Commentary: Voting for the 2021 All-MLB Team was no easy task.

With the 2021 Major League Baseball (MLB) season now finished, awards season has come around in full swing, and with that comes the All-MLB Team. The All-MLB Team is a collection of players- one per position- five starting pitchers and three relief pitchers who truly excelled above the rest this year. There are no league restrictions so players from both the American and National League are available to select, and there are plenty of valid candidates at each position. I had a very hard time voting for my team, but the players I voted for earned their spots on the All-MLB Team.
First Base
The first position to vote on was first base, and this was one of the easier picks to make. I voted for Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., of the Toronto Blue Jays. Vlad had an unbelievable season, making a push for the Triple Crown all year, earning a Silver Slugger Award and finishing as a top three candidate for the American League MVP. Other strong contenders were Freddie Freeman and Yuli Gurriel, who also had impressive seasons.
Second Base
Second base was also a pretty easy decision. I selected Marcus Semien, also of the Toronto Blue Jays. Semien really impressed in his first year both in Toronto and at second base. He won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award for his efforts this year. In addition to this, Semien broke the single season homerun record for second basemen. The next closest candidate was National League Rookie of the Year Jonathon India.
Picking a shortstop was one of the hardest things to do this year. There were so many great options, but I selected Fernando Tatis Jr of the San Diego Padres. Tatis was tremendous all over the field this year, and he earned his spot as a top three National League MVP candidate. The other players that I was close to choosing were Trea Turner, who won the batting title in the National League, and Brandon Crawford, who won a Gold Glove.
Third Base
Third base this year was a three-man race. It came down to Austin Riley of the Atlanta Braves, Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians or Rafael Devers of the Boston Red Sox. In the end, I selected Austin Riley of the World Champion Atlanta Braves. Riley should have been a top three MVP candidate, but I am sure he will finish in the top five to go along with his Silver Slugger Award. I believe that Riley had the best overall season in comparison to the other candidates in the league.
Picking a catcher was a coin toss between Buster Posey and Salvador Perez. They both had tremendous offensive seasons, bringing home each league’s respective Silver Slugger Award, which made it even harder on me to have to pick one over the other. After much deliberating, I selected Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals. Perez set a new homerun record for catchers with 48 in 2021. Defensively, he was great as well, as he was a runner-up for the American League Gold Glove.
Designated Hitter
Picking a DH was a no brainer, and I think any other baseball fan would agree with me. It is Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels. Ohtani had one of the most impressive seasons in the history of baseball, being an elite pitcher and hitter. He won the American League Silver Slugger at his position, and he was named the American League MVP. The only other candidate I can see getting some votes is Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros.
The outfield spots offer the most choices out of all the position players which made picking just three very difficult. My picks in the outfield were Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies, Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals and Cedric Mullins of the Baltimore Orioles. All three players won Silver Slugger Awards, and Harper was named the National League MVP. I think besides these three the next two players I would have selected would have been Bryan Reynolds of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Nick Castellanos of the Cincinnati Reds.
Starting Pitchers
Picking just five pitchers was the hardest part of this process. There are so many talented starters in the league today, but I had to pick five, and these were flat out the best starters this season. My picks were Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers, Lance Lynn of the Chicago White Sox, Robbie Ray of the Toronto Blue Jays, Walker Buehler and Max Scherzer both of the Los Angeles Dodgers. All of these pitchers finished in the top 5 spots for the Cy Young awards, with Burnes and Ray taking home the title for the National League and American League, respectively. These guys are most likely going to finish in the top ten for the All-MLB Team. If I could have had two more spots, I would have selected Logan Webb of the San Francisco Giants and Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals as additions to the team.
Relief Pitchers
Similar to the starters, picking only two relievers was very difficult for the high-level bullpens in the game today. When it was all said and done, I went with the two players who received their league’s respective Reliever of the Year Award: Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers and Liam Hendriks of the Chicago White Sox. These two were the most reliable bullpen arms of the year, and I think they will continue to be looked at as elite for the next few years. Besides the two best guys, I think my next two picks would be Garrett Whitlock and Andrew Kittredge.
The All-MLB Team will be announced on November 23 on MLB Network.
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