The MLB All-Star Game, dubbed the midsummer classic, is two weeks away. This means a lot of things, and one of them is WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY SUMMER? IS IT ALMOST HALFWAY OVER?
Another one of the things it means is that the rosters for the American League and National League teams will be decided very soon. Voting for the teams ends Thursday, and the teams — except for one player on each side who wins the Final Vote — will be announced Sunday.
You can’t have your summer back (and really, there’s a lot of it left. Don’t panic). What you can have is a discussion of which Twins players are going to make it:
NEAR-LOCK: Miguel Sano. He’s the only Twins player in the top 5 (or top 15 outfielders) of the voting, and he’s leading AL third basemen by more than 200,000 votes. While it’s true that Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez closed the gap considerably in the latest round of balloting released Monday, it’s still a big lead for Sano. He’s also certainly deserving, checking in as of now with 18 home runs and a .934 OPS. Sano has never been an All-Star.
STRONG CHANCE: Ervin Santana. The veteran Twins righthander isn’t putting up video game numbers like he did earlier this season, but he’s still tied for second in the American League in victories (10) and fourth in ERA among starters (2.80). He’ll get one more start before teams are announced Sunday, but those credentials are already very solid. It would be Santana’s second All-Star Game selection after also making it in 2008.
WORTHY OF DISCUSSION: Jose Berrios, Brandon Kintzler and Brian Dozier. I don’t think any of these three guys will make it, but they are at least candidates.
Berrios in just nine starts this season has basically saved the Twins. He’s 7-2 with a 2.98 ERA and has allowed fewer than one baserunner per inning while striking out one batter per inning. The Twins have had some good pitchers in recent years — really, they have — but they haven’t had anyone with stuff as electric as Berrios since Francisco Liriano. This Twins season would already be in the toilet if Berrios hadn’t emerged.
Kintzler walks the tightrope sometimes as a closer, but he is tied for second in the AL in saves (20), generally keeps the ball in the park (three home runs allowed) and is an underrated part of why the Twins are in contention. He’s only blown three saves (one of which the Twins still won). In a perfect bullpen alignment, Kintzler might be a set-up guy and not a closer, but he’s proven to be credible at the latter job.
Dozier is tied for second among AL second basemen with 13 home runs and is having a nice season after last year’s breakout. But there are an awful lot of good second basemen in the American League, and it’s hard to imagine Dozier getting into the mix.