For a team that came within two games of winning the World Series and reaching the American League Championship Series for a fifth consecutive season, the post-season prize pool has been eerily quiet for the Houston Astros. Unlike previous years, when we’ve seen MVP awards and Cy Young Awards given to certain Astros, apart from Carlos Correa’s gold glove, there really has not been much for the Astros.
On Tuesday, Major League Baseball announced its third annual All-MLB team, which consists of a first team and a second team, and while the Astros got a little bit of love (VERY little, for a team with so many quality players), I would argue that these honors were symbolic of the sparse accolades that the Astros have received individually for the team’s season with 95 wins.
Away player Kyle Tucker and designated hitter Yordan Alvarez were named to the All-MLB second team. There were no Astros named to the first team. The finalists from the Astros, apart from Tucker and Alvarez, were first baseman Yuli Gurriel, second baseman Jose Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa, starting pitcher Lance McCullers and closer Ryan Pressly.
For informational purposes, here are the All-MLB first and second teams along with the method used to select these teams:
As was the case in 2019 and 2020, the 2021 team was selected through a process in which 50% of the votes came from fans and 50% from a panel of experts. The All-MLB team is divided into a first and second team, each with a catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop and designated hitter, plus three outfielders, five starting pitchers and two relievers.
Introducing the 2021 All-MLB Team …
C: Salvador Perez, Royals
1B: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays
2B: Marcus Semien, Blue Jays *
SS: Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres
3B: Austin Riley, Braves
AF: Juan Soto, Nationals
AF: Bryce Harper, Phillies
AF: Aaron Judge, Yankees
DH: Shohei Ohtani, Angels
SP: Max Scherzer, Dodgers *
SP: Corbin Burnes, Brewers
SP: Walker Buehler, Dodgers
SP: Robbie Ray, Blue Jays *
SP: Gerrit Cole, Yankees
RP: Josh Hader, Brewers
RP: Liam Hendriks, White Sox
C: Buster Posey, Giants
1B: Freddie Freeman, Braves *
2B: Ozzie Albies, Braves
SS: Trea Turner, Dodgers
3B: Rafael Devers, Red Sox
AF: Nick Castellanos, Reds *
AF: Kyle Tucker, Astros
AF: Teoscar Hernández, Blue Jays
DH: Jordan Alvarez, Astros
SP: Shohei Ohtani, Angels
SP: Julio Urías, Dodgers
SP: Kevin Gausman, Giants *
SP: Max Fried, Braves
SP: Zack Wheeler, Phillies
RP: Raisel Iglesias, Engle *
RP: Kenley Jansen, Dodgers *
* Indicates that the player is a current free agent.
A few thoughts on this post as it pertains to Astros:
Tucker and Alvarez, who make this team, are a reminder of how lucky we are with this title window
During the first four trips to ALCS (and beyond, twice), the Astros had been built around “core four” by Altuve, Correa, Alex Bregman, and George Springer. It was the four catalysts for whatever this title window would consist of. Then Springer left and his production had to be replaced. In comes Tucker and Alvarez, who are both 24 years old and under team control through 2025. Alvarez has the potential to be one of the most dominant offensive forces in baseball, as we all witnessed in an ALCS, where he surpassed the whole The Red Sox teams in games 5 and 6. Tucker was without a doubt the betting hitter in baseball after May 1 last season. That both are considered to be among the very best in baseball at their positions bodes well for keeping the title window open much longer than we might have expected a few years ago, especially with Correa likely going into free play.
The remaining Astro finalists left out may indicate that not everything has been forgiven yet
Speaking of Correa, it is noteworthy that four of the remaining five Astro finalists were part of the 2017 championship, which was accused of (and in 2020 punished for) sign theft. The fact that fans are a key element in these picks, and none of these players got a whiff of the first or second team, is perhaps an indicator that some baseball fans are not ready to forgive the Astros, who were part of The 2017 squad, especially Correa, who has been the most outspoken Astro in 2017 about it all, and who probably deserved to get on the second team over Trea Turner.
Some interesting former Astros came on the list
As for former Astros playing elite level for other teams, there are some interesting names on the list. First of all, it looks like the Yankees are getting their money out of Gerrit Cole, who was named one of the top five starting pitches on the first team. From there, the other former Astros are a little less obvious. First-team reliever Josh Hader of the Brewers was sent to Milwaukee back in 2015 in the deal that brought Carlos Gomez and a rat named Fiers to the Astros. Outfielder Teoscar Hernandez was sent to the Blue Jays by the 2017 deadline for midfielder Francisco Liriano in one of the few deals that former GM Jeff Luhnow would likely make over if he could. It’s crazy to think that a former Astros outfielder on the Blue Jays reached the All-MLBs second team, and it wasn’t even George Springer.
Some possible future Astros are here too
The players with stars next to them on the lists above are currently free agents and I would expect the Astros to kick tires on a couple of them. All three free agents on the first team – second baseman Marcus Semien and starting pitchers Max Scherzer and Robbie Ray – would all fit a need for the Astros, Semien as a shortstop, not another baseman.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 06:00 to 10.00 on weekdays. Also follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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