But the rules say this: every team gets one All-Star, regardless of how bad things are going. Until they change those rules, the likes of Ron Coomer (1999 Twins) will get to participate in the mid-summer classic. (No offense to the Coomdog, who was hitting a respectable .282 with 11 homers at the break that year).
The question becomes: who will go from the Twins this year? If you’re thinking a Twins player might get voted in, you can drop that right now. No Twins position player is in the top 5 of voting, with the earliest results just released Tuesday.
It’s June 1 now, and reserves will be picked sometime in early July. So everyone has a month to make an impression. Here are a few Twins players who figure to be in the mix, pending how they play in June.
The Twins’ first baseman had a strong first month and a recent hot streak, pushing him into contention. He’s third among qualified AL first basemen in OPS (.815) and second in Wins Above Replacement (1.7). He’s having, on balance, a solid year and could benefit from a relatively weak crop of competition at the position.
Going into Wednesday’s games, Boston’s Xander Bogaerts led the AL with a .350 batting average. Detroit’s Victor Martinez was second at .343. Guess who was third?
Eduardo Nunez, at .340.
He didn’t really figure prominently into the Twins’ opening day plans, but the utility player has become a lineup mainstay thanks to opportunity and production. He’s been really the one consistent hitting bright spot on this team all season. And as bad as things have been, it’s hard to imagine this lineup without him — particularly for stretches when Trevor Plouffe and Eduardo Escobar were injured.
It’s a shame Sano landed on the disabled list with a hamstring injury Tuesday because he was really starting to heat up and could have made a bid for an all-star spot with a strong June. I have to think missing at least two weeks will take him out of the mix, but you never know.
Nunez has been the hitting surprise. Abad, with his 0.93 ERA, has been the pleasant pitching surprise. It would be a stretch to say he’s an All-Star, but when a team is 15-36 and a manager is searching for a representative, there are worse places to look than a lefty who has allowed two earned runs all season.
This is the wild card based on an 11-game sample size, but if Grossman somehow manages to stay close to as hot as he has been (.361 batting average, 1.147 OPS as a Twin after being released by both Houston and Cleveland since the end of last year), he could go from being a cute little story to an All-Star.
Obviously someone else could get hot over the next month and make a run at this (like, say, a Byung Ho Park home run spree). Your thoughts, please, in the comments.