Would Joe Mauer or Josh Willingham Make a Better Minnesota Twins Rep for 2012 MLB All-Star Game?

As the 2012 MLB All-Star game approaches, and fans vote away at the second round of the ballot, there is one question Minnesota Twins’ fans might be asking themselves: who would make a better Twins representative at the 2012 MLB All-Star game?

The game is only a little under a month away, and fans are anxious to get a representative from Minnesota. We may be the worst team in our league right now, but we still have some major All-Star potential on our team that deserves some consideration.

Fan-favorite Joe Mauer came in second among catchers in the American League for the first round of the All-Star ballot, but I have heard many fans complain that Mauer doesn’t “deserve” to play in the All-Star game. Many are saying left-fielder Josh Willingham would be a better pick to play in the game, which will be in Kansas City on July 10th.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Willingham has been an impeccable player for the Minnesota Twins, with 13 home runs this season, putting him 12th overall in the American League for home runs. Yet even though he is an impressive player right now, is he truly All-Star potential? And how does he stack up against Joe Mauer?

I’d like to take a minute to compare the two statistically, and I’ll let you be the judge of who truly “deserves” to be in the 2012 MLB All-Star game.

Our 29 year-old hometown hero Joe Mauer boasts a respectable .306 batting average this season, with 66 hits and 31 RBI. For his major-league career, Mauer holds an impressive .322 batting average.

North Alabama native, 33 year-old Josh Willingham, holds a similar record this season, with a slightly lower batting average of .283, 62 hits, and 45 RBI. However, for the course of Willingham’s major-league career, he only holds an unimposing batting average of .263.

It becomes more and more difficult for one to say Willingham could even hold a candle to Mauer when you compare the fact that Willingham, in 219 at-bats, has had 60 strike-outs this season. Mauer has had half that number in 216 at-bats this season.

All in all, I think it’s safe to say the choice is obvious. Joe Mauer is our fan-favorite hometown hero for a reason. He may have hit a few less homers than Willingham this season, but when you really compare the two side by side, Mauer has been the kind of long-term talent that is deserving of an All-Star game. In spite of injury and losing streaks, he continues to perform well for the Twins season after season. Joe Mauer is truly an All-Star. Josh Willingham, to be quite honest, is simply having a good season.

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