The American League All-Division Teams

The PL Staff voted on who they think should make up the MLB All-Division Teams for the American League. Vote on which team you think is best!

At the Winter Meetings in December, votes were tallied for the 2019 All-MLB Team. It was the first of its kind in MLB history, and included standout names like Mike Trout, Gerrit Cole, and Christian Yelich.

All-Fill-in-the-Blank teams, no matter the sport, carry some weight. The honor is significant for any player to receive. In certain sports, there are contract implications regarding whether or not a particular player makes it on to one of these squads, adding to their importance.

For fans, the stakes are a little different. Whether an award is an All-Team nomination, MVP, Gold Glove, or even Silver Slugger, individual honors for players provide coveted bragging rights for fans to “prove” that their player is better than another player on a rival team. I’m sure somewhere out there was a Braves fan arguing with a Mets fan because Pete Alonso got the first-team honors over Freddie Freeman. Such debates provide extra entertainment to professional sports for many fans.

In an effort to take the All-MLB Team (and even the All-Star teams) a step further, I thought about what All-Division teams would look like. Imagine a Cardinals fan and a Cubs fan going at it over who they thought was better – Paul Goldschmidt or Anthony Rizzo? Or a Sox and Yankee fan going back and forth – Xander Bogaerts or Gleyber Torres? Is Max Scherzer the number one starter of the NL East or is Jacob deGrom? The arguments would be endless!

With the help of 42 Pitcher List staff members, I tried to figure out the All-Division Teams. To determine each division’s All-Division Team, the Pitcher List staff voted for one player at each position for the five teams in each of the three American League divisions. In addition to position players, the staff voted for five starting pitchers and two relief pitchers from each division (the same structure as the All-MLB Team). Voters were told to consider the complete player when voting, and to base their votes on how they feel right now (not to base their votes on just 2019 statistics, so a little different than the All-MLB Team with more of an eye towards the present).

After reading some analysis on several of the selections from each division, I want you to vote on which American League All-Division Team you think is the best out of the three that the staff voted for. The National League All-Division Teams are currently in the works. So, without further adieu, your American League All-Division Teams!

 

American League East All-Division Team

 

PositionPlayerVotes (out of 42)
CatcherGary Sanchez35
First BaseTrey Mancini24
Second BaseDJ LeMahieu35
Third BaseRafael Devers33
Short StopXander Bogaerts30
Outfield 1Mookie Betts42
Outfield 2Aaron Judge41
Outfield 3Austin Meadows33
Designated HitterJD Martinez37

There were not many close calls in the East’s position player voting outside of first base, despite only one player (Mookie Betts) being a unanimous decision. Trey Mancini edged out Luke Voit by seven votes, which was by far the closest match up in the East. With the 2019 season being freshest on their minds, it isn’t hard to understand why the voters leaned Mancini over Voit. Mancini is coming off of a career season in which he smacked 35 home runs and almost hit the 100 RBI mark. Voit, meanwhile, struggled with his health for the better part of the season, and failed to live up to the lofty expectations that some fans had him pegged for. Mancini’s 3.6 fWAR was noticeably better than Voit’s 1.7, though Voit did play in significantly fewer games. I do think that if we did this exercise one year from now, the distance between these two would shrink. Voit can really barrel the ball, and should put on quite the show if he stays healthy in Yankee Stadium.

It was not too surprising that JD Martinez received 32 more votes than Giancarlo Stanton (5), despite Stanton being a former MVP and in his prime. His first season as a Yankee in 2018 was somewhat disappointing given the excellence he produced the season prior in Miami. Stanton’s 2019 was an injury-riddled disaster. Martinez, on the other hand, had a pair of outstanding seasons including a World Series championship with the Red Sox. It was a different Red Sox versus Yankees matchup that I found most interesting. Bogaerts received 30 votes to Torres’ 11 (Bo Bichette received one vote). I do think that Bogaerts, for now anyway, is the right choice. He had a 6.8 fWAR and 141 wRC+ compared to Torres’ 3.6 and 125 in 2019. In the field, Bogaerts had a slightly better Infield Outs Above Average (-3) to Torres’ -7.  I was just surprised that the gap between these two was so large given they both are coming off excellent seasons. Nevertheless, I think that the voters went nine-for-nine for the American League East position players.

The American League East pitching staff did not end up too shabby itself:

PositionPlayerVotes (out of 42)
Starting Pitcher #1Gerrit Cole42
Starting Pitcher #2Chris Sale41
Starting Pitcher #3Blake Snell40
Starting Pitcher #4Luis Severino28
Starting Pitcher #5Charlie Morton27
Relief Pitcher #1Aroldis Chapman34
Relief Pitcher #2Ken Giles12

This rotation is unbelievably stacked. It contains multiple Cy Young Award winners, World Series champions, and 300 strikeout seasons. Unsurprisingly, there were no Orioles (nor did any Orioles pitcher receive a single vote). The results do kind of have a Hall of Fame voter vibe to them, as there was one voter who did not feel that Chris Sale was one of the five best pitchers in the division, and there were two that felt that way about Blake Snell. I think that not only should Cole, Sale, and Snell have received 42 votes, but Charlie Morton should have as well. Luis Severino outproducing Morton in the balloting was surprising. An honest discussion revolving around Severino, Tyler Glasnow (15 votes), and Hyun-Jin Ryu (5 votes) for that fifth spot could be pretty thought-provoking, as all three have shown stretches of brilliance, but also stretches of prolonged injury-related absences. In the end, I do think the right five names were chosen, but the voting totals felt a bit off.

