Every Wednesday, FOX Sports North takes a look at which athletes’ stock is trending up and whose is trending down.
In other words, who’s heating up and who is cooling off.
With that in mind, let’s take stock of the current Minnesota sports scene.
Ervin Santana, Twins pitcher
It’s fitting that Ervin was born Johan Ramon Santana, because the Twins’ starter is looking an awful lot like a bona fide ace early on. Santana (the current one) has allowed just one earned run in 13 innings of work across two starts so far. He has a relatively meager seven strikeouts over that span, but has also walked just four batters. We’ll take it.
Miguel Sano, Twins third baseman
At 6-foot-4, 260 pounds it’s never exactly surprising when Sano hammers a ball into the stratosphere, but his early power surge is a welcome step forward after a disappointing 2016. He’s hitting .333/.429/.792 with two home runs so far, and came within inches of a third after blasting a three-run triple off the top of the wall at Target Field.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Wolves center
Towns has begun to slowly purge Kevin Love form the Wolves’ record book. He got things started Tuesday night, breaking Love’s single-season scoring record of 2,010 points, set during the 2013-14 season, and now has 2,033 points on the season. Towns and teammate Andrew Wiggins reached another milestone in a heartbreaking loss to the L.A. Lakers, becoming the first tandem to score 40 points each in a single game since Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant did it in 2015.
Byron Buxton, Twins center fielder
It’s still too early for the inevitable hot takes and think pieces on Buxton’s strikeout rate, but his struggles at the plate have been a little alarming. He’s fanned on 44 percent of the pitches he’s swung at so far, and wasn’t in the lineup for the Twins’ tilt with the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday. The surface-level numbers are just as unsettling. Buxton is hitting .069/.100/.203 through 29 at bats.
ByungHo Park, Twins designated hitter
Park is off to a solid start in Triple-A, but was placed on the seven-day disabled list Tuesday with a strained right hamstring. He’s hitting .375/.444/.563 with three doubles so far, while Kennys Vargas, another contender to unseat Robbie Grossman for the Twins’ DH spot, is hitting .313/.421/.563 with a home run and a double.
Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey team
Duluth reached the national championship game over the weekend for the first time since winning it all in 2011, but came up just short in a thrilling battle with the University of Denver. Denver went up 3-1 after Jarid Lukosevicius scored three goals in the second period, but the Bulldogs poured it on late, outshooting the Pioneers 17-3 in the third period and cutting the deficit to just one goal with 5:21 remaining, but it wasn’t enough. The Bulldogs are losing seven seniors this year, including top scorers Alex Iafallo, Dominic Toninato and Kyle Osterberg, and will likely have a more difficult path to the finals next year.