Midterms are on. I needed to write something to keep myself from going insane.
I wrote a piece at the mid-way point about why the All-Star Game is dumb and the MLB should adopt what the NBA and NFL do: All-Pro teams.
So, I'm doing a series slideshows about the 2009 baseball year, and this is the first set.
So without further adieu, here's your 2009 All-MLB first, second, and third teams.
(And no, I didn't include middle relievers.)
First Team: Joe Mauer (Min) is the prohibitive favorite to win the 2009 American League MVP. He batted .365, slugged .587, and had a .444 OBP—all good for first in the AL. His 26 home runs and 96 RBI weren't too shabby, either, considering he missed a month.
Second Team: Brian McCann (Atl) will win the Silver Slugger at catcher in the National League. He batted .281 with 21 home runs, 94 RBI, and an .834 OPS. He missed a bunch of time, too, but up beastly numbers.
Third Team: Victor Martinez (Cle/Bos) had a tremendous bounceback year after many thought his power was gone. Martinez batted .303 with 23 home runs, 108 RBI, and an .861 OPS. What a pickup he's been for Boston.
Honorable Mentions: Yadier Molina (Stl).
First Team: Albert Pujols (StL) will win his third National League MVP award. He led the National League in home runs (47), slugging (.658), and on-base percentage (.443). Not to mention his 135 RBI, 124 runs scored, or .327 batting average—all fall into the top three in the National League.
Second Team: Prince Fielder (Mil) had a monster year. He batted .299 with 46 home runs and led the National League in RBI with 141. His 1.014 OPS was second only to Pujols.
Third Team: Derrek Lee (Chc) had a tremendously slow start, but battled back to be the only consistent Cub. Lee finished with a .306 batting average, 35 home runs, 111 RBI, and a .972 OPS.
Honorable Mentions: Mark Teixeira (Nyy), Adrian Gonzalez (Sdp), Kevin Youkilis (Bos), Miguel Cabrera (Det), Joey Votto (Cin), Ryan Howard (Phi), Adam Dunn (Was), Kendry Morales (Min), Todd Helton (Col).
First Team: Chase Utley (Phi) continues to be the best second baseman in baseball. Utley batted .282 with 31 home runs, 93 RBI, and a .905 OPS. He also went 23-for-23 in stolen base attempts. Not bad for a guy who was supposed to miss a chunk of the season after hip surgery.
Second Team: Aaron Hill (Tor) won the AL Comeback Player of the Year award after his monster year. Hill batted .286 with 36 home runs, 108 RBI, and an .829 OPS.
Third Team: Ben Zobrist (TB) had a breakout year filling in for Akinori Iwamura. Zobrist batted .297 with 27 home runs, 91 RBI, 17 stolen bases, and a .948 OPS.
Honorable Mentions: Robinson Cano (Nyy), Alberto Callapso (Kcr), Brandon Phillips (Cin), Jose Lopez (Sea).
First Team: Hanley Ramirez (Fla) won his first batting title with a .342 batting average. Ramirez also belted 24 home runs, had 106 RBI, stole 27 bases, and his OPS was .954. Ramirez is the most talented player in baseball and should win another Silver Slugger.
Second Team: Troy Tulowitzki (Col) had a sensational bounceback year. Tulowitzki batted .297 with 32 home runs, 92 RBI, 20 stolen bases, and a .930 OPS. He was the Rox' MVP.
Third Team: Derek Jeter (NYY) continues to do what he does best. Jeter batted .334 with 18 home runs, 66 RBI, 30 stolen bases, and an .871 OPS. He's an MVP candidate to some.
Honorable Mentions: Jason Bartlett (TB)
First Team: Evan Longoria (TB) followed up his great rookie year with a great sophomore year. Longoria batted .281 with 33 home runs, 113 RBI, and an .889 OPS. He should be winning a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove at his position in the American League.
Second Team: Ryan Zimmerman (Was) continues to be a huge bat in the nasty Nats offense. He batted .292 with 33 home runs, 106 RBI, and an .888 OPS. He should also win both awards at his position in the NL.
Third Team: Pablo Sandoval (SF) had a breakout sophomore year. The only bat in the Giants' anemic offense batted .330 with 25 home runs, 90 RBI, and a .943 OPS.
Honorable Mentions: Alex Rodriguez (NYY), Mark Reynolds (Ari), Michael Young (Tex).
First Team: Ryan Braun (Mil) had another great year. It's his third year and he's only 25 years old. Braun batted .320 with 32 home runs, 114 RBI, 20 stolen bases, and a .937 OPS. The amount of home runs in his first three seasons he's hit puts him in elite company.
