Early American League vote totals for MLB All-Star Game balloting were revealed Tuesday, and they reinforced what most of us would have predicted: Any Twin at this year’s game will be picked by managers or players, not fans.
Pitchers already are, anyway, but the early returns on position players aren’t favorable. Only two Twins — Brian Dozier at second base and Kurt Suzuki at catcher — are among the top five in fan voting at their positions, and both are being nearly doubled up in the voting by multiple players.
Still, every team is guaranteed one player on the team. With expanded rosters and some players have deserving seasons, the Twins could get multiple players when they host the game in July. Here is our early look at the best bets to be picked among the hometown nine:
Glen Perkins: He entered Tuesday tied for the American League lead in saves (14), while his peripheral numbers (22⅓ innings, 31 strikeouts, 0.99 WHIP) suggest he has been dominant for much of the season despite a few shaky outings and two blown saves. He was an All-Star a season ago, too, meaning he already has established himself in that realm. The fact that he’s a local product won’t hurt, either.
Brian Dozier: He entered play Tuesday tied for the American League lead in runs scored with 42, and his 11 home runs were more than twice as many as any other qualifying AL second baseman. He’s been stellar in the field, too. Working against him, though: Ian Kinsler of Detroit is the leading vote-getter, while Robinson Cano and Dustin Pedroia are big-name second basemen who could vie for backup spots.
Phil Hughes: His recent stretch of dominance at least put him in the discussion. If things fall right and Hughes has a strong month of June, he should at least get consideration.
Kurt Suzuki: He entered Tuesday leading all American League catchers in RBI with 27, and he has hovered around .300 all season. With a dearth of star power at the position — particularly after a certain St. Paul native moved to first base —Suzuki could garner consideration.
Joe Mauer: He was conspicuous in his absence from the top five in the first baseman voting — not because he is having a great year (he is not), but because some thought the hometown game might give him a boost.Will it matter when it’s time to pick reserves?