With one week left in the third month of Major League Baseball, the All-Star Break looms just around the corner at Target Field. As the Minnesota Twins prepare to close out the first half of their regular season, nine players in the roster are doing all they can to make the All-Star cut.
Of the nine potential All-Stars, Joe Mauer is the only one who has made a previous appearance in the Midsummer Classic (’06, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’12, ’13). Except for 2006 and 2012, Mauer started the game behind the plate and also participated in the Home Run Derby in 2009. This year, Mauer is on the ballot for the first time for a defensive position other than catcher, which shakes things up a bit. So far this season, Mauer is hitting .261/.334/.338 with three doubles, one triple, two home runs, 22 RBIs and currently leads the team with 71 hits. Even though he is not leading on the ballot, Mauer would certainly be a good asset to the American League if he were to make an appearance at some point in the Game.
Brian Dozier has certainly turned into a sort of power hitter for the Twins over the last three months. He currently leads the team with 15 home runs, 58 runs, 47 walks and 15 stolen bases. He is also second on the team in RBIs with 37 behind Trevor Plouffe. With such good numbers, many Twins fans would almost expect Dozier to make an appearance at some point in the All-Star Game. Even so, Dozier must still make the cut and impress the coaching staff enough to have him be planted in the Game.
In his fourth Major League season and third with the Twins, Pedro Florimon has not had much play time this season. Currently sitting at a .104/.189/.149 average over 28 games including one double, one triple, and one RBI, Florimon is far from impressing anybody to make the ballot in July.
With one triple, five home runs, and team-leading 22 doubles and 38 RBIs, Trevor Plouffe is keeping a steady pace going through the first part of the season. Lately, however, Plouffe has been spending time on the 15-day disabled list with a left rib inflammation, and is not expected back until possibly June 30. This does not help Plouffe’s case if he has any hopes of making the All-Star Game this season, but if he does, he may not appear until possibly the later innings.
With a .321/.378/.420 average over 60 games has been a solid player since joining the Twins this season. With two home runs and 15 RBIs, Suzuki is simply another average hitter. Although he is a great player with the Twins, he is simply an average player among Major League Baseball. If Suzuki wants to make the cut, he must really pick it up in the next week and a half if he want to make a trip to the Midsummer Classic.
Since being put on assignment, Jason Kubel has not played with the Twins in the last couple of weeks. In the 45 games he played in with the Twins, Kubel hit .224/.313./.295 with one triple and one home run. We won’t be seeing Kubel in the All-Star Break, but he could most certainly return to the ballot next year.
After missing some time due to a hand injury, Oswaldo Arcia has come out of the batting gate with four home runs and one triple under his belt. However, with a .198/.261/.377 average Arcia is not at the top of the list for starting power hitters. If he is to make the cut and make an appearance in the All-Star Game, Arcia is going to have to impress people with his defensive skills to carry him through.
Upon missing a couple months due to a fractured wrist, Willingham has certainly not looked back. Since returning to the lineup, Willingham has hit six home runs and has gathered a total 22 RBIs. However, missing that much game time has certainly been a detriment to Willingham’s chances of making the cut, but if he does, he could more than likely turn out to be a good asset to whatever part of the All-Star Game he is inserted into.