Byron Buxton looked like the superstar the Twins always thought he could be in April.
And fans took notice.
Buxton was third in fan voting for the All-Star Game throughout the first phase of balloting and entered the final day of the second phase in line to be voted into the game despite being on the injured list with a fractured wrist. But in the end, he was narrowly outvoted by Blue Jays outfielder Teoscar Hernández, ending Buxton’s bid to become an All-Star for the first time in his career.
The final tallies were revealed Thursday night. Buxton finished fourth among American League outfielders behind Mike Trout, who is also injured, Aaron Judge and Hernández. Hernández claimed the last spot over Buxton by less than 5,000 votes.
It’s the first All-Star Game selection for Hernandez, 28, who’s in his sixth season overall and fourth with the Blue Jays. Hernandez is hitting .298 in 59 games with 11 home runs and 47 RBIs. The Dominican was a Silver Slugger after the shortened 2020 season when he hit .289 with 16 homers and 34 RBIs in 50 games.
While Buxton has been sidelined for most of this season with injuries — first suffering a Grade 2 hip strain, then fracturing his left hand as a result of being hit by a pitch — he’s certainly played like an All-Star when healthy.
In 27 games, Buxton is hitting .369 with a .409 on-base percentage and .767 slugging percentage. He’s hit 10 home runs and 11 doubles, and his 2.7 WAR, per FanGraphs, is still 30th in the league and leads all Twins players despite missing more than a month of action.
“He’s playing against the best guys in the world and just dominating and taking over games when he’s been out there,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “To say he’s been an All-Star in the games that he’s played would be a vast understatement.”
And had Buxton stayed healthy, he almost assuredly would have been representing the Twins at Coors Field on July 13.
Now, the question is who will. Each team must have one representative. Designated hitter Nelson Cruz and starting pitcher José Berríos are among those who will have a strong case when the pitchers and reserves are named. The remainder of the All-Star rosters will be revealed on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN.