Breaking down All-MLB Team DH nominees

November 18th, 2021

Voting for the 2021 All-MLB Team presented by Cue Health is underway, and you can help decide which players will be honored as the best of the regular season at each position, 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 Friday at 5 p.m. ET. The 2021 All-MLB Team will be announced Nov. 23 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.

The nominees at each position were revealed on MLB Network, and five designated hitters are up for consideration to be part of the 2021 All-MLB Team, though only two can be chosen.

Here’s a breakdown of each of the All-MLB designated hitter candidates.

, Astros
2021 stats: .277 AVG, 33 HR, 104 RBIs, 1 SB, .877 OPS

After missing most of 2020 with knee injuries, Alvarez was back to his powerful ways in ‘21 for the Astros. His .531 slugging percentage ranked second among DHs behind only Shohei Ohtani, as did his 3.7 WAR, per FanGraphs. Alvarez carried his strength into the postseason, too, netting ALCS MVP honors as the Astros took down the Red Sox.

, Rays
2021 stats: .265 AVG, 32 HR, 86 RBIs, 3 SB, .832 OPS

Cruz’s push toward 500 career homers continued in 2021, a season in which he turned 41 years old. He’s at 449 homers, which may sound pretty far from the 500 mark, but consider the fact that Cruz has hit 233 homers since turning 35 years old, third-most in MLB history behind only Barry Bonds (340) and Henry Aaron (245). Cruz has shown no signs of slowing down, including in ‘21, when he hit 32 homers to mark his eighth season with at least 30 home runs.

, Red Sox
2021 stats: .286 AVG, 28 HR, 99 RBIs, 0 SB, .867 OPS

After posting his lowest OPS since 2013 during the shortened 2020 season, Martinez bounced back in a big way for the Red Sox in '21. He led the Majors with 42 doubles, which also marked a career high. He was an All-Star for the third straight season in which the event was held (excluding 2020), and hit 25-plus homers for the sixth time in his career.

, Angels
2021 stats: .257 AVG, 46 HR, 100 RBIs, 26 SB, .965 OPS

Ohtani truly did it all in 2021, but keep in mind he gets consideration in two spots on this ballot -- as a designated hitter, here, for his performance at the plate, and as a starting pitcher, further down among the choices each voter gets to make. His 46 homers ranked third in the Majors behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (48) and Salvador Perez (48), which is all the more impressive when you factor in that those home runs came between -- and during -- starts on the mound. His stolen-base prowess is worth noting, too. Ohtani’s 26 ranked eighth in MLB and also represented the most by any batter with at least 40 homers this year.

, Yankees
2021 stats: .273 AVG, 35 HR, 97 RBIs, 0 SB, .870 OPS

Stanton played in 139 games for the Yankees in 2021, his most since ‘18, his first year in New York. With that, he showed what power he can provide the Yankees when healthy, slugging .516, his best mark since his 2017 MVP campaign with the Marlins. Stanton had a 122.2 mph batted ball on Aug. 9, extending his personal record of having the hardest-hit batted ball in each individual season tracked by Statcast (since 2015).