We’ll start this out with the Minnesota Twins lone representative during this year’s Midsummer Classic. José Berríos has emerged as more than just an ace for this pitching staff, he has a legitimate chance to win the Cy Young Award this season.
The right-handed Berríos has a 3.68 ERA with 127 1/3 innings pitched through his first 20 starts. Berríos has been as dominant as any pitcher in MLB at times during this season. That’s especially true when he was able to pitch in his home country of Puerto Rico this season.
Berríos pitched seven innings of three-hit shutout baseball against the Indians in that April 18th start. He struck out five and needed only 85 pitches to keep a tough Indians lineup at bay. He has only continued to impress since that moment in Estadio Hiram Bithorn.
Without Berríos there is no telling where this team might be in the standings right now. However, he hasn’t kept hope alive for the Twins alone during this season. Now, let’s take a look at a player who deserved an All-Star nod during this season.
Eddie Rosario has built upon his breakthrough performance during the 2017 season. Rosario hit .290 with 27 home runs and 78 runs batted in during last season and has only improved upon those numbers this year.
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The left fielder is on pace to easily surpass his career high of 27 home runs and has continued to show growth at the plate. Although he is a free swinger and will have his fair share of strikeouts, Rosario has become a more well-rounded hitter.
Rosario is currently hitting .310 with 19 home runs and 61 runs batted in through 94 games. He has also helped stabilize the defense in the outfield while Byron Buxton has been injured.
Rosario has had help along the way offensively. The next player on our list has been equally as important as Rosario in keeping the Minnesota Twins from plummeting in the standings.
Twins utility infielder Eduardo Escobar has been impressive during the first half. Escobar has mostly been a reserve infielder who gets playing time because of his versatility. However, he has become a vital piece to Minnesota’s lineup during this season.
He is hitting .272 with a .331 on-base percentage through 91 games. Escobar has also tapped into his power for the Twins this season. The infielder has 14 home runs, 52 extra-base hits in total, and 57 runs batted in.
However, his presence in the infield has been more important than his presence in the lineup. First, Jorge Polanco was suspended during Spring Training and Escobar stepped in nicely at shortstop. However, Miguel Sano has played poorly when healthy during this season and currently finds himself playing in the Minors.
Although Escobar doesn’t have gaudy numbers that jump off of the page at you, he has been consistently solid all season. Without Escobar, this team would have struggled to fill two different positions on the infield and remain on the fringes of contention.
With little more than two months left to play during this season, Minnesota needs more from the players who have underperformed. Players like Buxton, Sano, and Brian Dozier are prime candidates to bounce back during the second half.
The Twins still have small playoff hopes for this season and need everybody to take their game to another level to succeed. Here’s hoping for more good than bad or ugly over the next two months.