The bullpen for the American League East got a little interesting. Aroldis Chapman ran away with the first spot, securing 34 of 42 votes and rightfully so. The pinstriped 31-year-old closer is a six-time All-Star with 273 career saves.  The second spot was a tie between Nick Anderson and Ken Giles. As the unofficial All-Division Team voting czar, I went with Giles. Though Anderson is coming off a great season, Giles is a much more proven commodity who outperformed Anderson in many of the major pitching statistics, perhaps most notably ERA and WHIP. While Anderson did post a ridiculous 15.2 K/9 and 1.62 FIP, I would still go with the more proven Giles. However, it is Adam Ottavino (10 votes) who really should have gotten the nomination here. Ottavino already thrives as the setup man for Chapman, and his 29 holds were tied for the second most in baseball in 2019. While his age, high career WHIP, and closing experience don’t match Giles’, I would still rather have him and his dominant slider pitching the eighth inning for this All-Division Team. Oh, how lucky the Yankees have it.

 

American League Central All-Division Team

PositionPlayerVotes (out of 42)
CatcherYasmani Grandal30
First BaseJose Abreu30
Second BaseLuis Arraez20
Third BaseJose Ramirez30
Short StopFrancisco Lindor41
Outfield 1Eloy Jimenez31
Outfield 2Whit Merrifield31
Outfield 3Max Kepler20
Designated HitterNelson Cruz31

There were two particularly close matchups in the Central Division. Luis Arraez edged out Cesar Hernandez by just five votes at second base, and Max Kepler defeated his teammate, Eddie Rosario, by one vote. I think I agree with both. Arraez over Hernandez and Jonathan Schoop (seven votes) is a fine, albeit boring, choice. Second base is clearly a flaw for the Central squad. That is not to be too harsh on Arraez (who hit .334 last year), but when you consider that the East has LeMahieu at the keystone, and Jose Altuve will be rocking it for the West, Arraez looks unexciting on the Central All-Division Team.

Kepler over Rosario should be an easy call. Rosario was a disaster in the field compared to Kepler in 2019. Only Shin-Soo Choo, out of 92 qualifying outfielders, had a worse Expected Catch Percentage to Actual Catch Percentage ratio than Rosario. In 2019 Kepler’s fWAR was 4.4 and Rosario’s was only 1.2. Kepler’s breakout with the bat was backed up by the advanced data, and his career walk rate of 9.9 more than doubles that of Rosario (4.4) – easy call there.

While the hitting results may have lacked any real intrigue, the pitching provided some eye-opening findings:

PositionPlayerVotes (out of 42)
Starting Pitcher #1Shane Bieber42
Starting Pitcher #2Mike Clevinger40
Starting Pitcher #3Lucas Giolito36
Starting Pitcher #4Jose Berrios33
Starting Pitcher #5Matthew Boyd20
Relief Pitcher #1Brad Hand32
Relief Pitcher #2Taylor Rogers25

Shane Bieber being the only unanimous choice floored me. Mike Clevinger and Lucas Giolito both should have been unanimous. These studs stand out to me as the, without a doubt, three best starting pitchers in the AL Central. Bieber had the best 2019 of the group, but I don’t think anyone believes Clevinger is too far behind him, if behind him at all. Giolito, meanwhile, is one year removed from being the worst starting pitcher in baseball. I get it. But, he clearly took a corner (or more) last season, and I would put him firmly behind the two members of the Tribe as the third best in the Central. After those three is where it gets a little more debatable.

Jose Berrios may be the clear fourth, but I would not put him in the same class as the previous three. His lack of swing-and-miss stuff caps his ceiling a bit, though he is still a solid pitcher.

What stood out the most was Matthew Boyd taking the #5 spot. Granted, despite the insane amount of homers he surrendered and the ERA over 4.50, Boyd had a bit of a breakout last year. He experienced a boost in SwStr% to 14.0 and a jump in his K/9 to 11.56. Nevertheless, I think it is highly likely that one year from now the Starting Pitcher #5 winner is either Michael Kopech (1 vote) or a re-emerged Carlos Carrasco (16 votes). Kopech did struggle in his four starts upon returning from Tommy John last year, and of course Carrasco was overcoming leukemia, so I do not find the Boyd vote egregious. I would not be surprised if in 2020 he is ranked third out of these three arms.

