2021 All-MLB Team starting pitcher nominees
Voting for the 2021 All-MLB Team presented by Cue Health is underway, and you can help decide which players will be honored as the best of the regular season at each position, with 50% of the vote coming from fans and 50% coming from a panel of experts.
You can vote right here, and may continue to do so once every 24 hours between now and when voting ends on Friday at 5 p.m. ET. The 2021 All-MLB Team will be announced Nov. 23 on MLB Network. There will be a first team and second team All-MLB, and voters are asked only to consider performance during the regular season when casting their ballots.
The nominees at each position were revealed on Nov. 10 on MLB Network, and 22 starting pitchers are up for consideration to be part of the 2021 All-MLB Team, although voters can only pick five.
Here’s a breakdown of each of the All-MLB starting pitcher candidates.
Sandy Alcantara, Marlins
2021 stats: 9-15, 3.19 ERA, 201 K’s in 205 2/3 IP
Don’t let that record fool you. The Marlins gave Alcantara the third-worst run support average of any qualifying pitcher, and he tied for the MLB lead by being charged with a loss in a quality start six times. Alcantara allowed no more than three earned runs in 26 of his 33 outings, while throwing the fourth-most innings in the NL.
Chris Bassitt, A’s
2021 stats: 12-4, 3.15 ERA, 159 K’s in 157 1/3 IP
Bassitt’s season took a scary turn when he was hospitalized after being struck in the face by a line drive on Aug. 17. Amazingly, Bassitt returned to the mound 37 days later and finished his season with two solid, if abbreviated outings. Prior to that unfortunate incident, the 32-year-old had earned his first All-Star selection.
José Berríos, Blue Jays
2021 stats: 12-9, 3.52 ERA, 204 K’s in 192 IP
Berríos was equally effective before and after the Twins traded him to the Blue Jays at the July 30 Trade Deadline. He consistently kept both teams in games, completing at least five innings in 29 of his 32 starts and allowing no more than four earned runs in 30 of 32.
Walker Buehler, Dodgers
2021 stats: 16-4, 2.47 ERA, 212 K’s in 207 2/3 IP
An All-Star for the second time in 2021, Buehler was both durable and highly effective. He tied for the MLB lead with 13 outings of at least seven innings and no more than two earned runs allowed, and the Dodgers went 22-11 in his starts.
Corbin Burnes, Brewers
2021 stats: 11-5, 2.43 ERA, 234 K’s in 167 IP
An NL Cy Young Award finalist, Burnes backed up his short-season breakout in 2020 (2.11 ERA), which came on the heels of a rough 2019 (8.82). Burnes led the Majors in ERA, park-adjusted ERA+ (176), strikeout rate (35.6%) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.9). His 1.63 FIP — based on strikeouts, walks and home runs — trailed only 1999 Pedro Martinez for the lowest single-season mark since 1946.
Dylan Cease, White Sox
2021 stats: 13-7, 3.91 ERA, 226 K’s in 165 2/3 IP
This was the sort of performance the White Sox were hoping for when they acquired Cease, along with Eloy Jimenez, in the 2017 Jose Quintana trade. The 25-year-old Cease saw only a modest drop in ERA from the shortened 2020 season, but no pitcher improved more in terms of K-rate, with Cease’s 31.9% a 14.6-point bump from the year before.
Gerrit Cole, Yankees
2021 stats: 16-8, 3.23 ERA, 243 K’s in 181 1/3 IP
Cole couldn’t quite keep up the pace of his dominant first two months (1.78 ERA through May), but he still played a huge role in squeezing New York into the postseason, leading the AL in wins and strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.9). The righty’s nine double-digit strikeout games ranked second in the Majors, and his 15 K’s on Sept. 1 against the Angels tied for the highest single-game total of 2021.
Max Fried, Braves
2021 stats: 14-7, 3.04 ERA, 158 K’s in 165 2/3 IP
Although Fried was the winning pitcher in Game 6 of the World Series, that doesn’t factor in here. But the lefty’s regular season was impressive in its own right. He certainly finished strong, with a 1.74 ERA in 14 starts after the All-Star break, including a 1.54 mark in September while the Braves completed their surge into October.
Kevin Gausman, Giants
2021 stats: 14-6, 2.81 ERA, 227 K’s in 192 IP
If there was any doubt about the way Gausman turned things around with the Giants in 2020, he put that to rest in ‘21. Armed with a devastating four-seamer/splitter combo, the righty made his first All-Star team and was a key to San Francisco’s shocking 107-win campaign. No single pitch racked up more K’s last season than Gausman’s splitter (138).
Lance Lynn, White Sox
2021 stats: 11-6, 2.69 ERA, 176 K’s in 157 IP
A bout of right knee inflammation cut into Lynn’s stretch run but didn’t stop him from becoming an AL Cy Young Award finalist. The big righty continued his emphatic rebound from a mid-career lull, posting a personal best in ERA in his first season with Chicago, at age 34.
Lance McCullers Jr., Astros
2021 stats: 13-5, 3.16 ERA, 185 K’s in 162 1/3 IP
The right-hander set a career high in innings before sustaining a forearm strain in the ALDS. McCullers finished second in the AL in ERA, working around an AL-high 76 walks by leading the league in both hits (6.8) and homers (0.7) allowed per nine innings.
