Though the All-Star Game enjoyed a welcomed return in 2021, that midseason spectacle remains an incomplete evaluation of the players who made the biggest impact on the full season. That’s why we have the All-MLB Team -- to take the entirety of the regular season into account while selecting a star-laden squad.
The third annual All-MLB Team was announced Tuesday on MLB Network. As was the case in 2019 and 2020, the 2021 team was chosen through a process in which 50% of the vote came from fans and 50% from a panel of experts. The All-MLB Team is split into a First and Second Team, each with one catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop and designated hitter, plus three outfielders, five starting pitchers and two relievers.
This year, the Dodgers led the way with five All-MLB selections, including in-season trade acquisitions Max Scherzer (First Team starting pitcher) and Trea Turner (Second Team shortstop). The World Series champion Braves and the Blue Jays were next, with four apiece.
Presenting the 2021 All-MLB Team …
C: Salvador Perez, Royals
1B: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays
2B: Marcus Semien, Blue Jays*
SS: Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres
3B: Austin Riley, Braves
OF: Juan Soto, Nationals
OF: Bryce Harper, Phillies
OF: Aaron Judge, Yankees
DH: Shohei Ohtani, Angels
SP: Max Scherzer, Dodgers*
SP: Corbin Burnes, Brewers
SP: Walker Buehler, Dodgers
SP: Robbie Ray, Blue Jays*
SP: Gerrit Cole, Yankees
RP: Josh Hader, Brewers
RP: Liam Hendriks, White Sox
C: Buster Posey, Giants
1B: Freddie Freeman, Braves*
2B: Ozzie Albies, Braves
SS: Trea Turner, Dodgers
3B: Rafael Devers, Red Sox
OF: Nick Castellanos, Reds*
OF: Kyle Tucker, Astros
OF: Teoscar Hernández, Blue Jays
DH: Yordan Alvarez, Astros
SP: Shohei Ohtani, Angels
SP: Julio Urías, Dodgers
SP: Kevin Gausman, Giants*
SP: Max Fried, Braves
SP: Zack Wheeler, Phillies
RP: Raisel Iglesias, Angels*
RP: Kenley Jansen, Dodgers*
*Denotes player is a current free agent.
Here’s a closer look at the winners at each position:
First Team: Salvador Perez, Royals
A back-to-back selection at this spot, Perez had an incredible age-31 season. He not only blew past his career high of 27 home runs, but his 48 homers tied Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the Major League lead, broke Hall of Famer Johnny Bench’s 1970 record for most homers by a primary catcher and tied Jorge Soler’s Royals franchise record.
Second Team: Buster Posey, Giants
What a way to go out. After sitting out the 2020 season, Posey came back and helped lead the Giants to a franchise-record 107 wins by posting his highest OPS (.889) since his 2012 NL MVP year, then announced his retirement. This was his first selection to an All-MLB squad.
First Team: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays
Guerrero broke out in a big way this season, tying Salvador Perez for the MLB home run title (48) while leading the Majors in runs (123) and the AL in OPS (1.002). This is the 22-year-old Guerrero’s first selection to this squad, and it feels like the first of many.
Second Team: Freddie Freeman, Braves
Though Guerrero prevented him from being a First Team selection for a second straight year, Freeman can take solace in making the Second Team and -- oh yeah -- winning a World Series ring. He had a strong .300/.393/.503 slash and an NL-high 120 runs this season.
First Team: Marcus Semien, Blue Jays
A Second Team selection at shortstop in 2019, Semien’s difficult 2020 prompted him to take a make-good, one-year deal with the Blue Jays that required a position shift. All he did was set a single-season record for homers by a second baseman (45) while posting an .873 OPS with 102 RBIs and 115 runs.
Second Team: Ozzie Albies, Braves
A first-time selection to the All-MLB Team, Albies became just the fourth second baseman in history with at least 30 homers, 20 steals and 100 RBIs, joining Ryne Sandberg (1990), Alfonso Soriano (2002, 2005) and Javier Báez (2018).
First Team: Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres
Though he battled a left shoulder injury all season, Tatis managed to log a .975 OPS while cranking out 42 home runs, stealing 25 bags, driving in 97 runs and scoring 99. This is the 22-year-old Tatis’ second straight selection to the All-MLB First Team.
Second Team: Trea Turner, Dodgers
Turner had to shift to second base after being dealt from the Nats to the Dodgers at the Trade Deadline. But no matter where he played or for whom, the 28-year-old produced, with a combined .328/.375/.536 slash to win his first batting title and claim his first All-MLB selection.
First Team: Austin Riley, Braves
A huge reason the Braves survived Ronald Acuña Jr.’s absence to go the distance, the 24-year-old Riley stepped up with a .303 average, 33 homers, 33 doubles and 107 RBIs to become a first-time All-MLB selection.
Second Team: Rafael Devers, Red Sox
With a career-high 38 homers along with 113 RBIs, 101 runs scored and an .890 OPS, Devers’ age-24 season was further confirmation of his growing star profile. Now, he has his first All-MLB selection to show for it.
First Team: Juan Soto, Nationals
Soto only increased the Ted Williams comparisons in his age-22 season by getting on base at an astounding (and MLB-leading) .465 clip while drawing an MLB-high 145 walks. He hit 29 homers and drove in 95 runs to become a third-time All-MLB selection and make the First Team for the second straight year.
First Team: Bryce Harper, Phillies
Harper’s second NL MVP season results in his first All-MLB selection. He earned it by putting up an MLB-best 1.044 OPS and 42 doubles, along with 35 homers, 84 RBIs and 101 runs scored. Guerrero was the only other player with at least a .300 average, .400 on-base percentage and .600 slugging percentage.
