Five Tribe Stars Finalists for MLB’s First All-MLB Team
Bob Toth | On 26, Nov 2019
Major League Baseball announced on Monday a new annual award to recognize its star performers for a job well done over the course of the year.
The 2019 All-MLB Team, presented by Scotts, will give fans an opportunity to pick one player at each primary position, three outfielders, five starting pitchers, and two relievers for new annual post-season honors. There will be no individual league recognition, as MLB will honor the game’s best.
Voting began on Monday, November 25, and will continue through 5 PM ET on Tuesday, December 3. Fans may vote once every 24 hours. First and second team honors will be announced during this year’s Winter Meetings, held during the second week of December in San Diego.
The Indians have five different players up for the first All-MLB Team voting. First baseman Carlos Santana, shortstop Francisco Lindor, catcher Roberto Perez, starter Shane Bieber, and reliever Brad Hand are all eligible.
Santana’s return to Cleveland provided a big spark to the team’s lineup as he was one of the most productive and consistent players on the roster over the course of the season. He ended the year with a .281 batting average, a .397 on-base percentage, and a .515 slugging mark to give him a .911 OPS. He matched a career high with 34 homers (2016) and drove in 93 runs, a new personal best. He was an All-Star for the first time midseason, participated in the Home Run Derby in the game held at Progressive Field, and was rewarded for his strong season at the plate with his first career Silver Slugger Award following the campaign.
Santana faces off against the White Sox’s Jose Abreu, Mets’ rookie star Pete Alonso, Pittsburgh’s Josh Bell, Atlanta vet Freddie Freeman, Houston’s Yuli Gurriel, Oakland’s Matt Olson, and the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo.
Lindor made up for lost time at the beginning of the season to put up impressive numbers again at the plate. He rapped 40 doubles, a pair of triples, and 32 homers to give him his third straight 30-homer season and his second straight 20+ homer, 20+ stolen base season. Like Santana, he appeared as a member of the American League All-Star team in July (doing so for the fourth straight year) and after the season he was selected for his second Gold Glove Award.
Lindor’s competition at short includes the White Sox’s Tim Anderson, the Cubs’ Javier Baez, Boston’s Xander Bogaerts, Minnesota’s Jorge Polanco, Oakland’s Marcus Semien, Colorado’s Trevor Story, and the Yankees’ Gleyber Torres.
Behind the plate, Perez was one of the best in the game and was recognized already this offseason with his selections for the Rawlings’ Gold Glove, Wilson’s Defensive Player of the Year at catcher, and Wilson’s overall Defensive Player of the Year awards (becoming the first Indians player to win the latter). Thrust into the starter’s role following last November’s trade of 2018 All-Star Yan Gomes, Perez put up career numbers at the plate and behind it, putting himself on the radar as one of the top backstops in the league. He played in a career-high 119 games, hitting .239 with a .321 OBP and a .452 slugging mark. He tripled his career homer best by sending 24 bombs over the wall. Under the mask, he led the league with a 41% caught-stealing percentage and did not allow a single passed ball in 993 2/3 innings of work. He led the AL in defensive WAR (2.6), putouts (1,082), double plays turned by a catcher (12), total zone runs at catcher (15), and range factor, and was second in fielding percentage (.997 after committing just three errors).
Bieber’s name became known across the Major League landscape after he took home the Most Valuable Player from Cleveland’s All-Star Game. He carried an impressive first half all the way through the season, proving there was to be no sophomoric slump for the second year starter. He finished the year with a 15-8 record in 34 games (33 starts), posting a 3.28 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP, a league-best 1.7 walk rate, and a 10.9 strikeout per nine rate after recording 259 strikeouts in 214 1/3 innings. He led baseball with three complete games and two shutouts.
Bieber is joined by Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, and Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Dodgers; Gerrit Cole, Zack Greinke, and Justin Verlander of the Astros; Patrick Corbin, Max Scherzer, and Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals; Jacob deGrom of the Mets; Jack Flaherty of the Cardinals; Lucas Giolito of the White Sox; Sonny Gray of the Reds; Lance Lynn and Mike Minor of the Rangers; Charlie Morton of the Rays; Eduardo Rodriguez of the Red Sox; and Mike Soroka of the Braves.
Hand made his third straight All-Star team while remaining one of the better closers in baseball. A late season slump hurt his overall numbers some, but he still went 6-4 on the year with 34 saves in 39 opportunities. He missed recording a fourth straight 100-strikeout season due to making fewer appearances than in the past few years, but he was still among the best in the game averaging 13.2 strikeouts per nine innings of work.
Relievers up for recognition for the All-MLB team include Aroldis Chapman (Yankees), Ken Giles (Blue Jays), Josh Hader (Brewers), Liam Hendriks (A’s), Seth Lugo (Mets), Roberto Osuna (Astros), Taylor Rogers (Twins), Will Smith (Giants), Brandon Workman (Red Sox), and Kirby Yates (Padres).
Voting can be done online once each day at MLB.com/fans/all-mlb-team.
Photo: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire (via Getty Images)