Charlie Morton, Braves
2021 stats: 14-6, 3.34 ERA, 216 K’s in 185 2/3 IP
Morton, who turned 38 last week, is showing no signs of slowing down. At an age when few are even still taking the mound at all, he still averaged 95.5 mph with his four-seam fastball and struck out 127 batters on his curve alone (third most for any individual pitch type across MLB). A rotation leader for the World Series champs, Morton now has a 3.34 ERA in 130 starts since his age-33 season.
Shohei Ohtani, Angels
2021 stats: 9-2, 3.18 ERA, 156 K’s in 130 1/3 IP
Ohtani’s numbers are impressive enough on their own, as he held opponents to a .207 average and greatly improved his control over the course of the year. (Ohtani had a 13.6% walk rate through June but 4.7% afterward). And no pitch was more devastating than his splitter, which opponents hit .087 against (11-for-127) with 77 strikeouts. But when you consider that Ohtani did all that while also hitting 46 home runs, it goes from impressive to stunning.
Freddy Peralta, Brewers
2021 stats: 10-5, 2.81 ERA, 195 K’s in 144 1/3 IP
Over his first three MLB seasons, Peralta showed flashes of brilliance, but not enough to lock down a consistent rotation spot. That all changed in 2021, as the 25-year-old started 27 of his 28 games, while his 33.6% strikeout rate ranked third in the Majors (minimum 140 innings), behind only teammate Corbin Burnes and Max Scherzer.
Robbie Ray, Blue Jays
2021 stats: 13-7, 2.84 ERA, 248 K’s in 193 1/3 IP
What a difference a year makes. After posting a 6.62 ERA in 2020, Ray signed a modest one-year deal with the Blue Jays and turned his career around in dramatic fashion. The lefty finished with at least a share of the AL lead in starts (32), innings (193 1/3), ERA (2.84), ERA+ (154), strikeouts (248) and WHIP (1.045), putting him in good position to win the AL Cy Young Award on Wednesday and land a much larger contract this offseason.
Carlos Rodón, White Sox
2021 stats: 13-5, 2.37 ERA, 185 K’s in 132 2/3 IP
This was the sort of season the White Sox envisioned when they made Rodón the third overall pick in the 2014 Draft. The lefty had never quite reached his ceiling, in part due to injury, but put it all together in ‘21, making his first All-Star team. While Rodón missed some time late in the season, batters hit only .189 with a .560 OPS against him overall.
Max Scherzer, Dodgers
2021 stats: 15-4, 2.46 ERA, 236 K’s in 179 1/3 IP
If there was any thought that Scherzer was slowing down, his 2021 season was an emphatic response. Despite turning 37 on July 27, the righty remained one of the game’s most dominant arms, leading the Majors in WHIP (0.864) and hits allowed per nine innings (6.0). An NL Cy Young Award finalist, he put together one of the best stretches of his career after his trade from the Nationals to the Dodgers (0.78 ERA over his first nine starts).
Julio Urías, Dodgers
2021 stats: 20-3, 2.96 ERA, 195 K’s in 185 2/3 IP
This was already the lefty’s sixth MLB season, although he only turned 25 on Aug. 12. But it was the first time he pitched even 80 innings, and the results were stellar. With help from the excellent team behind him, Urías became the NL’s first 20-game winner since Scherzer in 2016, while the Dodgers went 26-6 in his starts. He allowed no more than one earned run 17 times.
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals
2021 stats: 17-7, 3.05 ERA, 174 K’s in 206 1/3 IP
Wainwright’s late-career resurgence continued in 2021. Despite turning 40 late in the season, the righty was a workhorse, finishing second in the Majors with 16 starts of seven-plus innings, including three complete games. Wainwright’s fantastic finish (2.28 ERA in 14 starts) was key to St. Louis’ surge into the postseason.
Logan Webb, Giants
2021 stats: 11-3, 3.03 ERA, 158 K’s in 148 1/3 IP
Webb’s breakout was a triumph for the Giants’ organization and had a lot to do with the club’s 107-win outburst. The 24-year-old posted a 5.36 ERA over his first two MLB seasons, but after a slow start to 2021, Webb found his groove. He delivered a 2.40 ERA and 2.41 FIP over his final 20 starts, then dazzled in two NLDS outings against the Dodgers (14 2/3 innings, one run).
Zack Wheeler, Phillies
2021 stats: 14-10, 2.78 ERA, 247 K’s in 213 1/3 IP
Wheeler’s first full season since signing with Philadelphia brought him his first All-Star selection. The righty led the Majors in innings and batters faced, completing at least six frames in 27 of his 32 outings. He also produced seven double-digit strikeout games, earning a spot as an NL Cy Young Award finalist.
Brandon Woodruff, Brewers
2021 stats: 9-10, 2.56 ERA, 211 K’s in 179 1/3 IP
The Brewers’ offense didn’t do him many favors in terms of run support, but Woodruff held up his end of the bargain, while making his second All-Star team. The righty held the opposition to no more than one earned run 18 times, thanks in part to one of the game’s best four-seam fastballs (113 strikeouts).