These are the top races in All-MLB voting

November 1st, 2020

It's a remarkable accomplishment for a Major League player to be voted as the best at any position, but let's be honest, some players will certainly find it more difficult than others to crack the second All-MLB Team based on the depth at their respective spot on the diamond.

After all, unlike All-Star teams or MVP voting, the All-MLB team does not separate players based on playing in the American League or National League. That means Mike Trout is competing with the likes of Juan Soto, Mookie Betts and Ronald Acuña Jr. It also pits MVP Award candidates José Abreu and Freddie Freeman against one another.

The selection process for the 2020 All-MLB Team runs through 2 p.m. ET on Nov. 13. MLB Network will exclusively announce the official All-MLB Team presented by CohnReznick, which recognizes and commemorates the top performances by players in the 2020 regular season, during the week of Dec. 7.

Voters are asked to consider only performances during the regular season when casting their ballots. Fans will make one selection at each position (including designated hitter), except when it comes to outfielders (three picks), starting pitchers (five) and relief pitchers (two).

With that in mind, here's a look at the five positions with the deepest All-MLB Team nomination pools:

1. Shortstop

Good luck picking the top shortstop from the shortened 2020 regular season. Fernando Tatis Jr. was the frontrunner for the National League MVP Award for a stretch en route to finishing with 17 homers, 45 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Those numbers would have had him on pace for 46 home runs, 123 RBIs and 30 steals over a regular 162-game season. But look at some of his competition: Corey Seager hit .307 with 15 home runs and 41 RBIs. Trea Turner hit .335 with 12 homers, 12 steals and a shortstop-best .982 OPS. The reigning MLB batting champion Tim Anderson hit "only" .322 with 10 homers and five stolen bases. Those guys were all so good in 2020 that it overshadowed the numbers put up by fellow shortstop stars like Xander Bogaerts (.300 average, 11 home runs, eight steals) and Trevor Story (.289 average, 11 homers, 15 stolen bases).

It wasn't just the big name players that put up some gaudy numbers either. Orioles shortstop José Iglesias hit an impressive .373 while posting a .956 OPS in his debut season in Baltimore. Angels utility man David Fletcher posted a solid .319/.376/.425 line while playing above average defense all over the infield.

2. Relief pitchers

White Sox closer Alex Colomé finished the 2020 regular season with a 0.81 ERA -- and that was good enough to finish just fourth among relievers. That's right, four relievers -- Colomé, Devin Williams (0.33 ERA), Jake Diekman (0.42) and Nick Anderson (0.55) -- finished with a sub-1.00 ERA this season.

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Williams led the way with his 0.33 ERA, while his ridiculous 17.7 strikeouts per nine innings (53 K's in 27 innings) left him tied with Indians reliever -- and fellow All-MLB Team nominee -- James Karinchak for the top mark in the Majors. Anderson, meanwhile, paced all pitchers with an eye-popping 0.49 WHIP to pair with his 0.55 ERA.

That's already a relatively deep group before even considering the strong campaigns from the likes of Drew Pomeranz (1.45 ERA, 14.0 K/9 IP), Jeremy Jeffress (1.54 ERA), Liam Hendriks (1.78 ERA, 14 saves), Trevor Rosenthal (1.90 ERA, 11 saves), Brad Hand (MLB-leading 16 saves) and Edwin Díaz (1.75 ERA, 17.5 K/9).

3. Starting pitchers

It seems safe to assume that most (if not all) fans will select Shane Bieber, who earned the MLB pitching Triple Crown after finishing 8-1 with a 1.63 ERA and 122 strikeouts, with one of their five votes. NL Cy Young Award favorite Trevor Bauer (1.73 ERA, 100 strikeouts) seems like another relative lock for most.

That leaves only three other spots for the likes of Yu Darvish, Jacob deGrom, Max Fried, Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda and Dinelson Lamet, among others.

Darvish went 8-3 with a 2.01 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. deGrom, the reigning back-to-back NL Cy Young winner, led the NL with 104 strikeouts. Fried went a perfect 7-0 with a 2.25 ERA. Kershaw had a 0.84 WHIP to pair with a 2.16 ERA -- his 11th sub-3.00 ERA in 12 full seasons. Maeda posted an MLB-leading 0.75 WHIP. Lamet had a 2.09 ERA and 93 strikeouts.

The list goes on and on, with other candidates including Dallas Keuchel (1.99 ERA), Chris Bassitt (2.29 ERA), Corbin Burnes (2.11 ERA) and Gerrit Cole (94 K's). And, oh by the way, Lucas Giolito threw a 13-strikeout no-hitter on Aug. 25 en route to racking up 97 strikeouts.

4. First base

First base actually has the fewest number of options of any position outside of designated hitter, but it's certainly not lacking for worthwhile candidates. Many will immediately lock in a vote for NL MVP Award candidate Freddie Freeman -- and it's hard to blame them after the Braves' superstar hit .341 with 13 home runs, 53 RBIs and a 1.102 OPS this season.

There's certainly nothing wrong with voting for Freeman, but don't sleep on the impressive seasons from José Abreu and Luke Voit. Abreu hit .317 with 19 home runs while leading the AL with 76 hits and pacing the Majors with 60 RBIs. Voit, meanwhile, clubbed an MLB-leading 22 homers in just 56 games -- good for a pace of 63 in a 162-game span.

It doesn't stop there, either. Dominic Smith hit .316 with 10 homers and a .993 OPS in a breakout season with the Mets. Brandon Belt hit .309 with a 1.015 OPS, while Paul Goldschmidt also hit over .300.

5. Outfield

Sure, it helps that you get three votes in the outfield -- but that doesn't mean you'll have an easy time narrowing it down. Juan Soto was limited to 47 games, but he still finished with 13 homers and 37 RBIs, all while leading the NL with a .351 average and pacing the Majors in on-base percentage (.490) and slugging percentage (.695). That adds up to a jaw-dropping 1.185 OPS. Mike Trout finished second among outfielders with a .993 OPS to go with his 17 home runs and 46 RBIs in 53 games. Mookie Betts was an NL MVP Award candidate after hitting 16 homers and swiping 10 bases in his debut season with the Dodgers.

Nobody could blame you for locking in those three votes, but that would mean leaving out Ronald Acuña Jr. (14 homers, eight steals, .987 OPS) and Bryce Harper (13 homers, eight steals, .962 OPS). It would also ignore breakout seasons from Teoscar Hernández (16 homers, six stolen bases) and Mike Yastrzemski (10 homers, 35 RBIs, .968 OPS), as well as Kyle Lewis' sensational rookie campaign that included 11 homers, five steals and one unforgettable grand slam robbery.

So with that in mind, go vote for your best players of 2020 -- but don't say we didn't warn you that it might be harder than you expect.