Outfield candidates for 2020 All-MLB Team


Voting is underway for the 2020 All-MLB Team presented by CohnReznick, and you can help decide who deserves a place among the game’s very best.

Fans have the ability to vote here once every 24 hours until the polls close at 2 p.m. ET on Friday, and the All-MLB first and second teams will be announced in early December on MLB Network.

A crazy — but defensible — All-MLB Team

This year’s outfield group is stacked, with some of MLB’s biggest stars vying for recognition. There are 14 choices, but only six outfield spots across the All-MLB first and second teams.

Here’s a quick statistical primer on the All-MLB outfield candidates, in alphabetical order:

Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves
.250 AVG, 14 HR, 29 RBI, 8 SB, .987 OPS
Coming off a season in which he nearly joined the 40/40 club, Acuña remained a multidimensional threat atop Atlanta’s lineup in 2020. While he posted the lowest average and highest strikeout rate (29.7 percent) of his career, the 22-year-old still finished with personal bests in on-base percentage (.406) and slugging (.581) and scored 46 runs in 46 games.

The case for Acuña: The Braves outfielder tied for ninth among all MLB qualifiers in OPS and tied for fourth among outfielders with 2.5 wins above replacement (per FanGraphs).

Key number: 44 percent hard-hit FB/LD rate — Acuña produced a hard hit (95+ mph exit velocity) fly ball or line drive on 44 percent of his batted balls — the highest rate in MLB — which helped him to post such a lofty slugging percentage.

Mookie Betts, Dodgers
.292 AVG, 16 HR, 39 RBI, 10 SB, .927 OPS
A superstar in all phases of the game, Betts lived up to expectations during his first season with the Dodgers, propelling Los Angeles to its eighth straight National League West title and a World Series championship. The 28-year-old not only won his fifth straight Gold Glove Award and fourth career Silver Slugger Award, he also was named a finalist for the NL MVP Award.

The case for Betts: Betts finished third overall (first among outfielders) with 3.0 fWAR and was one of three Major Leaguers to record at least 15 homers and 10 steals.

Key number: 93.3 percent contact rate on in-zone swings — Of the 186 hitters who swung at 200 or more in-zone pitches, only two had a higher contact rate than Betts.

Michael Conforto, Mets
.322 AVG, 9 HR, 31 RBI, 3 SB, .927 OPS
A lifetime .253/.353/.481 hitter entering 2020, Conforto dramatically outperformed those marks en route to a .322/.412/.515 season. He led Mets regulars in batting average, on-base percentage and runs scored (40), and he ranked second on the club with a career-high 156 OPS+.

The case for Conforto: The 27-year-old placed second among outfielders (min. 150 plate appearances) in batting average and third in OBP.

Key number: .320 average against the shift — Conforto was much less pull-happy in 2020. His average against the shift was the seventh-highest among left-handed batters (min. 50 at-bats against the shift), and he tied for third in MLB with 24 opposite-field hits.

Trent Grisham, Padres
.251 AVG, 10 HR, 26 RBI, 10 SB, .808 OPS
Acquired from the Brewers in the offseason, Grisham took over as the Padres’ starting center fielder and established himself as an all-around force. Grisham not only won a Gold Glove Award, he also finished with 10 homers and 10 steals while playing in 59 of the Padres’ 60 games.

The case for Grisham: The 24-year-old was one of six big leaguers to reach double digits in homers and steals, and his 6 outs above average tied for fourth among outfielders.

Key number: 29.1 ft/sec sprint speed — Grisham’s wheels were at the heart of his value, helping him go 10-for-11 in stolen-base chances and cover a lot of ground in center field. His sprint speed placed him in the 96th percentile.

Bryce Harper, Phillies
.268 AVG, 13 HR, 33 RBI, 8 SB, .962 OPS
After a solid first season with the Phillies in 2019, Harper kicked it up a notch in ’20, posting his highest OPS+ (157) since he won the NL MVP Award in ’15. The patient slugger missed just two games and led Philadelphia in a number of categories, including homers, runs (41), on-base percentage (.420) and slugging (.542).

The case for Harper: Harper finished first in the Majors in walks (49), fifth in OBP and 13th in OPS.

Key number: .435 xwOBA — While only 39 percent of the pitches Harper saw were in the strike zone — the lowest rate in MLB — his disciplined approach and powerful bat made him an incredibly tough out. The veteran’s xwOBA, which is based on quality of contact as well as real-world strikeout and walk numbers, was the third highest in the game.

Teoscar Hernández, Blue Jays
.289 AVG, 16 HR, 34 RBI, 6 SB, .919 OPS
Hernández showed he could be a significant part of the future for the upstart Blue Jays in 2020, posting career highs in average, on-base percentage (.340) and OPS. The free-swinging outfielder swatted 16 homers in 50 games, leading Toronto and tying for seventh in MLB.

The case for Hernández: Hernández finished fifth among outfielders (min. 150 plate appearances) with a .579 slugging percentage and tied for second at the position in homers.

Key number: 18 percent barrel rate — Hernández had 23 barrels — batted balls with an optimal combination of exit velocity and launch angle, typically resulting in extra-base hits — on 128 batted balls, tied for the fifth-highest rate in MLB.