Second Team: Jason Bay (Bos) continues to make Boston fans forget about that Manny guy. Bay batted .267 with 36 home runs, 119 RBI, 13 stolen bases, and a .921 OPS.
Third Team: Matt Holliday (Oak/Stl) had a sluggish start in Oakland then went berserk in St. Louis. Holliday ended up batting .313 with 24 home runs, 109 RBI, and a .909 OPS.
Honorable Mentions: Carlos Lee (Hou), Raul Ibanez (Phi)
First Team: Matt Kemp (Lad) is very underrated and very good. Kemp batted .297 with 26 home runs, 101 RBI, 34 stolen bases, and an .842 OPS. Can anybody say potential five-tool player? He looks like a younger version of Torii Hunter.
Second Team: Torii Hunter (LAA) would be on the first team had it not been for injury. Hunter batted .299 with 22 home runs, 90 RBI, 18 stolen bases, and an .873 OPS.
Third Team: Denard Span (Min) had an under-the-radar year for the Twins. Span batted .311 with eight home runs, 68 RBI, 23 stolen bases, and a great .392 on-base percentage.
Honorable Mentions: Marlon Byrd (Tex)
First Team: Bobby Abreu (LAA) didn't have the power he used to, but he's made up for it in other ways. Abreu batted .293 with 15 home runs. He still managed to get 103 RBI and 30 stolen bases with an .825 OPS.
Second Team: Andre Ethier (LAD) was the most clutch player in baseball this season. Ethier batted .272 with 31 home runs, 106 RBI, and an .869 OPS. His six walk-off hits are impressive in and of themselves.
Third Team: Ichiro Suzuki (Sea) went into the record books with his ninth straight 200 hit season. He hit .352 with 11 home runs, 46 RBI, 26 stolen bases, and an .851 OPS.
Honorable Mentions: Brad Hawpe (Col), Nick Markakis (Bal), Jayson Werth (Phi), Michael Cuddyer (Min), Shin-Soo Choo (Cle).
First Rotation: Zack Greinke (Kcr) will win the Cy Young award. His 16-8 record isn't indicative of what a dominating year he had. If he was on a competent team, his record would blow our minds. He had a 2.16 ERA and 242 strikeouts.
Chris Carpenter (Stl): 17-4, 114 Ks, 2.24 ERA
Tim Lincecum (Sfg): 15-7, 261 Ks, 2.48 ERA
Adam Wainwright (Stl): 19-8, 212 Ks, 2.63 ERA
Felix Hernandez (Sea): 19-5, 217 Ks, 2.49 ERA
Second Rotation: Roy Halladay (Tor), Jair Jurrjens (Atl), Javier Vazquez (Atl), Matt Cain (Sfg), Wandy Rodriguez (Hou).
Third Rotation: Ted Lilly (Chc), Josh Johnson (Fla), CC Sabathia (Nyy), Cliff Lee (Cle/Phi), Dan Haren (Ari).
Honorable Mentions: Clayton Kershaw (Lad), JA Happ (Phi), Randy Wells (Chc), Randy Wolf (Lad), Jon Lester (Bos), Justin Verlander (Det), Edwin Jackson (Det), Joel Pineiro (Stl), Ubaldo Jimenez (Col).
First Team: Mariano Rivera (NYY) continued his dominance and has shown no signs of slowing down. He converted 44 of his 46 save opportunities. He had 72 strikeouts in 66.1 IP, and had a 1.76 ERA.
Second Team: Ryan Franklin (Stl) had been a savior for the Cardinals which did not have a reliable closer. He converted 38 of his 43 save opportunities. He had a 1.92 ERA.
Third Team: Joe Nathan (Min) continues to be a great closer. He converted 47 of his 52 save opportunities. He struck out 89 batters in 68.2 IP and had a 2.10 ERA.
Honorable Mentions: Jonathan Papelbon (Bos), Trevor Hoffman (Mil), Brian Wilson (Sf), Heath Bell (Sd), Jonathan Broxton (Lad), Francisco Cordero (Cin).
First Team: Jim Tracy (Col) took his team from an embarrassment to a playoff team. Under Tracy, the Rockies went 74-42.
Second Team: Mike Scioscia (Laa) guided his team through a tragic death, lack of pitching staff, and injuries to the team's best sluggers.
Third Team: Ron Gardernhire (Min) didn't let the Twins give up and won the 163rd game this year.
Honorable Mentions: Fredi Gonzalez (Fla), Don Wakamatsu (Sea).