The National League All-Division Teams

Pete Ball provides some commentary on the National League All-Division Teams, as voted on by the PL Staff. Vote on which team you think is best!

Back in January, the Pitcher List staff voted on the American League All-Division Teams. Of course, every team appeared stacked, but the AL East stood out as the clear head honcho. This was proven in the poll at the end of that article, where the AL East received almost 75% of all Pitcher List readers’ votes.

This time around, we’re doing the National League All-Division Teams.

Which pitcher in the pitcher-loaded NL East received the most votes? How many unanimous (out of 42 voters) players were selected? Was touted prospect Gavin Lux — just 82 career plate appearances into his major league career — able to get the vote over breakout stud Ketel Marte in the NL West?

Well, here they are, your National League All-Division Teams!

National League East All-Division Team

 

Starting with the hitters:

PositionPlayerVotes (out of 42)
CatcherJT Realmuto41
First BaseFreddie Freeman40
Second BaseOzzie Albies40
Third BaseJeff McNeil35
Short StopTrea Turner42
Outfield 1Ronald Acuna Jr.42
Outfield 2Juan Soto40
Outfield 3Bryce Harper35

There was very little competition for these nine spots in the NL East. The voting blowouts included two unanimous players in Trea Turner and Ronald Acuna Jr., and JT Realmuto probably should have been unanimous as well (Kurt Suzuki stole a vote).

Of all these wide margins, though, the one that stood out the most was Pete Alonso only receiving two votes to Freddie Freeman‘s 40. Coming off a historic rookie season in which Alonso swatted 53 HR and earned the Rookie of the Year award, I was expecting him to put up more of a fight in the voting than he did.

My prediction aside, the Pitcher List staff got it right.

If Freeman’s glove doesn’t separate him from Alonso enough, then his track record should. Freeman has played at least 158 games in three of the last four seasons, during which he’s hit .303 with a .948 OPS. The Braves slugger is the right choice here, but it should be noted that Alonso was almost a full win better according to fWAR (4.8 to 4.0) in 2019. The Polar Bear is on the rise!

As for the NL East’s pitching:

PositionPlayerVotes (out of 42)
Starting Pitcher #1Max Scherzer42
Starting Pitcher #2Stephen Strasburg41
Starting Pitcher #3Jacob deGrom40
Starting Pitcher #4Patrick Corbin28
Starting Pitcher #5Aaron Nola22
Relief Pitcher #1Will Smith27
Relief Pitcher #2Edwin Diaz20

Stephen Strasburg was not unanimous?

Two people didn’t vote for Jacob deGrom!?

Aside from those two absolute blunders (come on, guys!), I think I would have taken Noah Syndergaard over Aaron Nola. It’s certainly close (Syndergaard received 16 votes to Nola’s 22) and I may come to regret that take but Syndergaard has simply pitched at as high or higher of a level than Nola for a longer period of time. While his 2019 was disappointing, he still out-performed Nola in FIP, WHIP, BB%, HR%, SwStr%, and fWAR. I think both young arms are due for improved 2020s and wouldn’t be surprised if they both make this team next year.

Despite his awful 2019, the PL Staff’s confidence in Edwin Diaz is not waning too much. Diaz defeated two of his Mets teammates to earn the second relief pitcher spot on the team. Those two Mets – Dellin Betances and Seth Lugo – received 11 and 10 votes respectively. The PL Staff seems to be in on the Mets bullpen for 2020… or at least in comparison to their NL East foes.

National League Central All-Division Team

 

The NL Central had some much closer outcomes:

PositionPlayerVotes (out of 42)
CatcherWillson Contreras34
First BaseAnthony Rizzo24
Second BaseKeston Hiura27
Third BaseKris Bryant25
Short StopJavier Baez40
Outfield 1Christian Yelich42
Outfield 2Nick Castellanos36
Outfield 3Kyle Schwarber15

Right off the bat, we have somewhat of an upset as Willson Contreras demolished the future Hall of Famer Yadier Molina, 34 to 8. There is no question that Contreras is the better hitter at this point in their careers and his pop time is actually significantly better as well. Molina only had five hits in 33 AB during the 2019 playoffs, perhaps leaving a sour taste in the voters’ mouths. In less PA, Contreras more than doubled Molina’s fWAR. With all of that said, I suppose it isn’t too surprising that the emerging Contreras soundly defeats Molina in the eyes of the PL Staff.

The NL Central’s first base situation was somewhat disputed. Anthony Rizzo won with 24 votes over Paul Goldschmidt (13), Josh Bell (4), and Joey Votto (1). Rizzo’s fWAR in 2019 of 4.0 was at least a full win higher than each of the other three. He also beat them in some key offensive statistics such as wOBA and wRC+. Sprinkle in his 2019 Gold Glove Award, and Rizzo was probably the easy choice here.

Keston Hiura (over Mike Moustakas) and Kyle Schwarber (over Lorenzo Cain) were two other surprises but not entirely out of left field (pun intended). Hiura is a budding star and Cain had a down year by his standards, while Schwarber learned to (kind of) hit lefties. Add in their respective ages, and I think I am fine with the decision to choose these two players over their divisional rivals.

