The 2017 All-MLB team

Jeff Passan
MLB columnist

The Cleveland Indians placed a league-high six players on the 2017 All-MLB team, including starter Corey Kluber, the only unanimous choice among the 45 players, general managers, executives, scouts, analysts, writers, broadcasters and other major league personnel surveyed by Yahoo Sports.

In creating an All-MLB team, the goal was to provide the equivalent of the NFL’s All-Pro team or the All-NBA team: recognition that better represents the full breadth of the season than an All-Star appearance and covers a wider swath of players than annual MVP voting. Ballots were cast within the last 48 hours and form the basis of the first-, second- and third-team All-MLB rosters listed below.

The New York Yankees, who could face the Indians in the American League Division Series, also had six players make the teams, though Cleveland led the first team with four players and tied for the most on the second team with two. Kluber, the AL Cy Young favorite, was a first-team choice on all 45 ballots. Others just missing unanimity were Washington starter Max Scherzer and Houston second baseman Jose Altuve (44 votes), Boston starter Chris Sale and closer Craig Kimbrel (43 votes) and Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen (41 votes).

Indians pitcher Corey Kluber is the only unanimous choice among the 61 players on the All-MLB team. (Getty Images)

The Dodgers, Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks each placed five players, while fellow playoff teams Houston (four), Boston (three) and Chicago (three) joined them near the top. Also with three were Colorado, which could clinch a postseason berth this weekend, and the Los Angeles Angels and Milwaukee.

Every National League team booked at least one player on a team. Six AL organizations failed to do so: Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Oakland, Tampa Bay and Texas (though the White Sox, Tigers and A’s did trade players that eventually made it). Of the 61 players on the teams, 34 come from the NL.

The goal was to fill each everyday position – catcher, first base, second base, shortstop, third base, left field, center field, right field and designated hitter – with someone who regularly plays there, plus add a utilityman to each team to recognize the value of versatility in 2017. Because of a lack of specificity in the directions – something that will be remedied next year – the utility role, in particular, sowed some confusion. The first-team utilityman, Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez, also received the second-highest vote total at second base. Rather than list him multiple times, he was removed from consideration at second base (and third, where he garnered first- and second-team votes). The rules for 2018 clearly will outline utility eligibility, as well as that for DH, where only two actual designated hitters received votes, leaving the third team without a DH.

Unlike hitters, who were wedded to their positions, pitchers were not selected by where they slot into a team’s rotation or what innings they pitch out of the bullpen. The three teams include the 15 best starters and 15 best relievers as judged by the panel.

In total, voters cast valid ballots for 115 players, with the widest variation on the field coming at catcher and utility. The position, followed by the nominated candidates:

Catcher: 8
First base: 4
Second base: 6
Shortstop: 7
Third base: 6
Left field: 5
Center field: 5
Right field: 5
Designated hitter: 2
Utilityman: 12
Starting pitcher: 24
Relief pitcher: 31

Though only two first-team players didn’t make the All-Star team, the number jumps to nine of the second team’s 20 players and 14 of the third team’s 21. If the goal was to recognize excellence that may have gone underappreciated otherwise, it seems to have been met, and hopefully well enough that the exercise grows in scope and participation to encompass as full a rendering as possible of the season that was.

With that in mind, the first – hopefully of many – All-MLB team:

First team

Catcher: Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees
First baseman: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
Second baseman: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
Shortstop: Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians
Third Baseman: Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
Left fielder: Tommy Pham, St. Louis Cardinals
Center fielder: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
Right fielder: Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
Designated hitter: Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners
Utilityman: Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians

Starting pitcher: Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians
Starting pitcher: Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
Starting pitcher: Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox
Starting pitcher: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Starting pitcher: Luis Severino, New York Yankees
Relief pitcher: Craig Kimbrel, Boston Red Sox
Relief pitcher: Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers
Relief pitcher: Corey Knebel, Milwaukee Brewers
Relief pitcher: Andrew Miller, Cleveland Indians
Relief pitcher: Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondbacks

Second team

Catcher: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
First baseman: Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Second baseman: Jonathan Schoop, Baltimore Orioles
Shortstop: Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers
Third Baseman: Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
Left fielder: Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins
Center fielder: Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies
Right fielder: Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins
Designated hitter: Edwin Encarnacion, Cleveland Indians
Utilityman: Chris Taylor, Los Angeles Dodgers

Starting pitcher: Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks
Starting pitcher: Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
Starting pitcher: Justin Verlander, Houston Astros
Starting pitcher: Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals
Starting pitcher: Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland Indians
Relief pitcher: Chad Green, New York Yankees
Relief pitcher: Pat Neshek, Colorado Rockies
Relief pitcher: Felipe Rivero, Pittsburgh Pirates
Relief pitcher: Roberto Osuna, Toronto Blue Jays
Relief pitcher: Anthony Swarzak, Milwaukee Brewers

Third team

Catcher: Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs
First baseman: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
Second baseman: Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins
Shortstop: Andrelton Simmons, Los Angeles Angels
Third Baseman: Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals
Left fielder: Justin Upton, Los Angeles Angels
Center fielder: George Springer, Houston Astros
Right fielder: (tie) Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox and J.D. Martinez, Arizona Diamondbacks
Utilityman: Marwin Gonzalez, Houston Astros

Starting pitcher: Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
Starting pitcher: Robbie Ray, Arizona Diamondbacks
Starting pitcher: Jimmy Nelson, Milwaukee Brewers
Starting pitcher: Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays
Starting pitcher: (tie) Alex Wood, Los Angeles Dodgers and Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies
Relief pitcher: Brad Hand, San Diego Padres
Relief pitcher: David Robertson, New York Yankees
Relief pitcher: Wade Davis, Chicago Cubs
Relief pitcher: Ryan Madson, Washington Nationals
Relief pitcher: Tommy Kahnle, New York Yankees