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These are the 5 deepest positions in All-MLB voting

@paul_casella
November 30, 2019

While there isn't an easy path to inclusion on the first All-MLB Team, some players will certainly find it more difficult than others to crack the roster based on the depth at their respective position. • VOTE NOW: All-MLB team After all, unlike All-Star teams or MVP voting, the All-MLB

While there isn't an easy path to inclusion on the first All-MLB Team, some players will certainly find it more difficult than others to crack the roster based on the depth at their respective position.

VOTE NOW: All-MLB team

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.

The selection process for the 2019 All-MLB Team runs through 5 p.m. ET on Dec. 3, with 50% of the vote coming from fans and 50% coming from a panel of experts.

You can vote right here, and may do so once every 24 hours between now and when voting ends next Tuesday. The inaugural All-MLB Team will be announced on Dec. 10 at baseball’s annual Winter Meetings in San Diego.

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.

While there is a plethora of ace-caliber starting pitchers up for consideration, the 10 combined spots on the first team and second team lessens the chance for a worthy starter to get snubbed. With that in mind, here's a look at the five positions with the deepest All-MLB Team nomination pools:

1) Third base

Though the inaugural All-MLB teams will be limited to just a first team and second team, the hot corner featured enough starpower in 2019 that it could have produced a solid option for an All-MLB 10th team. The obvious candidates at third base for the two All-MLB spots would seemingly be Anthony Rendon and Alex Bregman. The two were the only non-outfielders in either league to receive any first-place votes in Most Valuable Player Award balloting and both finished with an OPS north of 1.000.

But consider the third basemen who would be left in that case. Eugenio Suárez led all players at the position with 49 home runs. Nolan Arenado hit .315 with 41 homers and 118 RBIs while also winning his seventh consecutive Gold Glove Award. Four other players topped the 35-homer mark -- Josh Donaldson (37), Matt Chapman (36), Mike Moustakas (35) and Eduardo Escobar (35) -- and that doesn't even include 22-year-old Rafael Devers, who hit .311 with 32 homers, 54 doubles and 115 RBIs for the Red Sox.

2) Outfield

Assuming the All-MLB first team will consist of Mike Trout, Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich, it figures to be an intriguing battle for the three second-team spots. Trout and Bellinger won the MVP Award in their respective leagues, while Yelich finished second to Bellinger in his pursuit for a second straight MVP honor. All three players topped the 40-homer mark and had an OPS above 1.000.

Barring a major upset, that leaves the likes of Juan Soto, George Springer, Mookie Betts, Bryce Harper, Ronald Acuña Jr., Ketel Marte and Charlie Blackmon -- among others -- to fight for three spots. Soto had 34 homers and 110 RBIs in a breakout season for the World Series champion Nationals. Springer had 39 homers and a .974 OPS for the AL champion Astros. Acuña, meanwhile, finished three steals shy of a 40-40 season and finished fifth in NL MVP voting -- one spot behind Marte, who hit .329 with 32 homers and a .981 OPS.

That doesn't even take into account superstars like Betts and Harper. Even after slow starts, Betts hit 29 homers to go along with a .915 OPS and Harper finished with 35 homers, 114 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.

3) Designated hitter

J.D. Martinez hit .304 with 36 homers, 105 RBIs and a .939 OPS for the Red Sox this season. Jorge Soler, meanwhile, led the AL with a whopping 48 home runs for the Royals. Yet it's possible that neither player earns a spot on either of the two All-MLB teams. After all, Yordan Alvarez and Nelson Cruz each finished with an OPS above 1.000 and a slugging percentage of at least .630.

Alvarez, who didn't make his MLB debut until June 9, immediately burst onto the big league scene. He hit .313 with 27 homers in just 87 games on his way to winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award. As for Cruz, the 39-year-old just kept slugging in 2019, crushing 41 homers to go along with his .311 average and 1.031 OPS. No player has hit more home runs than Cruz's 244 over the past six seasons.

Not only is it possible to make a compelling case for any of those four players, but the fifth nominee -- Edwin Encarnación -- wasn't too shabby in 2019 either. The veteran slugger clubbed 34 homers in just 109 games between the Mariners and Yankees.

4) Relief pitcher

The good news is fans can vote for up to two relief pitchers. The bad news? That still means some really good relievers will be left off the All-MLB teams. After all, four nominees had a sub-2.00 ERA this season: Kirby Yates (1.19), Liam Hendriks (1.80), Brandon Workman (1.88) and Ken Giles (1.87).

Before just penciling in those four for first team and second team, however, consider some of the other options. Sure, Josh Hader struggled at times on his way to a 2.62 ERA, but he still led all relievers with a 0.81 WHIP and a remarkable 16.4 strikeouts per nine innings, which was the fourth-highest single-season mark in MLB history. Elsewhere, Aroldis Chapman had another dominant season (2.21 ERA, 13.4 strikeouts per nine) and Roberto Osuna led the AL with 38 saves while posting a 0.88 WHIP.

5) Shortstop

From Javier Báez to Francisco Lindor to Trevor Story, plenty of shortstops garnered preseason MVP hype entering the 2019 campaign. Yet while each of those players made solid contributions this season, it was another shortstop -- Oakland's Marcus Semien -- that ultimately generated the most MVP consideration.

Semien finished third in AL MVP voting after posting career highs in homers (33), RBIs (92), batting average (.285), on-base percentage (.369), slugging percentage (.522), runs (122) and hits (187). He was also one of just five players to play all 162 games in '19.

Not to be outdone, White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson had a breakout season of his own, improving his batting average by 95 points (from .240 in 2018 to .335 in '19) to win the AL batting title. As if all that wasn't enough to think about, Xander Bogaerts had 33 homers and 117 RBIs, Story racked up 35 homers and 23 stolen bases and Gleyber Torres -- who started 73 games at shortstop and 64 at second base -- clubbed 38 homers.

Paul Casella is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella.