Brian Dozier is our selection to represent the Twins at the All Star Game. After a slow start to the season (.617 and .632 OPS in April and May respectively), Dozier has exploded in June with an 1.140 OPS. For the season, he’s now at .824 OPS and his defensive has been steady all year. Dozier has now posted a team leading 1.7 WAR.
Barring a big push from Mauer or Nunez in the next few days, Dozier should be the Twins’ All Star selection. Aside from the leading voter getter among AL second basemen (Jose Altuve) there are 3 or 4 more deserving second baseman than Dozier in the AL. But they’ll likely have to stay home since the Twins must have a representative.