1. Twenty-year-old Jorge Polanco gets his chance in the majors
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire's got to have bodies on the bench. You can't play this game without having people on your bench. Polanco was the best alternative without having to make a 40-man roster move. He's the best middle infielder that the organization has right now. Even though he's at the A-ball level, he's the guy that has to come up at this point in time and give Gardy at least an opportunity to make some kind of a move late in the ballgame if he has to.
Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY SportsJim Cowsert
2. Twins catchers have struggled to throw runners out, but it's not entirely their fault
First of all, it's a three-part play. The pitcher's got to hold the runner on and give the catcher an opportunity to throw somebody out. If a guy's going to run down to second base in 3.3 seconds and the catcher throws in 1.8 seconds, you can easily do the math and find out what kind of a time frame the pitcher has to deliver the ball. If the pitcher takes too long and the math's not there, he's not going to throw anybody out. It's just one of those things. Stolen bases aren't what's going to kill you. It's the base hits and giving into the hitter because you're so focused on trying to hold somebody on or have an opportunity to throw them out. I just think that the stolen base can be a very, very overrated stat. Given an opportunity to throw somebody out, they'll throw them out.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY SportsKevin Jairaj
3. Aaron Hicks continues to struggle, and his decision to resume switch hitting is a head scratcher
I think the young man might be getting some bad advice. He certainly isn't going about his business in the right way, the business of being a professional baseball player. There are better ways of handling some of the situations. He has to understand that the Twins' front office and staff will do whatever they can to help, but at some point in time you've got to be responsible for your own actions and you've got to take some initiative to sit down, have some conversations about what it is that you want to accomplish as a professional baseball player and how you're going to get there. I think the Twins are more than happy to help him. They want him to be in a major league uniform. They want him to be a productive major league player, but he's got to give himself an opportunity and so far I don't see where he's given himself that type of an opportunity.
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsBrad Rempel
4. I'm looking forward to watching the Home Run Derby at Target Field next month
I guess there are a lot of guys who would be fun to watch in the Home Run Derby. I'd like to see Miguel Cabrera. I'd like to see Mike Trout. There's a number of guys, to be honest with you. It doesn't matter who they run out there, I'm anxious to see how they handle Target Field. Certainly it's been a pitchers' ballpark over the last four or five years. I think the ball probably is carrying a little bit better, but it certainly will be interesting to see where some of these guys -- whoever's out there -- hit the ball out of the ballpark. It'll be interesting to see where some of these baseballs are going to be landing. It could be kind of fun.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY SportsTim Heitman
5. Several Twins players should be playing in the All-Star Game
I know I'm kind of biased with catchers, but I think Kurt Suzuki has done a really admirable job behind the plate. He's been better than advertised. He's having a really solid year. I think he's very worthy of an All-Star selection. I think second baseman Brian Dozier is worthy of an All-Star selection. I think that he's done a really good job at second base, playing defense. Offensively, probably the only category where he doesn't add up with some of the other candidates is batting average but I think that over the course of the rest of the season, his batting average will continue to climb. I also think that Phil Hughes has an opportunity to be a representative of the pitching staff for the American League.