Four members of the Minnesota Twins were named finalists for the Google MLB All-Star Starters Election which begins on Wednesday.
The Minnesota Twins have continued to cement themselves as one of the top teams in the American League and it appears that the rest of the country is starting to take notice. As part of a new voting system this year, four Twins have advanced from the three-week primary phase of the Google MLB All-Star Ballot to the Google MLB All-Star Starters Election.
The election, which will run from 11 a.m. CT on Wednesday to 3 p.m. CT on Thursday, will determine which players will start for the American League for the 2019 MLB All-Star Game which will take place in Cleveland on July 9.
To the surprise of no one, shortstop Jorge Polanco was one of the players that made the cut. Polanco is in the midst of a true breakout season as he leads the American League with a .326 average while hitting 11 home runs and driving in 38 RBI. While he should be considered a favorite statistically to start in Cleveland, he’ll go up against some star power in Houston’s Carlos Correa and New York’s Gleyber Torres.
At first base, C.J. Cron was named a finalist along with Cleveland’s Carlos Santana and the New York Yankees’ Luke Voit. Cron has had a tremendous first season in Minnesota after being acquired for nothing from the Tampa Bay Rays. Coming off his first 30 HR season of his career, Cron his hit for a career-high .279 average, .344 on-base percentage and .534 slugging percentage to compile a .878 OPS. The 29-year old has also been productive at the plate hitting 16 HR and 48 RBI.
Nelson Cruz also made the cut as part of the designated hitter election. Despite missing time with a wrist injury in May, Cruz has been one of the leaders for the Twins’ revamped lineup, hitting .277 with 13 HR and 36 RBI. His competition for the starting spot includes Boston’s J.D. Martinez and Texas’ Hunter Pence.
Things were a little different in the outfield as the top nine vote-getters advanced to the starters election. One of those nine was left fielder Eddie Rosario, who will look to make his first All-Star appearance after getting snubbed last year. Rosario is clubbing a career-high .514 slugging percentage and is sixth in the American League with 19 home runs on the year.
Rosario will battle in a star-studded group that includes Mookie Betts of the Red Sox, Michael Brantley, Josh Reddick and George Springer of the Astros, Joey Gallo of the Rangers, Aaron Judge of the Yankees, Austin Meadows of the Rays and Mike Trout of the Angels.
While the Twins have plenty of representation in the election, it could have been more as Byron Buxton and Max Kepler both missed the cut with Kepler missing by just 138 votes behind Gallo. The good news is they’ll have a second chance when reserves and pitchers are announced on June 30.
In any event, the national recognition is a nice change for the Twins after being dormant through most of this past decade. Even though the All-Star game is a glorified exhibition, it’s still a thrill to see some of your own players take the field in the Midsummer Classic. As of now, the Twins are in great position to see one of their own start for the American League on July 9.