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Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith among Dodgers All-MLB nominees

J.D. Martinez, Clayton Kershaw, Evan Phillips also nominated; winners announced December 16

Milwaukee Brewers v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

When I posted a rough schedule of the remaining MLB awards earlier this week, I omitted the All-MLB honors, which was my mistake. But in fairness, these awards have only existed for four previous years, and MLB doesn’t even announce the voting results until December 16 (on a Saturday) which is the polar (bear?) opposite of striking when the iron is hot.

All-MLB teams will be revealed on December 16, but the nominees were announced on Wednesday, including six Dodgers players.

There is a first-team All-MLB and second-team All-MLB, with each team including one player at each infield position and catcher, three outfielders, five starting pitchers, and two relief pitchers.

Freddie Freeman is the only player to be first- or second-team All-MLB in all four years of the award, and he is an overwhelming favorite to make it five straight this year. Freeman was first-team All-MLB in his MVP year in 2020, and a second-team selection at the position in 2019, 2021, and 2022.

He’s one of seven nominees at first base, but with apologies to Pete Alonso, Yandy Díaz, Paul Goldschmidt, Josh Naylor, and Christian Walker, the two All-MLB first baseman should and very likely will be Freeman and Matt Olson, who are also the top-two in Wins Above Replacement at the position.

MLB averages both FanGraphs WAR and Baseball Reference WAR into what they call aWAR as a shorthand in highlighting the nominees.

Mookie Betts has the highest aWAR among the 21 outfield All-MLB nominees at 8.4, narrowly ahead of Ronald Acuña Jr. of Atlanta. Those two are locks for the first team, which would be a third first-team honor for Betts to go along with 2020 and 2022 with the Dodgers. Betts was also second-team All-MLB with the Red Sox in 2019, the first year of these awards.

Will Smith is one of nine catchers vying for two all-MLB slots, among a closely-bunched group near the top. Not to only reduce this to Wins Above Replacement, but here is how the top five catcher nominees rank by aWAR:

  • Adley Rustchman, Orioles (4.7)
  • William Contreras, Brewers (4.6)
  • Will Smith, Dodgers (4.3)
  • Sean Murphy, Atlanta (4.1)
  • Cal Raleigh, Mariners (4.0)

Smith was a second-team All-MLB selection in 2022.

J.D. Martinez is one of eight nominees at designated hitter, but faces an uphill battle in cracking the top two in a group that includes Shohei Ohtani and Yordan Alvarez.

Clayton Kershaw is a nominee at starting pitcher, a testament to how good he was on the mound before his shoulder surgery. Among the 26 starting pitcher nominees, Kershaw’s 2.46 ERA is second only to Blake Snell (2.25), though Kershaw ranks last in the group in innings pitched (131⅔) and 23rd in aWAR (3.0), the latter ahead of only Nathan Eovaldi (2.8), Chris Bassitt (2.6), and Freddy Peralta (2.5).

Kershaw earned second-team All-MLB status in 2020.

Relief pitcher is a tough positon at which to earn All-MLB status, with only four total spots on the two teams. Evan Phillips is one of 24 reliever nominees, his second straight year getting nominated.

Fan voting, which runs through November 19, is part of the process for All-MLB selections, along with “a decorated panel of media members, broadcasters, former players and other officials.”

All-MLB teams will be announced on Saturday, December 16.