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Selecting an All-AL East team

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MLB just announced the All-MLB team, so let’s follow up with a division-specific version.

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

Major League Baseball recently announced their All-MLB selections and we are getting on that groove to take the time and select our All-AL East team for the 2021 season. This division had four playoff contenders and a rebuilding team with some very exciting individual performers, so we should have a great pool of players to pick from.

Catcher: Mike Zunino (Rays)

.216/.301/.559 - 4.5 fWAR

Zunino had one of the more underrated 2021 campaigns in all of Major League Baseball. In fact, despite the flashiness of Perez’ HR total, Zunino actually had the better wRC+ (134 to 127) and also led all catchers in the league in WAR.

It’s hard to envision a lot of success with a .301 OBP, but when your ISO sits at truly absurd .342 it starts to make sense.

First Baseman: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays)

.311/.401/.601 - 6.7 fWAR

Another no-brainer as the AL MVP runner-up had a phenomenal season and only lost the award due to the superhuman, never before seen efforts of Shohei Ohtani. Guerrero fulfilled all the lofty expectations the baseball world had for him as a prospect and then some.

Second Baseman: Marcus Semien (Blue Jays)

.265/.334/538 - 6.6 fWAR

The Blue Jays really had a terrific infield in 2021. Semien was another selection for the All-MLB team and he obviously has his spot locked in here also. The former Oakland Athletic really maximized his earning potential following that one-year deal.

Brandon Lowe deserves an honorable mention, quietly putting up a five-win season as a staple of that Rays lineup.

Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox)

.295/.370/.493 - 5.2 fWAR

The first challenging selection for this team, both Bogaerts and Bichette put up great seasons worthy of the starting spot. In the end it’s the Aruba native who gets the nod, primarily because although he played in 15 fewer games he ultimately accumulated more WAR.

Neither player really stands out defensively and Bogaerts had the edge in OBP (.370 to .343) and SLG (.493 to .484).

ThIrd Baseman: Rafael Devers (Red Sox)

.279/.352/.538 - 4.7 fWAR

Unlike his teammate, Devers gets in uncontested in part due to his outstanding season, but also with the help of a rather weak field in the AL East this season. Joey Wendle was a distant second with a serviceable season for Tampa.

Left Field: Teoscar Hernandez (Blue Jays)

.296/.346/.524 - 3.9 fWAR

The Blue Jays outfielder plays primarily right field, but he logged 250 innings in left this season and for the purposes of this selection he moves over there. Arozarena had a solid season, but placed well behind Hernandez in most categories, especially ISO (.227 to .185).

Center Field: Cedric Mullins II (Orioles)

.291/.360/.518 - 5.3 fWAR

Mullins was one of the best players in all of baseball and is awarded with this selection following a 30-30 season. Mullins played in all but three games and stole 30 bags while also homering 30 times. Honorable mention to Kiké Hernandez who not only had a magnificent October, but probably the best season of his career as Boston’s centerfielder.

Right Field: Aaron Judge (Yankees)

.287/.373/.544 - 5.5 fWAR

The first New York Yankee to get a spot on the team really says a lot about the disappointment elsewhere on the position players depth chart for the Yanks, but the glass half-full part is the consistency of Aaron Judge virtually locking him a spot on the team. Aside from a bout with Covid, this was Judge’s healthiest season since his breakout 2017 campaign and he made it count.

Designated Hitter: Giancarlo Stanton (Yankees)

.273/.354/.516 - 2.6 fWAR

The second Yankee on the lineup completes the hitting side of things. JD Martinez also had a pretty good season for the Red Sox, but Stanton’s was better from top to bottom — and although Yankees fans would’ve rather seen their highest paid hitter claiming a position in the outfield for this team, at least for 2021 that was not the case.

Pitching staff:

Starting Pitcher: Robbie Ray (Blue Jays)

2.84 ERA - 3.5 fWAR - 6.7 bWAR - 32.1 K% - 6.7 BB% - 1.05 WHIP

Ray is the AL Cy Young winner and gets the ace spot here with an outstanding combo of run prevention, strikeout totals and innings pitched.

Starting Pitcher: Gerrit Cole (Yankees)

3.23 ERA - 5.3 fWAR - 5.7 bWAR - 33.5 K% - 5.6 BB% - 1.06 WHIP

That Wild Card loss shouldn’t take anything away from what was a really good season from Cole. This wasn’t the year that the former No. 1 pick won his first Cy Young, but he remains a dominant force and it feels like a matter of time until he gets his hands on the award.

Starting Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi (Red Sox)

3.75 ERA - 5.6 fWAR - 4.6 bWAR - 25.5 K% - 5.6 BB% - 1.19 WHIP

Boston didn’t have Sale for much of the season, but Eovaldi filled the ace role and did it pretty well. The former Yankee and Ray has this third spot locked in our All-AL East team.

Starting Pitcher: Jordan Montgomery (Yankees)

3.83 ERA - 3.3 fWAR - 3.4 bWAR - 24.5 K% - 7.7 BB% - 1.28 WHIP

Finally able to stay healthy, Montgomery reverted back to his 2017 ways with a pretty formidable season for a player of his caliber. The left-hander is that middle of the rotation rock that every GM wants, maybe even a No. 2 when things break his way.

Starting Pitcher: John Means (Orioles)

3.62 ERA - 2.5 fWAR - 4.0 bWAR - 22.7 K% - 4.4 BB% - 1.03 WHIP

This was a very hard selection. Berrios and McClanahan were statistically better, but neither pitched sufficient innings to really be considered here. Eduardo Rodriguez had his share of bad luck and his peripherals were really good, evident by his contract with the Tigers, but a 4.74 ERA is simply too much.

It came down to Means and Matz. The Orioles ace is the pick because of his significantly lower WHIP (1.03 to 1.33).

Reliever: Jonathan Loáisiga (Yankees)

2.14 ERA - 2.4 fWAR - 3.3 bWAR - 24.4 K% - 5.7 BB% - 1.02 WHIP

Loáisiga had a breakout season and you can read it a little more about it here. The right-hander made a pretty strong case for being the best non-closer reliever in the sport this year.

Reliever: Garrett Whitlock (Red Sox)

1.96 ERA - 1.6 fWAR - 3.0 bWAR - 27.2 K% - 5.7 BB% - 1.10 WHIP

It’s hard to get a better Rule 5 pick than Whitlock. The former Yankee farmhand became the relief ace for Alex Cora and the Red Sox, often being used for multiple innings and obviously with tremendous success.

That concludes our All-AL East team:

Lineup:

  1. Cedric Mullins (Center Field)
  2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (First Base)
  3. Rafael Devers (Third Base)
  4. Aaron Judge (Right Field)
  5. Marcus Semien (Second Base)
  6. Giancarlo Stanton (Designated Hitter)
  7. Xander Bogaerts (Shortstop)
  8. Teoscar Hernandez (Left Field)
  9. Mike Zunino (Catcher)

Rotation:

  1. Robbie Ray
  2. Gerrit Cole
  3. Nathan Eovaldi
  4. Jordan Montgomery
  5. John Means

Relievers:

  1. Jonathan Loáisiga
  2. Garrett Whitlock