Major League Baseball introduced its first-ever All-MLB Team awards last year to give a more comprehensive honor that covered the full breadth of a big league season, complementing the All-Star Game selections that are awarded just past the season’s halfway point.
Now, the All-MLB Team is back for its second installment.
The selection process for the 2020 All-MLB Team presented by CohnReznick is underway and runs through 2 p.m. ET on Friday, Nov. 13, with 50% of the vote coming from fans and 50% coming from a panel of experts.
You can vote right here, and may continue to do so once every 24 hours between now and when voting ends on Nov. 13. The 2020 All-MLB Team will be announced on the week of Dec. 7 on MLB Network.
There will be a first team and second team All-MLB, and voters are asked only to consider performance during the regular season when casting their ballots. Each team will include one selection at each position (including designated hitter and three outfielders, regardless of specific outfield position), five starting pitchers and two relievers. In order to include as many deserving candidates as is necessary in a given year, there will be no set number of nominees per position.
For the 2020 team, there are 55 position-player candidates (six first basemen, seven second basemen, nine shortstops, seven third basemen, five designated hitters and 14 outfielders) and 32 pitcher candidates (20 starters and 12 relievers).
The up-and-coming Padres, fresh off their first postseason appearance in 14 years, lead all teams with nine candidates (second baseman Jake Cronenworth, shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., third baseman Manny Machado, catcher Austin Nola, outfielders Trent Grisham and Wil Myers, starter Dinelson Lamet and relievers Drew Pomeranz and Trevor Rosenthal).
Two American League Central division rivals in the Indians (second baseman Cesar Hernandez, third baseman José Ramírez, designated hitter Franmil Reyes, starting pitchers Shane Bieber and Carlos Carrasco and relievers Brad Hand and James Karinchak) and White Sox (first baseman José Abreu, shortstop Tim Anderson, catcher Yasmani Grandal, outfielder Eloy Jiménez, starting pitchers Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel and reliever Alex Colomé) are next with seven candidates each. The Braves and Dodgers each have six nominees.
Xander Bogaerts, Gerrit Cole, Nelson Cruz, Jacob deGrom, DJ LeMahieu, J.T. Realmuto, Anthony Rendon and Mike Trout all have a chance to be the first two-time, All-MLB first team players. Members of last year’s All-MLB second team, including Ronald Acuña Jr., Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Grandal, Liam Hendriks, Hyun Jin Ryu and Juan Soto are also nominees again for 2020.
Winnowing the game’s stars down to a short list of 32 is difficult enough, but the shortened 60-game regular-season schedule caused by the coronavirus pandemic might make these races even tighter. How does one decide, for instance, between Abreu (19 HR, .987 OPS) and Freeman (13 HR, 1.102 OPS) for first-team honors at first base? The left side of the infield is absolutely stacked with matchups like Anderson (.322 BA) vs. World Series MVP Corey Seager (15 HR, 41 RBI) vs. Tatis (17 HR, 45 RBI, 11 SB) at shortstop, and Machado (16 HR, 47 RBI) vs. Ramírez (17 HR, 46 RBI, 10 SB) vs. Rendon (.915 OPS) at third base. And, somehow, only three outfielders can come away with first-team honors out of a pool that includes Acuña, Bryce Harper, Jiménez, Myers, Soto, Trout and Mike Yastrzemski.
So, all those tough decisions are now in front of you. All-Star Game selections still remain a high honor and a vital part of the game, but with the absence of the Midsummer Classic this year, the All-MLB Team honor carries even larger weight. Let the debates begin.