First Team: Aaron Judge, Yankees
This season was a strong reminder of what Judge brings to the Yankees when he’s able to post up for a full season. After missing 142 games combined in 2018-20, Judge had a .916 OPS, 39 homers and 98 RBIs in 148 games to earn his first All-MLB selection.
Second Team: Nick Castellanos, Reds
In his age-29 season, Castellanos set career-bests in batting average (.309), OBP (.362), SLG (.576) and homers (34) to earn his first All-MLB selection.
Second Team: Kyle Tucker, Astros
Tucker wasn’t the biggest household name on the AL champion Astros in 2021, but he was their best everyday player. The 24-year-old Tucker broke out with a .917 OPS, 30 homers, 37 doubles and 92 RBIs and is a first-time All-MLB selection.
Second Team: Teoscar Hernández, Blue Jays
Hernández didn’t make the All-MLB cut in a breakout 2020 season in which he won a Silver Slugger. But he achieved both honors this year after posting a .296/.346/.524 slash, 32 homers and 116 RBIs for one of the most explosive offenses in baseball.
First Team: Shohei Ohtani, Angels
Add a first-time All-MLB selection to the treasure trove reeled in by this two-way talent. Ohtani was the first AL player ever with at least 45 homers, 25 stolen bases and 100 runs scored in a season. Not bad for a pitcher.
Second Team: Yordan Alvarez, Astros
After missing the vast majority of 2020 and having surgery on both of his knees, Alvarez returned in a big way (.877 OPS, 33 homers, 104 RBIs) to attain Second Team status, just as he did in 2019.
First Team: Max Scherzer, Dodgers
The future Hall of Famer went a combined 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA, 236 strikeouts and an MLB-best 0.86 WHIP between the Nationals and Dodgers. But what really stood out about his season was the 7-0 record and 0.78 ERA with 79 strikeouts in his first 58 innings as a Dodger. This is Scherzer’s second First Team selection, having also been named to the All-MLB Team in 2019.
First Team: Corbin Burnes, Brewers
The 27-year-old Burnes already claimed his first Cy Young Award this month, and now he has his first All-MLB selection to go with it. His 2.43 ERA, 1.63 Fielding Independent Pitching mark, 6.88 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 176 ERA+ were all MLB-bests.
First Team: Walker Buehler, Dodgers
The 27-year-old Buehler is a first-time All-MLB choice after reaching career highs in starts (33) and innings (207 2/3). That durability came with dependability, as Buehler had a 2.47 ERA and 165 ERA+ to finish fourth in the NL Cy Young voting.
First Team: Robbie Ray, Blue Jays
A dramatic surge in strike-throwing earned Ray both the AL Cy Young and this first career All-MLB nod. Ray led the AL in ERA (2.84), innings (193 1/3), ERA+ (154) and WHIP (1.045) while leading the Majors in strikeouts (248) and drastically reducing his walk rate (from 7.8 per nine innings to 2.4).
First Team: Gerrit Cole, Yankees
Cole is now a perfect 3-for-3 in making the All-MLB Team, and this is his second First Team selection (also 2019). With a 3.23 ERA, 243 strikeouts and AL-best 5.93 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 181 1/3 innings, he finished second in the AL Cy Young voting.
Second Team: Shohei Ohtani, Angels
That Ohtani was selected as one of the 10 best pitchers in baseball this season is testament not only to his unique two-way talent but the completion of his comeback from 2018 Tommy John surgery. In his first full season as a starter since the surgery, he went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 130 1/3 innings. Not bad for a DH.
Second Team: Julio Urías, Dodgers
Urías got the last out of the 2020 World Series but cemented himself as a starter in a 2021 season during which he won an MLB-best 20 games while posting a 2.96 ERA and 138 ERA+ in 185 2/3 innings. This is the 25-year-old’s first All-MLB selection.
Second Team: Kevin Gausman, Giants
Gausman accepted the qualifying offer last offseason and had a brilliant 2021 for the Giants to build his free-agent value, going 14-6 with a 2.81 ERA, 145 ERA+ and 1.04 WHIP in 33 starts. This is the 30-year-old Gausman’s first All-MLB selection.
Second Team: Max Fried, Braves
With Mike Soroka again on the shelf in 2021, the Braves leaned on the 27-year-old Fried in a big way this year. And again, he delivered with a 14-7 record, 3.04 ERA and 145 ERA+ in 28 starts to earn his second straight All-MLB selection. He was on the First Team last year.
Second Team: Zack Wheeler, Phillies
In a year in which so many workloads were scaled back either by injury or choice, Wheeler was the biggest workhorse in baseball (MLB-high 213 1/3 innings) – and a highly effective one, at that. He had a 2.78 ERA, two shutouts and an NL-best 247 strikeouts in his first All-MLB season.
First Team: Josh Hader, Brewers
With 34 saves, a 1.23 ERA and a .126 opponent average that was the best among relievers by 22 points, Hader further established himself as one of the best relievers of his era. This is his second All-MLB selection, having also been on the First Team in 2019.
First Team: Liam Hendriks, White Sox
After signing a three-year, $54 million contract with the Sox, Hendriks delivered his third straight All-MLB season and made the First Team for the second straight year. He had a 2.54 ERA, MLB-best 0.73 WHIP and AL-best 38 saves, 42.3% strikeout rate and 2.6% walk rate in 69 appearances.
Second Team: Raisel Iglesias, Angels
With an AL-leading 59 games finished, the 31-year-old Iglesias put up a 2.57 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and 8.58 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 70 innings to be named an All-MLB selection for the first time.
Second Team: Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
This was a resurgent age-33 season for Jansen, and he has his first All-MLB selection to show for it. In 69 innings of work, he posted a 2.22 ERA (his best since 2017) and struck out 86 batters with a 1.04 WHIP and 38 saves.