Over on the Twitter machine, @TheBatShatters raised an interesting question:
Anybody had the thought of putting together a current-and-former Twins All-Star team?— TheBatShatters (@thebatshatters) June 30, 2015
The only rules were that it had to be active players. Here's the line-up I was able to construct with some tough spots to fill at multiple positions.
Catcher: Wilson Ramos, Washington Nationals
fWAR: 0.8 -- rWAR: 1.6
Ramos is finally healthy after suffering multiple injuries throughout the early portion of his career. He's hit seven home runs and tied his doubles output from last season with 12. He's getting on base close to 30% of the time and he's drove in 35 runs. Kurt Suzuki would be the next closest player but this spot easily goes to Ramos.
First Base: Chris Colabello, Toronto Blue Jays
fWAR 0.4 -- rWAR: 0.4
This might be stretching the rules a little bit but I didn't want to throw Chris Parmelee or Joe Mauer in this spot. Colabello has put together quite the first half and he's spent a little time playing first base which is his more natural position. He's slugging close to .500 and he has 18 extra-base hits in less than 50 games. If I picked someone that's played more first base, it would go to Mauer but that is more by default than because of his performance.
Second Base: Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins
fWAR: 3.0 -- rWAR: 2.9
Dozier arguably should be the starting second baseman for the American League in the All Star Game. Jason Kipnis is having a tremendous first half but over the last calendar year, Dozier has been the best second baseman in the game. Dozier likely won't be selected because of other players like Kipnis, Jose Altuve, and all the Royals love for Omar Infante. It still takes nothing away from what Dozier has done in the first half.
Shortstop: JJ Hardy, Baltimore Orioles
fWAR: 0.5 -- rWAR: 0.5
Shortstop has been a deep dark hole in the Twins organization for some time. The lone man with a pulse at the position was only in Minnesota for one year before being dealt to Baltimore. At age 32, he isn't having the best season of his career but there aren't a lot of other options. Danny Santana struggled to start the year and I'm not having an All-Star Team with Eduardo Nunez on it. Hardy gets the spot but more by default than anything else.
Third Base: Trevor Plouffe, Minnesota Twins
fWAR: 3.0 -- rWAR: 2.7
Plouffe has been almost as valuable as Dozier as the season reaches the mid-way point. Plouffe's defense at third base is strong and he has become a more experienced batter at the plate. He doesn't try to pull the ball every time he steps in the box. He's only surpassed the 20 home run mark once in his career and he could be on pace to reach that marker with a strong second half. Plouffe's transformed himself into a very valuable player that needs to be in the line-up.
Torii Hunter, Minnesota Twins
fWAR: 1.5 -- rWAR: 0.4
Hunter's hot hitting to start the season has put him close to equaling his WAR output from 2014. His offensive output is pretty close to his career numbers. His defense has been tolerable with a few impressive diving catches mixed in to add a little spice. At 39-years old, he's proving that age might not be a barrier so it will be interesting to see if he can keep up this pace for the rest of the 2015 campaign.
Denard Span, Washington Nationals
fWAR: 1.1 -- rWAR: 0.6 WAR
Span missed a little time this season due to injury but he's back on the field and heading for another strong finish. He lead the National League in hits a year ago and he's improved across his entire slash line in 2015. His defense continues to be strong and he's a force at the top of one of the strongest line-ups in the National League. If the Nationals reach their potential this season, Span needs to be on the top of his game.
Ben Revere, Philadelphia Phillies
fWAR: 1.6 -- rWAR:1.7
Revere tied Span for the league lead in hits last season and finished near the top of the league in batting average. His batting average has dropped a little this season but he's leading all of baseball in triples. If he continues to pile up the triples, he's on pace for a career high slugging percentage. He's always a threat on the bases as he's averaged over 35 steals across the last four seasons. His defense is always exciting as he continues to play all out on the field.