SAN DIEGO -- You probably didn’t need further proof that the left side of the Padres' infield is ridiculously good. But Major League Baseball unveiled its 2020 All-MLB Teams on Wednesday night, and the left side of the First Team is all Padres.
Tatis was always the front-runner at shortstop, beating out fellow finalists Corey Seager of the Dodgers and Trea Turner of the Nationals. Tatis led all shortstops in fWAR in 2020, showcasing his full five-tool skill set as he blossomed into a superstar. He batted .277/.366/.571 with 17 homers, and he showcased a much improved glove, too, leading all shortstops with seven outs above average, according to Statcast.
Machado's competition at third base was much closer. The Indians’ José Ramírez finished second in American League MVP Award voting, while Machado finished third in National League MVP Award voting. But Machado's season was undeniably excellent. He batted .304/.370/.580 with 16 homers while playing a dazzling third base.
Machado and Tatis finished third and fourth, respectively, in NL MVP voting, marking the first time in franchise history the Padres had two players finish in the top five. After receiving his award on MLB Network on Wednesday night, Machado was quick to point out the ways he and Tatis make each other better.
"He's a hell of a player, and we push each other," Machado said. "That's kind of good, having such a young star like that, seeing him grow every single day, seeing how he works, seeing how he goes about his business and tries to prepare every single day.
"He has a very bright future ahead of him. It's good to have him on our side and next to me every single day, because every single player needs that. We need people to push us to be the best we possibly can."
As for Lamet, he had a strong case for the final place on the All-MLB First Team rotation. The Indians’ Shane Bieber, the Reds’ Trevor Bauer, the Cubs’ Yu Darvish and the Mets’ Jacob deGrom were seemingly locks, with one more spot available.
Lamet's 2.09 ERA in 2020 was the best qualifying mark in Padres history. But the fifth spot on the First Team went to the Braves’ Max Fried (despite his 13 fewer innings, 43 fewer strikeouts and a higher ERA and FIP than Lamet).
Nonetheless, the Padres’ three inclusions on the All-MLB Teams befit their noteworthy on-field improvement in 2020. A year ago, only closer Kirby Yates received the honor, being named to the First Team.
"We have such a great group of guys, our team is young, we have energy," Machado said. "... We were having a great time in San Diego, and our team was clicking like we never have before. It was just exciting to go to the ballpark every day and try to win a ballgame."