Cases could me made for all five of the players below to be included on the 2020 AL All-Star squad. Here’s how I’d rank the Twins as far as their chances to make the team after the season’s mid-point.
5. Miguel Sano, 1B
It’s no secret that Sano struggled getting out of the gate this season. He spent a large chunk of the team’s Summer Camp quarantined in his basement after testing positive for the coronavirus. In the team’s first five games, he went 1-for-17 with eight strikeouts and no walks. Since that point, he has been one of baseball’s best sluggers by slashing .292/.407/.667 with 15 extra-base hits in 22 games. Chicago’s Jose Abreu would likely have gotten the starting spot, but Sano has the AL’s third highest WAR among first basemen. He also has a higher WAR than Abreu since last year’s All-Star Game.
4. Tyler Duffey, RP
When completing an All-Star roster, managers like to have flame throwing arms to come in for the late innings. Duffey has been outstanding since the middle of last season. In fact, FanGraphs has him trailing only Liam Hendrick and Nick Anderson in WAR since the middle of last year. This even puts him ahead of Twins closer Taylor Rogers. So far this season, Duffey has limited batters to one run on five hits in 11 innings. Over the last two seasons, he has a 96 to 14 strikeout to walk ratio in just under 70 innings. He’s one of baseball’s best relievers and he would have been highly considered for an All-Star spot.
3. Randy Dobnak, SP
Dobnak is near the top of the AL in wins and ERA, which is pretty good for a player that wasn’t even a lock to be in the rotation during spring training. Baseball Reference ranks him third on the team in WAR behind the two players ahead of him on this list. He has been terrific since his debut last season with tremendous career numbers like a 1.69 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and a 39 to 12 strikeout to walk ratio. He might not be the big names fans typically look for in the Mid-Summer Classic but both CBS and MLB.com mentioned him as a potential All-Star.
2. Kenta Maeda, SP
In some other seasons, Maeda might be in the conversation to start the All-Star Game with his first half performance. Unfortunately, he’s in the same league with starters like Shane Bieber, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke so it’s tough to beat out those names. He still would have likely been a lock to be included on the AL’s roster. He’s ranks fourth in the AL in ERA, first in WHIP, first in hits per nine, and fifth in win probability added. Maeda has been even better than advertised as he seems like the ace on one of baseball’s best teams.
1. Nelson Cruz, DH
Cruz would have been a slam dunk to be the AL’s starter at designated hitter. He seems to continue to get better with age as he ranks first in the AL in slugging, OPS and home runs. At different points this season, he carried the Twins offensive load especially with injuries to other key members of the Bomba Squad. His leadership on and off the field have altered Minnesota’s baseball culture and there can’t be enough superlatives thrown his way. Oh, by the way, he turned 40-years old at the beginning of July. Truly amazing.
Who do you think would have made the All-Star team for the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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