SAN DIEGO -- Kirby Yates' brilliant season at the back end of the Padres bullpen just might land him on the inaugural All-MLB team. On Monday, Major League Baseball announced the nominees for its 2019 All-MLB Team, for which voting will be split between fans and a panel of experts. Yates was the Padres' sole nominee -- and a very deserving one.
The selection process for the 2019 All-MLB Team begins Monday and runs through 2 p.m. PT on Dec. 3, with 50 percent of the vote coming from fans and 50 percent coming from a panel of experts.
Fans can vote 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.
On paper, Yates is an obvious favorite for one of the two available bullpen places on the first team. He led all relievers with a 1.19 ERA, a 1.30 FIP and 41 saves, while striking out 15 hitters per nine innings.
Yates is up against a group of 10 other relievers vying for the honor. Oakland's Liam Hendriks, the Yankees' Aroldis Chapman and Milwaukee's Josh Hader figure to be among Yates' biggest challengers.
If Yates were to take home the accolade, it would be the latest chapter in one of the sport's coolest revival stories. When the Padres claimed Yates off waivers in April 2017, he was a journeyman reliever with a career ERA above 5.
Then he changed his workout regimen and developed a nasty splitter, and has become one of the most dominant pitchers in the sport. In three seasons with the Padres, Yates owns a 2.31 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP.
"There's been a progression over the last three years, and this is what it's led to," Yates said in September after clinching the Padres' first Major League saves title since Trevor Hoffman in 1998. "It's really been a lot of hard work, and it hasn't been just me. There's a lot of people involved in this."