Nelson Cruz and Taylor Rogers, come on down. You’re the first Twins in line to be named to the All-MLB First Team, a newly created distinction by ESPN. The push is to make up for the fact that other major American sports have them, and baseball just does mid-season all-stars, a Cy Young, an MVP and the league’s best rookie.
What about an All-MLB First Team?
So ESPN conducted a poll of 68 media members and asked them to vote on players from each position for the First Team, Second Team and Third Team. Players could be from either league, and there were 5 starters and 5 relievers chosen.
Taylor Rogers was one of 5 relief pitchers, and Nelson Cruz was by himself as the DH on the First Team. That’s a nod to how media members around the country view those two guys after their important contributions to a breakout 2019 season for the Twins.
Mitch Garver was the third-team selection across the Majors, behind J.T. Realmuto and Yasmani Grandal.
Rogers probably remains underrated in national circles, but his selection on the first team is well earned. The Twins lefty served as the primary closer in Minnesota this year, pitching 69 innings with a 2.61 ERA. He earned 30 saves and his strikeout rate (32.4%) and walk rate (4%) are elite.
Cruz needs no explanation. The 39-year-old DH clubbed 41 home runs and hit an incredible .311/.392/.639, including coming through in clutch situations time and time again, overcoming a ruptured wrist tendon, and serving as the primary veteran leader in the clubhouse.