PositionPlayerVotes (out of 42)
Starting Pitcher #1Jack Flaherty41
Starting Pitcher #2Luis Castillo40
Starting Pitcher #3Trevor Bauer29
Starting Pitcher #4Yu Darvish27
Starting Pitcher #5Sonny Gray24
Relief Pitcher #1Josh Hader41
Relief Pitcher #2Giovanny Gallegos17

Jack Flaherty and Luis Castillo should have been pretty easy unanimous decisions. I understand not drafting Flaherty as high as he seems to be going in some early fantasy drafts but this isn’t about fantasy value or fantasy at all. Flaherty is definitely one of the five best pitchers in the NL Central, as is Castillo.

Three veterans — Trevor Bauer, Yu Darvish, and Sonny Gray — round out the NL Central rotation. Gray edged out Brandon Woodruff by three votes and Kyle Hendricks by 13. I am fine with that result. Woodruff lacks the track record and Gray had a better 2019 than both of them.

In the bullpen, Josh Hader was no surprise and absolutely should have been unanimous. That should go without saying. His 2019 16.41 K/9 speaks for itself. Giovanny Gallegos and his 2.31 FIP were not a bad selection at all for the #2 spot. Craig Kimbrel (14 votes) has the name recognition but his 2019 was an epic disaster.

National League West All-Division Team

 

PositionPlayerVotes (out of 42)
CatcherWill Smith15
First BaseMax Muncy41
Second BaseKetel Marte40
Third BaseNolan Arenado40
Short StopTrevor Story33
Outfield 1Cody Bellinger42
Outfield 2Mookie Betts42
Outfield 3Starling Marte19

I think I’m going to tear up looking at Mookie Betts here in the NL West. He was unanimous in the AL East, and, now, unanimous in the NL West. It should be no surprise, either. In what some may consider a “down” year for Betts in 2019, his 6.6 fWAR was still ninth-best in baseball. His new teammate, Cody Bellinger, was the only other unanimous bat in the NL West.

Also new to the NL West is Starling Marte, who defeated Charlie Blackmon (14 votes) and Tommy Pham (six votes) to earn the third outfield spot. Pham did edge Marte in wRC+ and fWAR. He also obliterated him in BB% (12.4% to just 4.3%). But, while the speed is a wash, Marte’s glove and slugging more than make up the difference. As for Blackmon, the offensive numbers are there but the home/road splits are enough to make you think twice and ultimately give the nod to Marte. He was the right choice but this spot was certainly worth discussing.

PositionPlayerVotes (out of 42)
Starting Pitcher #1Walker Buehler41
Starting Pitcher #2Clayton Kershaw41
Starting Pitcher #3Chris Paddack38
Starting Pitcher #4Madison Bumgarner28
Starting Pitcher #5Zac Gallen17
Relief Pitcher #1Kirby Yates36
Relief Pitcher #2Kenley Jansen33

Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, and Kirby Yates were the only three I considered locks in the NL West. Chris Paddack and Madison Bumgarner had strong showings as well.

Zac Gallen, though, was a bit surprising. Don’t get me wrong, I like him too. However, for a pitcher who has made just 15 career starts, overperformed his FIP by almost a full run, posted a high LOB%, and allowed just a 10.8 HR/FB%, I have some questions. Should those somewhat more lucky stats begin to trend in the wrong direction, will the staff have wished they voted for another, more proven pitcher, instead? Maybe, but outside of Robbie Ray and David Price, who are pretty uninspiring for their own reasons, there aren’t really any proven arms to choose from. German Marquez and Luke Weaver are arguably just as unproven in terms of what they are capable of as Gallen. So, despite some concerns, I do not have too much of an issue with the Gallen pick.

As for the bullpen, neither of those names should be shocking to see. My sleeper bet to make at least the Relief Pitcher #2 position next year? Brusdar Graterol.

That sums up the National League All-Division Teams! Please vote on the poll below to determine which National League All-Division Team is the best. As a reminder, here are the rosters:

NL EastNL CentralNL West
C – JT Realmuto
1B – F. Freeman
2B – O. Albies
3B – J. McNeil
SS – T. Turner
OF1 – R. Acuña Jr.
OF2 – J. Soto
OF3 – B. Harper
C – W. Contreras
1B – A. Rizzo
2B – K. Hiura
3B – K. Bryant
SS – J. Baez
OF1 – C. Yelich
OF2 – N. Castellanos
OF3 – K. Schwarber
C – W. Smith
1B – M. Muncy
2B – K. Marte
3B – N. Arenado
SS – T. Story
OF1 – M. Betts
OF2 – C. Bellinger
OF3 – S. Marte
SP1 – M. Scherzer
SP2 – S. Strasburg
SP3 – J. deGrom
SP4 – P. Corbin
SP5 – A. Nola
SP1 – J. Flaherty
SP2 – L. Castillo
SP3 – T. Bauer
SP4 – Y. Darvish
SP5 – S. Gray
SP1 – W. Buehler
SP2 – C. Kershaw
SP3 – C. Paddack
SP4 – M. Bumgarner
SP5 – Z. Gallen
RP1 – W. Smith
RP2 – E. Diaz
RP1 – J. Hader
RP2 – G. Gallegos
RP1 – K. Yates
RP2 – K. Jansen

Scherzer: Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire
Acuna: Photo by John Adams/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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