By Kenny Van Doren and Payton Havermann
With this odd season coming to an end, we never saw a mid-summer classic. Also, we don’t know if there will be an honorary All-Star team. So, Kenny Van Doren and Payton Havermann have made their own teams for the 2020 season.
Catcher: Salvador Pérez, Kansas City Royals
The former World Series MVP has picked up where he left off after missing last season due to injury. Perez hit .333 with an OPS of .986. He is arguably the best catcher in baseball and has never hit this well in his career. Fun fact: he has not hit into a double play all season.
First baseman: Luke Voit, New York Yankees
Ever since the Yankees acquired Voit in 2018 from St. Louis, he has been a top-5 first baseman in the American League. Voit is hit .277 with an OPS of .948. He also led all of baseball in homers with 22.
Second baseman: DJ Lemahieu, New York Yankees
The platoon Bronx Bomber has been electric at the plate this year. He led all of baseball in BA (.364), while leading the American League in OBP (.421), OPS (1.011), and OPS+ (177). He is a top-3 front runner for the MVP, but Shane Bieber and Mike Trout exist.
Third baseman: Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles Angels
The newly World Series champ made the move to Hollywood this past offseason to join the reigning MVP, Mike Trout. After missing a few games because of surgery, Rendon hit .286 with an OPS of .915. Fun fact: he led all of baseball in grounding into double plays with 10.
Shortstop: Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox
The best shortstop in the city of Chicago rounds up the infield. He hit .322 with an OPS of .886. He led the American League with 45. He leads off for the most explosive offense in all of baseball.
Left fielder: Alex Verdugo, Boston Red Sox
Verdugo came over to Boston in the Mookie Betts trade and has been nothing but steller. He has improved his BA to .308 and his OPS to .844. On the field, he has been the best outfielder. Even though he’s the Red Sox CF, we have him playing LF.
Center fielder: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
Earlier in the season, Trout missed a few games due to the birth of his child, but since then he led a struggling Angels team into the playoff hunt, but ended up losing the spot to the Astros. Even playing with regressed numbers this season, Trout is a candidate for MVP. He hit .281 with an OPS of .993, and this is his first season in the last four years with an OPS below 1.000.
Right fielder: Teoscar Hernández, Toronto Blue Jays
The young Blue Jay lineup had to have an All-Star, but it is not Bo nor Vlad Jr. It is a guy who flies more under the radar. Hernández has had his first real break out year ever since he was traded from Houston in 2017. He batted .289 with an OPS of .919; both career highs.
Starting pitcher: Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians
The reigning All-Star game MVP is hitting the bump first. The front runner for American League MVP and Cy Young won the Pitching Triple Crown (Major league leader in wins, ERA, and strikeouts); he was the first winner since Justin Verlander in 2011.
Designated hitter: José Abreu, Chicago White Sox
The starting first baseman for the White Sox had to make an appearance here. As he is in the talks for MVP, Abreu hit .317 with an OPS of .987. He was a league leader in games (60), hits (76), and SLG (.617). He led the MLB in RBIs (60), total bases (148), and grounding into double plays (10).
Catcher: JT Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies
In a rather down year for the backstop position in the National League, Realmuto didn’t disappoint. Realmuto made sure to produce in his contract year slashing .266/.349/.491, good enough for a career high OPS of .840. Realmuto was hands down the best catcher in National League this year and is no doubt going to be paid handsomely. The question is, will it be in the city of brotherly love?
First baseman: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
The likely MVP of the league, Freeman is a no-brainer at this position as he was able to post his insane numbers all season without slumping even one time. Freeman played in all 60 games and bat .341 (2nd to only Juan Soto. More on him later.) and also put up a jaw-dropping .462 OBP and .640 SLG which was good for an OPS of 1.102. Freeman also led the league in doubles (23) just for good measure. Pair that with a division title, and Freeman is hands down the first base All-Star. Oh yeah. He did all this after having Covid as well.
Second baseman: Jake Cronenworth, San Diego Padres
My goodness, what a bad year for this position. Almost no team in the National League was able to put out a second baseman that truly excelled offensively. Almost no team. Jake Cronenworth was the only truly above average second baseman offensively which means he kind of gets this spot by default. However this doesn’t take away from how good of a season Cronenworth has actually had. He’s been one of the main cogs in a resurgent Padres team. Cronenworth is slashing a very solid .285/.354/.477 which is good for an OPS of .831. He is also a leading candidate in a wild National League ROTY race and is a big reason the Padres are back in the postseason.
Third baseman: Manny Machado, San Diego Padres
After a largely disappointing first year in San Diego, Manny Machado came back in year two with a vengeance. Machado posted career highs for a total season in Batting average (.304), on-base percentage (.370), slugging percentage (.580) and OPS (.950). Pair all of this with his stellar defense at the hot corner and Machado may very well have been the MVP for the upstart Padres.
Shortstop: Trea Turner, Washington Nationals
This was a tough spot to pick as Turner, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Corey Seager all have legitimate arguments for the spot. Trea Turner, however, just barely beats the others offensively so he gets the nod here. Turner hit .335 and set career highs in OBP (.394), SLG (.588) and OPS (.982). He also has been his typical speedy self with 12 stolen bases this year. Throw in the fact he leads the NL in triples (4) and hits (78), and Turner may very well be the best leadoff hitter in baseball and more than deserving of an all star spot.
Left fielder: Juan Soto, Washington Nationals
Juan Soto is simply incredible. The man is only 21 years old and he may already very well be the most complete hitter in baseball. Soto bat .351/.490/.695 good for an OPS of an incredible 1.185. He led the National League in all of those categories. Soto may very well have been cheated of the home run title as he missed 13 games this year and still had 13 homers. Simply put, Juan Soto is a phenom and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Center fielder: Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies
Had to cheat a little bit as Harper doesn’t play center much at all but he deserved to make this team as he had a largely overlooked but still great offensive season. Harper had his typical mediocre batting average (Not that it matters) of .268 but made up for it with his power and plate discipline. Harper got on base at a .420 clip, leading the National League in walks drawn with 49 and added 13 home runs with a .542 slugging percentage. It’s a shame the Phillies nightmare of a season overshadowed a very resurgent year for Harper.
Right fielder: Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers put a lot of faith into Mookie Betts with a massive extension before the season, and he has so far rewarded them for their faith. Betts was one of the most valuable players in the National League with an OPS of .927 and incredible defense in right. Combine this with how successful the Dodgers were this season, and Betts is likely to be in the MVP conversation come the end of the year.
Starting pitcher: Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs
The NL starting pitcher could’ve easily been Trevor Bauer, Jacob Degrom, or even Max Fried. I chose Yu Darvish because he’s been the most important to his team however. Darvish has the second best ERA in the NL (2.01), career low home run rate (0.6 per 9 innings), career low walk rate (1.7 per 9 innings) and a superb K/9 of 11.0. Darvish has also been the most valuable pitcher in the league in WAR (2.6) so he gets the nod here.
Designated hitter: Wil Myers, San Diego Padres
This pick may come as a surprise to some but Myers deserves some recognition for the season he’s had. After signing a massive 6 year extension before 2017, Myers struggled at the plate in his 3 years following the extension, and was seen as a bust of a signing by most. This year, however, Myers has bounced back, posting career highs in many statistical categories with a slash line of .288/.353/.606 and an OPS of .959. The resurgent Myers has been yet another great part of a fun Padres squad.
Edited by Emma Moloney