Minnesota had a pitcher added to the 2017 All-Star team, whose name wasn’t Santana. Brandon Kintzler was surprisingly added to the American League All-Star team, for the July 11th Classic. An unlikely prospect a year ago. He has traveled up and down, and all-around, to get to the All-Star game.
His journey began when he was drafted by the San Diego Padres in 2004. He played in San Diego’s lower minor league teams for a couple of years, before deciding to give up baseball. He missed the game and returned with the independent St Paul Saints. of the American Association in 2009.
He was given a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers mid-season 2009. He pitched in the minors until 2010, when he was called up to the bigs, and made his major league debut on September 10th.
He had some shining moments with the brewers between 2011 and 2015, even though they were always tempered by injuries. While he was injured, another player would always take his place, until another opportunity came along, for him. They released him in 2015.
He signed a minor league contract with the Minnesota Twins, for the 2016 season. He was called up after Minnesota closer Glen Perkins was injured. Perkins was replaced by Jepsen as closer, with Kintzler now the setup man. Jepsen failed as a closer, and Kintzler took over. He finished the season with 17 saves, in 54 games.
Minnesota manager said Kintzler was his closer, in spring training. He hasn’t disappointed, currently leading the American League in saves. With that distinction, he was added to the All-Star team.