Read Part I for an explanation of this project.
Catch up with the All-MLB Teams of 2000-2005 in Part II.
Check out the All-MLB Teams of 2006-2011 in Part III.
The All-MLB Teams from 2012-2018 are in Part IV.
I didn’t start this project and do all this writing to bring you conclusions you already know. Albert Pujols was basically a god. Clayton Kershaw is an awesome pitcher. A-Rod and Vlad Guerrero and Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera were really great, too. Mike Trout’s on a rocket ride to Cooperstown. You know all this stuff if you’re even the most casual baseball follower. But that’s not the point of the All-MLB team any more than the point of the All-NBA team is to say ‘LeBron James sure is good at basketball’! The point of these postseason All-Star squads are to tell a story. So what kinds of stories did we encounter along the way?
The All-MLB Teams showed us how the game evolved over the course of these last 19 years, from the tail end of the Steroid Era, where teams were dominated by veterans in their mid-30s, to the modern game, where youth is served and players in their mid-20s pepper the rosters. It shows how the game’s best talent has become more and more concentrated on the best teams as teams towards the middle and bottom of the standings embrace outright tanking cloaked as ‘rebuilding’ or ‘financial flexibility’. It reveals the gradual acceptance of advanced metrics in choosing major award winners or ordering MVP ballots, and in turn, ordering the All-MLB rosters, while also showing that valuable players for whom defense is their best trait remain overlooked to a degree.
I don’t know if the All-MLB teams significantly swayed my opinion one way or another on any one player’s Hall of Fame case. I certainly think it helps shed more light on Mike Mussina’s excellence, but he’s going in officially this summer anyway. Matt Holliday and Cliff Lee each making seven All-MLB teams certainly makes me consider their careers in a different light, but I’m not sure I’m ready to argue they should be Cooperstown-bound. And given the BBWAA’s unwillingness to this point to vote for players who have been credibly, by receiving a suspension from the league or otherwise, tied to steroids, it’s hard to know what to make of the cases for players like Robinson Cano, Manny Ramirez, and of course, Alex Rodriguez. (My solution is to put them all the Hall of Fame, along with Bonds, Clemens, McGwire and the rest, because it’s a museum about awesome baseball players and not a museum about morality. Let all the dads who pass in front of the bronze plaques decide what to tell their kids about those players. It’s better than white-washing an entire era of the game, one made possible by current Hall of Famer Bud Selig’s willingness to look the other way on sports drugs for an entire decade. And for the record, I think once a certain generation of BBWAA member and HOF voter passes on their vote to a younger generation, those guys will all eventually find their way in. But maybe this should be another article itself.)
It seems obvious that Major League Baseball’s best players should be honored in a similar, real fashion. Whether it’s an award chosen by the BBWAA, the AP, the players themselves, or some combination, it would give baseball fans a chance to debate who was truly the best in their class at the end of each season.
As we wrap this up, here’s a whole bunch of data from these lists, but if you’d rather go mining through it yourself, I’ve linked to the spreadsheet below. And folks, if you’ve got some feedback on this series I’d really love to hear it – hit me up on Twitter @danluceroshow or email me at [email protected]. Thanks for reading.
THE ALL-MLB TEAM PROJECT – 2000-2018 – EVERY TEAM, EVERY PLAYER, ALL THE DATA
MOST ALL-MLB SELECTIONS, POSITION PLAYERS (All-Star appearances in parentheses)
MOST ALL-MLB SELECTIONS, PITCHERS (All-Star appearances in parentheses)
MOST ALL-STAR APPEARANCES 2000-2019, ALL PLAYERS (All-MLB teams in parentheses)
MOST ALL-MLB FIRST TEAM SELECTIONS, POSITION PLAYERS
MOST ALL-MLB FIRST TEAM SELECTIONS, PITCHERS
MOST ALL-MLB SELECTIONS BY POSITION
C – Buster Posey – 7
1B – Albert Pujols – 8
2B – Robinson Cano – 8
3B – Adrian Beltre – 6
SS – Derek Jeter – 8
OF – Mike Trout – 7
OF – Matt Holliday – 7
OF – Ryan Braun – 6
DH – David Ortiz – 9
UT – Ben Zobrist – 4
SP – Justin Verlander – 8
SP – Roy Halladay – 8
SP – Chris Sale – 7
SP – Clayton Kershaw – 7
SP – Cliff Lee – 7
RP – Dellin Betances – 3
CL – Mariano Rivera – 7
MOST ALL-MLB FIRST TEAM SELECTIONS BY POSITION
C – Joe Mauer – 4
1B – Albert Pujols – 4
2B – Jose Altuve/Robinson Cano/Chase Utley – 4
3B – Miguel Cabrera – 3
SS – Hanley Ramirez/Alex Rodriguez – 3
OF – Barry Bonds – 5
OF – Vladimir Guerrero – 4
DH – David Ortiz – 6
UT – Albert Pujols – 3
SP – Clayton Kershaw – 6
SP – Roy Halladay – 5
SP – Justin Verlander – 5
SP – Max Scherzer – 4
SP – Adam Wainwright – 4
SP – Randy Johnson – 4
RP – Wade Davis/Hong-Chi Kuo – 2
CL – Mariano Rivera/Craig Kimbrel – 3
MOST CONSECUTIVE ALL-MLB SELECTIONS
MOST CONSECUTIVE ALL-MLB FIRST TEAM SELECTIONS
BEST PLAYERS, BY fWAR, 2000-2018 (All-MLB teams in parentheses) (* – active)
BEST PITCHERS, BY fWAR, 2000-2018 (All-MLB teams in parentheses) (* – active)
BEST PLAYERS, by fWAR, NOT TO MAKE AN ALL-MLB TEAM (* – active)
BEST PITCHERS, by fWAR, NOT TO MAKE AN ALL-MLB TEAM (* – active)
MOST ALL-MLB SELECTIONS BY TEAM
MOST ALL-MLB SELECTIONS BY TEAM IN A SINGLE SEASON
FEWEST ALL-MLB SELECTIONS BY TEAM