Major League Baseball has launched a new project this winter, called the All-MLB Team. Think of it like the All-Star team, except it’s MLB-wide instead of split between the two leagues, and it takes into account the full season instead of just the first half.
The process goes like this. On Monday, a total of 90 nominees were announced, including 60 position players and 30 pitchers. The winners will be determined by a vote, with half the vote coming from fans and half coming from a panel of experts. The final result is intended to be a lineup of the sport’s best player at each position that year, which will include a DH, five starting pitchers, and two relievers. The outfielders won’t be separated by position, but rather taken as an overall group with three winners (like with the All-Stars).
The polling is now open, and you can click here to vote once every 24 hours, until 2 p.m. PT on Tue., Dec. 3. In addition to the All-MLB first-team, there will also be a second-team for the runners-up.
As for the A’s nominees, you can probably guess the four names in the running:
- 1B Matt Olson
- SS Marcus Semien
- 3B Matt Chapman
- RP Liam Hendriks
Olson is one of eight candidates at 1B, including record-smashing 53-homer rookie Pete Alonso and Atlanta cornerstone Freddie Freeman. Olson has strong numbers but so does everyone else in the field, and most of them played an extra month than he did, so if he has any chance then it’ll be because voters took his elite defense into consideration (don’t hold your breath on that one).
There are also eight candidates for SS, where Semien’s stiffest competition is probably established stars Xander Bogaerts and Francisco Lindor (and New York darling Gleyber Torres). However, Semien finished well ahead of all of them in the MVP race, where he was nationally recognized as a top-three finalist regardless of position, so it’s easy to make a case for him here. There are only two NL names on the list (Baez, Story), and there’s utterly no case for either of them over Semien, so if Oakland doesn’t get this spot than it’ll be a pretty big snub.
At 3B, Chapman is a superstar but seems likely to get shut out here. The hot corner is absolutely stacked around the league right now, and there are 11 candidates for All-MLB. Unfortunately, they include AL MVP runner-up Alex Bregman, and NL MVP third-place finalist Anthony Rendon, plus other national megastars in Nolan Arenado and Josh Donaldson.
Finally, there are 11 candidates for the two relief spots. Hendriks’ chances depend on what the voters look at — if it’s mostly just saves and name power, like with the criminally ridiculous Reliever of the Year awards, then he has no chance since he didn’t take over the closer role until midseason. But if it’s based on the full body of work, then by all rights it should be him and Kirby Yates, who were far and away the best relievers in the sport this year. Like, it’s not even close.
Add it up, and there is one position where the A’s should be the front-runner (Semien, SS), one where they have a real chance (Hendriks, RP), and two more where they’re great but have virtually no hope of winning this particular vote (Olson/Chapman, 1B/3B).
Now, without further ado, go and vote!