As of the June 1 update on All-Star game votes, just Torii Hunter appears anywhere on the leaderboard. Have a look. Hunter's 386,847 votes qualify him for 14th place among 15 outfielders. All other positions rank a top five, and there is nary a Twin to be found.
It's fair that Hunter is getting at least a little bit of love. Beyond the fact that Hunter's name might be the most recognizable name on the Minnesota roster outside of Joe Mauer, Hunter's offensive contributions have already paid more dividends than many people expected. Hunter has accrued 1.0 fWAR, third best among position players on the team. He's taking more walks than he has in years, his power is better than it's been in half a decade, he's creating runs at a rate 18% better than the league average, and he's been less of a defensive liability than Danny Santana. That last one is the biggest surprise of all, for all of the reasons.
But there are two other players that need a little ballot box love. And one whose appointment would be out of our hands.
We can't vote Perkins to the mid-summer classic, but it'd be a shame if he didn't go. He's converted 19 of 19 save opportunities (which leads the league), stranding nine of every ten runners he lets on base, and he's barely allowing one base runner per inning as it is. Essentially the Twins closer is allowing a run once every nine or ten innings. That's pretty good.
The only other closer who might be better than Perkins in the American League this year is Andrew Miller. But Miller plays for the Yankees, so the baseball gods forbid that anyone should prefer him over Perkins anyway.
Dozier leads all second basemen with nine home runs and 41 runs scored, and among the league's best second basemen in walk rates. He has no peer as far as his power is concerned. Overall, Dozier's 1.7 fWAR come in third among the American League's second basemen, behind Jason Kipnis (3.1 fWAR) and...Logan Forsythe (1.8 fWAR)? Good for that guy.
But when you look at the voting, we're back to something of a popularity contest. Kipnis, who should be a no-doubt starter, is in fourth place, having garnered roughly one third of Omar Infante's totals for second place. The leader, with nearly four times as many votes as Kipnis, is Jose Altuve. To be fair to Altuve, he's accumulated 1.3 fWAR, leads second basemen in stolen bases (15), almost never strikes out, and is a pretty good defender...even if Kipnis is better. Altuve also plays for the upstart Astros, so bonus points there. Detroit's Ian Kinsler, the league's best defender at second base, is in third place.
Infante? In some kind of cosmic joke, the Royals' second baseman is batting .231/.241/.327. That's apparently worth votes to somebody. Welcome to the clown show that is All-Star Game voting.
Dozier is undoubtedly a top-five second baseman in the American League right now, if not one of the top three. Go vote. You can give Dozier love up to 35 times. That sounds weird, but you know what I mean.
Plouffe is in a similar situation to Dozier. He's had a pretty good year, but he doesn't appear on the list of top five vote getters for hot corner players either. Plouffe's 1.5 fWAR places him fifth in a group of very good third basemen in the American League, with his offensive contributions ranking in the top two or three. He mixes a number of traits that not all of the top five vote getters exhibit: good power, a surprisingly good eye at the plate, and fair defense.
Mike Moustakas (2.4 million votes) and Josh Donaldson (1.5 million) rank first and second in the top five, which is fair enough as they're the second and top third-ranked third basemen by fWAR. In third place is Pablo Sandoval, with just 483,000 votes, but this is the kind of respect paid to a player hitting .251/.317/371, is among the league's worst defenders at the position, and is barely above replacement level for overall value. Boston would have been better off playing a random Quadruple-A player at third instead of Kung Fu Panda.
In fourth and fifth place are Manny Machado and Adrian Beltre, fair results even if they fall just outside of the top five by fWAR. Plouffe, just like Kyle Seager and Evan Longoria, have had better years than either of those players.
It's been a long and winding road for Trevor Plouffe, and it looks like he may have finally turned into the player the Twins always hoped they'd drafted. Go vote! Trevor deserves to be in that top five.
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