The All-MLB Team, created in 2019, has provided the answers to an oft-asked question following every season: Who were the best players at each position this year?
The All-MLB Team is split into a First and Second Team, with each team featuring one selection at catcher, first base, second base, shortstop, third base and DH, as well as three outfielders (regardless of specific outfield position), five starting pitchers and two relievers.
The teams are chosen through a voting process in which 50% of the vote comes from fans and 50% comes from a panel of experts. The nominees will be announced in November, and the winners will be unveiled in December.
Throughout the rest of the regular season, we will be breaking down the top players at each position and separating them into three groups: favorites, contenders and dark horses. Today, we cover the starting pitcher candidates for the 2023 All-MLB Team presented by MGM Rewards.
All stats below are through Saturday.
Kevin Gausman, Blue Jays
Gausman didn’t make the All-MLB Team last season despite posting a 3.35 ERA with 205 K’s and an MLB-leading 2.38 FIP. He’s having a similar season in 2023, with a 3.23 ERA, an AL-leading 195 strikeouts and a 2.85 FIP in 150 1/3 innings.
Spencer Strider, Braves
Strider has the highest ERA (3.46) among the All-MLB starting pitcher favorites, but he’s the Major League leader in strikeouts (236) and FIP (2.79). The 24-year-old is on track to set an AL/NL record for K/9 (13.9) by a qualified pitcher in a non-shortened season.
Zac Gallen, D-backs
Coming off last year’s unbelievable finish, Gallen has burnished his ace bona fides in 2023. With a 3.11 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP and 179 strikeouts over 168 innings, the NL Cy Young Award might be his to lose.
Luis Castillo, Mariners
After a stellar 2022 campaign with the Reds and Mariners, Castillo has kept it up in his first full season with Seattle, recording a 3.15 ERA with personal bests in WHIP (1.04), BB/9 (2.1) and K/BB ratio (4.73). Averaging 10 strikeouts per nine innings, he’s also on pace for the second 200-K season of his career.
George Kirby, Mariners
Seattle’s control artist has a 3.28 ERA over 156 1/3 innings with one of the best K/BB ratios in history. Kirby has walked just 14 batters while striking out 142 (10.14 K/BB).
Blake Snell, Padres
Snell had a 5.40 ERA through nine starts this season, but he’s put together an incredible run of dominance, posting a 1.48 ERA with 57 hits allowed and 136 K’s over 97 innings spanning his past 17 starts. He leads MLB in ERA (2.73), ranks second in hits per nine innings (6.3) and is fourth in strikeouts (184).
Justin Steele, Cubs
Steele has been a consistent force on the mound all season long. His current 2.80 ERA, which ranks second in the Majors, is actually his high-water mark for the year, which says a lot about the kind of season the 28-year-old lefty is having.
Gerrit Cole, Yankees
The Yanks are having their worst season in decades, but Cole has been one of the bright spots for the Bronx Bombers. The AL Cy Young favorite ranks among MLB’s top 10 in bWAR (first with 5.0), ERA (third with 2.95), innings (tied for third with 168), WHIP (tied for second with 1.04) and strikeouts (fifth with 181).
Framber Valdez, Astros
Valdez has a 5.33 ERA in the second half, but he threw a no-hitter on Aug. 1 and had another hitless start (7 IP) against the Tigers on Friday. With a 3.40 ERA and 159 K's over 161 2/3 innings on the season, the southpaw is still in All-MLB contention.
Logan Webb, Giants
After recording a 2.90 ERA over a career-high 192 1/3 innings last year, Webb is trending toward his first 200-inning season in 2023. He has carried the Giants’ rotation with a 3.51 ERA, 163 K’s and just 27 walks (his 1.4 BB/9 leads the NL) in 174 1/3 innings over 27 starts.
Kodai Senga, Mets
Senga has lived up to the hype after coming over from Japan and signing a five-year, $75 million deal with the Mets. After an inconsistent start to the season, the righty has pitched to a 2.81 ERA over his past 17 outings, striking out 121 batters over 99 1/3 innings in that span and establishing his “ghost fork” as one of the most unhittable pitches in the Majors.
Kyle Bradish, Orioles
The O’s entered this season without a clear ace, but Bradish has filled the void. The second-year pitcher ranks fifth in the Majors with a 3.03 ERA and has recorded 130 K’s over 133 2/3 innings. He’s been as good as anyone over his past 19 starts, registering a 2.53 ERA.
Zack Wheeler, Phillies
Though his 3.59 ERA is considerably higher than last season (2.82), Wheeler’s peripherals are largely the same. Wheeler owns MLB's fourth-lowest FIP (3.01) and has pitched to a 2.68 ERA over 53 2/3 innings since the All-Star break.
Sonny Gray, Twins
Gray has faded a bit in the second half, but he’s still firmly in the running for All-MLB consideration. The right-hander has a 3.06 ERA (sixth lowest in MLB) with 151 K’s over 150 innings, and he’s given up just six home runs all season.
Corbin Burnes, Brewers
It looked like Burnes was recapturing his Cy Young form when he dominated in July (1.85 ERA), but his All-MLB chances took a hit when he allowed five earned runs or more in two of his past three starts.
Freddy Peralta, Brewers
Peralta can be as dominant as any starter in the Majors when he’s on, and boy is he on right now. All-MLB remains a long shot for the righty after he posted a 4.72 ERA over his first 19 starts this season, but he has allowed just seven runs and recorded a 59-to-10 K/BB ratio in 36 innings over his past six starts (1.75 ERA, 14.75 K/9). Again, Peralta's All-MLB chances still aren't great, but what if he finishes out this season pitching like he has over the past month?
Merrill Kelly, D-backs
Kelly missed a month while on the IL with a blood clot in his left leg, so he may not have enough volume by season’s end to earn All-MLB consideration. Still, he owns the fourth-best ERA (2.97) in the Majors over 136 1/3 innings this year, better than his teammate Gallen’s 3.11 mark.
Dane Dunning, Rangers
After excelling in relief to start this season, Dunning moved into the rotation in May after Jacob deGrom went down with an elbow injury. He’s continued to provide valuable innings for Texas, notching a 3.64 ERA over 20 starts. Dunning is averaging only 7.0 K/9 on the year, but he has racked up 39 strikeouts over 29 2/3 innings in August -- including a career-high 12 K’s against the Giants on Aug. 13.
Jordan Montgomery, Rangers
For the second straight season, Montgomery has made an immediate impact after being dealt at the Trade Deadline. The lefty has a 1.73 ERA over four starts in a Rangers uniform, lowering his season figure to 3.12, the eighth best in MLB.
Pablo López, Twins
After posting a 4.24 ERA over his first 19 starts this season, López got back into the All-MLB mix with a 1.22 ERA in six starts from July 20-Aug. 18, though he ran into trouble against the Rangers on Thursday (5 IP, 5 ER). The only pitchers with more strikeouts than López (191) this season are Strider and Gausman.