Some Twins teams have been iconic, and seen the election of some deserving all-stars. Back in the ‘60s, you had icons like Camillo Pascual, Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, and Tony Oliva representing Minnesota. 2009 Joe Mauer might have had the best single season in the history of catchers, and was a very deserving selection. This season, Jorge Polanco, Jake Odorizzi, and Jose Berrios all deserved the nod. Other Twins teams have been a bit more devoid of talent, and the “every team gets an all-star” rule has produced some odd selections. Here are some of the more unexpected all-stars in Twins history
2016: Eduardo Nunez
His season: The career utility-man did have a good season in 2016, in a year that many Twins did not. He played four positions for the Twins, primarily shortstop and third base (also second base and designated hitter) before being traded to San Francisco at the trade deadline. While slightly above league average in fielding percentage at third, he was below average in his other positions. He hit fairly well that year for the Twins, but not what you would probably consider All-Star level: .296/.325/.439 with 12 home runs. Those numbers would all drop after he was traded.
A better team representative: Brian Dozier or Ervin Santana
2011: Michael Cuddyer
His season: 2011 was a good-but-not-great season for Cuddy. His other All-Star season, 2013 with Colorado, was much more deserved—and Cuddyer is one of my favorite all-time Twins. He hit .284/.346/.459 with twenty total dingers in 2011. He was primarily a slightly-below average right fielder that season, but also made 46 appearances at first base, where he acquitted himself well, and 17 at second base, where he was also somewhat surprisingly successful (although he was a shortstop once upon a time.)
A better team representative: Probably no one, but a case could be made for Scott Baker or Glen Perkins
2000: Matt Lawton
His season: Seeing the name Matt Lawton here is a little bit of a “huh” moment, but it actually made sense. 2000 was an outlier of a season, in which the career .267/.368/.417 hitter put up some great numbers—.305/.405/.460 with 13 homers and 23 stolen bases. Although he would bounce around the league for years, and even earn another all-star bid, his batting average never broke .280 in another season, nor did he ever hit more than 20 home runs.
A better team representative: Corey Koskie, A.J. Pierzynski, or Luis Rivas
1999: Ron Coomer
His season: This was not a good Twins team, but Coomer is still an odd choice. The Twins lone all-star selection hit .263/.307/.424 while playing primarily first base, with a good smattering of third in there as well. He makes Joe Mauer look like a slugger at first, and was relatively low-producing for a guy at the hot corner too. To make matters worse, the guy he shared third with, Corey Koskie, way out hit him.
A better team representative: Corey Koskie (total snub,) Terry Steinbach, Todd Walker, Jacque Jones, Brad Radke, Travis Miller, literally half the team.
1988: Tim Laudner
His season: In his second-to-last professional season, the Twins catcher hit .251/.316/.408 with 32 total extra base hits. Since defensive stats for catchers weren’t a thing in the ‘80s, it’s not like those got him in either. He wasn’t the Twins only representative this season, as the more-deserving Kirby Puckett, Gary Gaetti, and Frank Voila joined him. Still, this was likely based on his participation in the previous season’s World Series.
A better team representative: Kent Hrbek, Allan Anderson
1984: Dave Engel
His season: Engel isn’t the most egregious entry on this list, with a .266/.308/.353 season from the catching position, but the numbers certainly don’t jump off the page either. More puzzling is who was snubbed this year, as Herbie was whacking the cover off the ball, and Tom Brunansky was racking up dingers (at least by mid-eighties standards.) A young outfielder named Kirby Puckett also had some great season numbers.
A better team representative: Kent Hrbek, Tom Brunansky, Kirby Puckett, Frank Viola
Who was the worst All-Star selection in Twins history?
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Someone else (tell us in the comments)