Eloy Jiménez, White Sox
.296 AVG, 14 HR, 41 RBI, 0 SB, .891 OPS
Building on his strong finish as a rookie in 2019, Jiménez increased his OPS by 63 points in ’20. The young slugger was second on the White Sox behind American League MVP Award finalist José Abreu in homers and RBIs, helping Chicago end an 11-season playoff drought.

The case for Jiménez: Jiménez flashed his power often in ’20, tying for 10th in the Majors in extra-base hits (28) and ranking fifth in the AL in total bases (119).

Key number: 26 barrels — Although his average launch angle was only 5.7 degrees, Jiménez made his air balls count, tying for third in total barrels.

Kyle Lewis, Mariners
.262 AVG, 11 HR, 28 RBI, 5 SB, .801 OPS
After an impressive September showing in 2019, Lewis proved himself to be a potential building block for the Mariners in ’20. The 25-year-old was the only Seattle player to reach double digits in homers, and he led the club with 37 runs scored in 58 games.

The case for Lewis: Lewis finished either first or second among rookies in homers, RBIs, runs, hits and walks.

Key number: 24.7 percent chase rate — Lewis showed a tendency to swing and miss, with a 36.3 percent whiff rate that was well above the league average (26.8 percent), but he helped himself with solid plate discipline.

Wil Myers, Padres
.288 AVG, 15 HR, 40 RBI, 2 SB, .959 OPS
After an offseason in which he was reportedly shopped, Myers put together the best season of his career from a power standpoint. Myers’ .606 slugging percentage was 128 points better than his previous personal best, and he went deep once every 13.2 at-bats.

The case for Myers: The 29-year-old ranked eighth among big league qualifiers in slugging and tied for sixth in extra-base hits with 31 — the most of any regular outfielder.

Key number: 14.8 percent barrel rate — Myers’ barrel rate was his highest since Statcast started tracking in 2015. His previous best was 11.2 percent in 2019.

AJ Pollock, Dodgers
.276 AVG, 16 HR, 34 RBI, 2 SB, .881 OPS
Pollock’s first season with the Dodgers saw him play just 86 games in 2019, as he missed more than two months following elbow surgery. He made up for it in ’20, crushing 16 homers — one more than he had in ’19 — and producing a career-high OPS.

The case for Pollock: Pollock tied for second among outfielders in homers and posted a 1.057 OPS in his team’s wins, the highest of any Dodgers regular.

Key number: 43.1 percent hard-hit rate — Pollock’s hard-hit rate this past season was the highest he’s had since Statcast tracking began in ’15.

Juan Soto, Nationals
.351 AVG, 13 HR, 37 RBI, 6 SB, 1.185 OPS
Soto was a bright spot for the 2019 World Series champions during a ’20 season in which not much else went right. After testing positive for COVID-19 and missing the Nationals’ first eight games, the 22-year-old returned and mashed his way to a .351/.490/.695 slash line, becoming the youngest player in history to win the NL batting title.

The case for Soto: Soto led the Majors in OBP and slugging, and his 1.185 OPS was 83 points higher than any other qualifier’s mark

Key number: .451 xwOBA — Soto’s MLB-best xwOBA shows just how dominant he was at the plate in 2020.

George Springer, Astros
.265 AVG, 14 HR, 32 RBI, 1 SB, .899 OPS
For much of the season, it didn’t look as though Springer would be heading to free agency on a high note, as he was hitting .194/.331/.388 entering play on Sept. 3. But the veteran flourished down the stretch. Over his final 23 games, he posted a .341/.394/.703 slash line with nine homers, and he concluded the campaign with an overall .899 OPS.

The case for Springer: Despite his early struggles with the bat, Springer still tied for eighth among all outfielders with 1.9 fWAR and tied for third among AL outfielders in homers.

Key number: .570 expected slugging percentage — Springer had the game’s 15th-best xSLG, which is based on quality of contact plus a player’s strikeout total.

Mike Trout, Angels
.281 AVG, 17 HR, 46 RBI, 1 SB, .993 OPS
In 2020, Trout continued his steady climb toward eventual Hall of Fame enshrinement, turning in another brilliant season at the plate. The superstar center fielder posted an OPS over .990 for the sixth consecutive season and led the Angels in most offensive categories.

The case for Trout: Trout topped all outfielders in homers and RBIs, and his OPS was the second best at the position.

Key number: 55.1 percent hard-hit rate — Trout produced hard contact more frequently than ever in 2020, recording his highest hard-hit rate in the six seasons since Statcast was first implemented. His 55.1 percent mark ranked eighth in MLB and was 6.5 percentage points higher than his previous best.

Mike Yastrzemski, Giants
.297 AVG, 10 HR, 35 RBI, 2 SB, .968 OPS
Initially selected in the 2013 MLB Draft, Yastrzemski took a long road to the Majors before finding success as a 28-year-old rookie in ’19 (122 OPS+). The 2020 campaign was his true coming-out party, as the Giants outfielder recorded a sensational .297/.400/.568 slash line (165 OPS+) over 54 games.

The case for Yastrzemski: The 30-year-old led the Majors in Win Probability Added (2.9), ranked ninth in OPS+ and tied for fifth (second among outfielders) in fWAR (2.7).

Key number: 19.8 percent chase rate — Yastrzemski was much more disciplined in 2020, lowering his chase rate from 27 percent to 19.8 percent, which led to a walk-rate jump of more than five percentage points (7.8 percent to 13.3 percent).

Thomas Harrigan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @HarriganMLB.





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