KANSAS CITY -- During Spring Training, the always boisterous and confident Miguel Sano made a bold prediction to his fellow teammate and Dominican Republic native Ervin Santana.
Sano told him they'd both be All-Stars this season, and sure enough his premonition proved correct, as they were both selected to the American League All-Star team to play at Marlins Park on July 11, as announced on Sunday night on ESPN. Sano narrowly missed out on a chance to start at third base in his first All-Star Game presented by Mastercard -- Cleveland's Jose Ramirez won the fan vote -- while Santana is headed to his second Midsummer Classic and his first since 2008.
"He did tell me, and I told him anything is possible," Santana said with a smile. "We just need to put up our numbers and things will take care of themselves."
Both certainly put up impressive numbers, as Sano is hitting .272/.371/.548 with 20 homers, 11 doubles and 58 RBIs in 75 games, while Santana is 10-5 with a 3.07 ERA in 17 starts with 86 strikeouts and 38 walks in 111 1/3 innings.
"I'm extremely happy for those guys," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Ervin has been our anchor since Day 1. He's very deserving and it's his first one since New York nine years ago. Pretty impressive in itself. And then Miggy is a young player who has fought his way into a prominent role on this club as a leader and one of our biggest contributors. I would've loved to have seen him start in that game."
Sano, 24, will also participate in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday, and said he's excited that the game is at Marlins Park in Miami because it's close to his family and friends in the Dominican Republic.
"It's awesome, especially at such a young age to go to my first All-Star Game," Sano said. "My career is just starting, so there are a lot of things that can happen, and hopefully this won't be my last one."
Santana, 34, had to wait nine years in between All-Star Game appearances, but is back after putting up one of the best first halves of his career. The right-hander leads the Majors with three shutouts and has allowed zero or one run in 11 of his 17 starts. He gave up a run in his lone All-Star Game appearance, at Yankee Stadium in 2008, surrendering a solo homer to Matt Holliday, while Joe Mauer was his catcher.
"It means a lot," Santana said. "Even though it's a long time since I've been to the All-Star Game, I worked hard and never gave up. My teammates were behind me every time I've pitched, and they've put up a lot of run support for me, which helps."
While Sano and Santana will represent the surprising Twins, manager Paul Molitor and others believed that closer Brandon Kintzler deserved to be an All-Star, as he has a 2.55 ERA and is tied for second in the American League with 21 saves.
"To me, he's an All-Star," Santana said. "Even though they didn't select him to go. He put up the numbers."
Fans can cast ballots for the 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote on MLB.com, Club sites and their mobile devices until 4 p.m. ET on Thursday. The winners, as chosen exclusively by online fan voting totals, will then be announced during "MLB Tonight" live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 p.m. Extensive coverage throughout the Final Vote will be provided by MLB Network and MLB.com, including interviews with the candidates, frequent updates, heat maps indicating where votes are being cast for each candidate, news on player and club campaigns, and a running countdown clock leading up to the announcement.
Now in its 16th season, with more than 680 million votes cast, the Final Vote again will include social votes on the last day of balloting, as Twitter support for the 10 candidates over the final six hours of balloting will count toward their vote totals. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ET on Thursday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners.
On Tuesday, July 11, at 7:30 p.m. ET, tune in to the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 88th All-Star Game, in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.