Minnesota Twins: Brandon Kintzler Named AL All-Star Replacement
Minnesota Twins closer Brandon Kintzler has been named an All-Star replacement. He is the third Twins All-Star. The last time they had three was 2009.
The Minnesota Twins will have three All-Stars next week in Miami. Closer Brandon Kintzler has been named an American League All-Star. It is his first All-Star appearance and marks the first time the Twins have had three All-Stars since 2009 when Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan were named to the American League squad.
Kintzler was one of seven All-Star replacements named Friday. Of the seven, four of them are first time All-Stars. Kintzler has had a stellar season closing out games for Minnesota. He has converted 24 saves in 27 opportunities and has a 2.29 ERA during his 39 total appearances. While he does not strike many guys out, he is efficient and has been able to pitch 39.1 relief innings this season.
Kintzler has been one of the best closers in baseball this season and has been a bright spot in a rather weak Twins bullpen. His ability to close games has helped propel the Twins into playoff contention. He is one of three closers to make the American League All-Star team, along with Boston’s Craig Kimbrel and Toronto’s Roberto Osuna (another replacement making his first All-Star appearance).
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Carrying the Minnesota All-Star closer torch.
A Minnesota Twins closer making the All-Star team is nothing new. Kintzler is part of a history of All-Star regulars who closed out games in Minnesota. Since 2002, there have been ten All-Star appearances by Twins closers. Eddie Guardado made two appearances (2002 and 2003) to start it all. Joe Nathan would make four appearances (2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009) to follow up “Everyday Eddie”. Glen Perkins would make the next three All-Star appearances from 2013 to 2015.
Kintzler will make the tenth appearance in sixteen seasons for Twins closers. He follows up the man he was tabbed to replace because of serious injury issues. At 32 years old and with just 17 career saves (all in 2016) before the season started, it would have been hard to predict Kintzler to be the next Twins All-Star closer. But he has stepped up in a big way for this surprising Twins team.
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The Twins now have three All-Stars, all of which are deserving. It has been a pleasant surprise for Twins fans to see unexpected guys step up, and one of those surprise heroes is joining Ervin Santana and Miguel Sano in Miami. Kintzler was considered by many to have been snubbed before Friday’s announcement. Now he will get to show why he deserves to be there.