 

American League West All-Division Team

PositionPlayerVotes (out of 42)
CatcherSean Murphy20
First BaseMatt Olson38
Second BaseJose Altuve42
Third BaseAlex Bregman23
Short StopCarlos Correa19
Outfield 1Mike Trout42
Outfield 2George Springer39
Outfield 3Joey Gallo22
Designed HitterYordan Alvarez28

It should immediately be noted that the voting took place before the Houston cheating scandal broke. While George Springer and Altuve won their positions on this team rather easily, and Yordan Alvarez made it to the bigs after the Astros had allegedly stopped their sign stealing, it is Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa who I think would have been most impacted here. Monster stud Anthony Rendon lost to Bregman by six votes, (Matt Chapman had the other two votes), and one has to think that this scandal may have been enough for at least four PL Staff members to flip their votes to Rendon for third base. As for Correa, he edged out Marcus Semien by just two votes! I will not tamper with the results, but I do think that one can assume this recent scandal may have flipped those positions.

One year ago I did not think it was possible to contain the hype on Shohei Ohtani, but here is Alvarez at DH taking him down by a pretty sizeable 15 votes. I guess that is what happens when you have a 178 wRC+, 1.067 OPS, 27 homers, and a 14.1 BB% in your first 369 PAs!

Joey Gallo over Michael Brantley (12 votes) and Ramon Laureano (6 votes) was a little surprising. There is no doubt he has a high ceiling, and on a per-game basis may have been the best bat of these three last year, but he is coming off a major injury, has a career K% of 38.4%, and 2019 was his first season batting over .250 in the Majors. In fantasy baseball, I would probably take Gallo over the other two, but for the All-Division Team, I think I would prefer the reliability of Brantley, or the elite arm and speed of Laureano.

PositionPlayerVotes (out of 42)
Starting Pitcher #1Justin Verlander42
Starting Pitcher #2Zack Greinke35
Starting Pitcher #3Shohei Ohtani32
Starting Pitcher #4Corey Kluber30
Starting Pitcher #5Lance Lynn25
Relief Pitcher #1Roberto Osuna27
Relief Pitcher #2Liam Hendriks27

Ah, there’s Ohtani! There is no doubt that he showed elite skills in his 51.2 career innings pitched, and I would be a fool to question his presence on this rotation. I am just surprised to see him getting more votes than Corey Kluber already. A two-time Cy Young Award winner, Kluber has been such a stud in his career. Of course, he hardly pitched last year and when he did, it did not go well. Yet, Ohtani didn’t pitch at all last season due to his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Would it be shocking if Ohtani outpitched Kluber this year? Not at all. But wow, did the tide turn on Kluber quickly.

Lance Lynn‘s time on this team may be short-lived due to rising potential stars like Jesus Luzardo, AJ Puk, and Forrest Whitley, but it was an astute decision on the part of the voters to acknowledge the tremendous season Lynn just had in which he showed real strides from his previous body of work. His pretty solid slider complimented an elite fastball that catapulted Lynn to a 3.13 FIP and 12.5 SwStr%. The time for the kids will come, but on this particular player, I am with the voters. Lynn is the right choice.

So that wraps up your three American League All-Division teams. Vote on the poll below for which one you think is best! In case you need a reminder, here are the full rosters:

AL EastAL CentralAL West
C – G. Sanchez
1B – T. Mancini
2B – DJ LeMahieu
3B – R. Devers
SS – X. Bogaerts
OF1 – M. Betts
OF2 – A. Judge
OF3 – A. Meadows
DH – JD Martinez
C – Y. Grandal
1B – J. Abreu
2B – L. Arraez
3B – J. Ramirez
SS – F. Lindor
OF1 – E. Jimenez
OF2 – W. Merrifield
OF3 – M. Kepler
DH – N. Cruz
C – S. Murphy
1B – M. Olson
2B – J. Altuve
3B – A. Bregman
SS – C. Correa
OF1 – M. Trout
OF2 – G. Springer
OF3 – J. Gallo
DH – Y. Alvarez
SP1 – G. Cole
SP2 – C. Sale
SP3 – B. Snell
SP4 – L. Severino
SP5 – C. Morton
SP1 – S. Bieber
SP2 – M. Clevinger
SP3 – L. Giolito
SP4 – J. Berrios
SP5 – M. Boyd
SP1 – J. Verlander
SP2 – Z. Greinke
SP3 – S. Ohtani
SP4 – C. Kluber
SP5 – L. Lynn
RP1 – A. Chapman
RP2 – K. Giles
RP1 – B. Hand
RP2 – T. Rogers
RP1 – R. Osuna
RP2 – L. Hendriks

Bieber: Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire
Verlander: Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire
Betts: Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire
Trout: Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire
Feature Graphic Designed by James Peterson (Follow @jhp_design714 on Instagram & Twitter)

Pete Ball

Pete Ball is a graduate of Emmanuel College and a die-hard Red Sox fan. In addition to his work at Pitcher List, he co-hosts the Fantasy Baseball "Pitch Count Podcast". Follow him at @PitcherListPete.

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