Minnesota is on top of the baseball world. The club has the best record in baseball, expectations are high, and the team should be well represented at the 2019 All-Star Game in Cleveland. It's a golden opportunity to crash their AL Central's rivals' party.
Major League Baseball altered their voting process for the 2019 All-Star Game. Two phases of voting will be held, “The Primary” and “The Starters Election.” Fans remain in charge of selecting the All-Star starters, but this new process allows for more fan involvement in an Election Day. All the pitchers and reserve position players will continue to be chosen through Player Ballots and selections from the Commissioner’s Office.
“The Primary” round of voting opened earlier this week. For 25-days, fans can vote from a ballot of players submitted by the individual clubs. This round concludes on June 21 at 3 pm CST. The Primary round will determine the top-three vote-getters at every position (including nine outfielders). “The Starters Election” will take the top vote getters from “The Primary” and open an all-out voting war. Starting at 11 am CST on June 26, fans will have 28-hours to vote for the starters.
Sorting Through the Candidates
Jorge Polanco’s 2019 performance has inserted himself in the early MVP discussion. He’s currently tied with Mike Trout for the most WAR among position players. He’s on nearly every American League offensive leaderboard as he ranks in the top-5 in batting average, OBP, hits, total bases, triples, runs created, and extra-base hits. Polanco looks like a smart baseball bet to be one of the club’s representatives.
Eddie Rosario is another top candidate and he’s clearly a team leader on and off the field. His 17 home runs and 47 RBI rank him at the top of AL. Besides that, he’s also in the top-10 for slugging %, runs scored, and total bases. The AL outfield is a little tough to crack with players like Mike Trout, George Springer, and Mookie Betts. To beat out these well-known stars, Rosario is going to have to continue to produce.
The team’s other two outfielders, Max Kepler and Byron Buxton, also rank well in the AL. Kepler is coming off AL Player of the Week honors, but he isn’t as well known outside of Twins Territory. Buxton’s name has been in baseball circles since he was a top amateur and he leads the AL in doubles. Both players will run into the same problem as Rosario; casual fans are going to vote for more well-known players.
CJ Cron’s 13 home runs are tied for the most among AL first baseman. Defensively, he’s also elevated himself into the Gold Glove conversation. At one point, Mitch Garver looked like the club’s best hitter. However, an ankle injury has him on the DL and he doesn’t appear on the ballot. Jason Castro’s season has also been strong, but Garver looked like Babe Ruth at one point.
Even though fans don’t vote for pitchers, Minnesota has some strong candidates. Jake Odorizzi already won AL Player of the Week. He has the league’s best ERA and a microscopic 0.99 WHIP. Jose Berrios, Minnesota’s lone 2018 All-Star, has the AL’s best BB/9 average while ranking highly in other areas. Martin Perez’s journey from cast-off reliever to top starter has been one of the team’s best stories. Minnesota’s bullpen is also full of worthy candidates like Blake Parker, Taylor Rogers, and Ryne Harper.
Could Minnesota wind up with four or more All-Star selections for the first time since 1988? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.