Sean Pendergast

Two Houston Astros Named to All-MLB Second Team

Yordan Alvarez was named to the All-MLB second team.
Yordan Alvarez was named to the All-MLB second team. Photo by Jack Gorman
For a team that came within two games of winning the World Series, and made it to the American League Championship Series for a fifth consecutive postseason, the post-postseason awards circuit has been eerily quiet for the Houston Astros. As opposed to years past, when we've seen MVP awards and Cy Young Awards handed out to certain Astros, aside from Carlos Correa's Gold Glove, there's really been nothing much for the Astros.

On Tuesday, Major League Baseball announced its third annual All-MLB teams, which consist of a first team and a second team, and while the Astros did get a little bit of love (VERY little, for a team with so many quality players), I would submit that these honors were symbolic of the sparse accolades the Astros have gotten individually for the team's 95-win season.

Cutting to the chase, outfielder Kyle Tucker and designated hitter Yordan Alvarez were named to the All-MLB second team. There were no Astros named to the first team. The finalists from the Astros, aside from Tucker and Alvarez, were first baseman Yuli Gurriel, second baseman Jose Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa, starting pitcher Lance McCullers, and closer Ryan Pressly.

For informational purposes, here are the All-MLB first and second teams, along with the methodology used to select these squads:


As was the case in 2019 and 2020, the 2021 team was chosen through a process in which 50% of the vote came from fans and 50% from a panel of experts. The All-MLB Team is split into a First and Second Team, each with one catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop and designated hitter, plus three outfielders, five starting pitchers and two relievers.

Presenting the 2021 All-MLB Team …

FIRST TEAM

C: Salvador Perez, Royals
1B: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays
2B: Marcus Semien, Blue Jays*
SS: Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres
3B: Austin Riley, Braves
OF: Juan Soto, Nationals
OF: Bryce Harper, Phillies
OF: Aaron Judge, Yankees
DH: Shohei Ohtani, Angels
SP: Max Scherzer, Dodgers*
SP: Corbin Burnes, Brewers
SP: Walker Buehler, Dodgers
SP: Robbie Ray, Blue Jays*
SP: Gerrit Cole, Yankees
RP: Josh Hader, Brewers
RP: Liam Hendriks, White Sox

SECOND TEAM:

C: Buster Posey, Giants
1B: Freddie Freeman, Braves*
2B: Ozzie Albies, Braves
SS: Trea Turner, Dodgers
3B: Rafael Devers, Red Sox
OF: Nick Castellanos, Reds*
OF: Kyle Tucker, Astros
OF: Teoscar Hernández, Blue Jays
DH: Yordan Alvarez, Astros
SP: Shohei Ohtani, Angels
SP: Julio Urías, Dodgers
SP: Kevin Gausman, Giants*
SP: Max Fried, Braves
SP: Zack Wheeler, Phillies
RP: Raisel Iglesias, Angels*
RP: Kenley Jansen, Dodgers*

*Denotes player is a current free agent.
A few thoughts on this announcement, as it pertains to the Astros:

Tucker and Alvarez making this team is a reminder of how fortunate we are with this title window
Throughout the first four trips to the ALCS (and beyond, twice) the Astros had been built around the "core four" of Altuve, Correa, Alex Bregman, and George Springer. Those were the four catalysts to whatever this title window would consist of. Then Springer left, and his production needed replacing. In come Tucker and Alvarez, who are both 24 years old, and under team control through 2025. Alvarez has the potential to be one of the most dominant offensive forces in baseball, as we all witnessed in an ALCS where he outhit the entire Red Sox team in Games 5 and 6. Tucker was arguably the bets hitter in baseball after May 1 this past season. That both are considered among the very best in baseball at their positions bodes well for keeping the title window open much longer than maybe we anticipated a few years ago, especially with Correa likely gone in free agency.

The remaining Astro finalists being left off might indicate all is not forgiven yet
Speaking of Correa, it's noteworthy that four of the remaining five Astro finalists were part of the 2017 championship team that was accused of (and, in 2020, punished for) sign stealing. The fact that the fans are a key element in these selections, and none of these players got a sniff of the first or second team, is perhaps an indicator that some baseball fans are not ready to forgive the Astros who were part of that 2017 squad, especially Correa, who has been the most outspoken 2017 Astro about the whole thing, and who probably deserved to make the second team over Trea Turner.

Some interesting former Astros made the list
As for former Astros playing at an elite level for other teams, there are some interesting names on the list. First and foremost, the Yankees appear to be getting their money's worth out of Gerrit Cole, who was named as one of the five starting pitchers on the first team. From there, the other former Astros are a little less obvious. First team reliever Josh Hader of the Brewers was sent to Milwaukee back in 2015 in the deal that brought Carlos Gomez and some rat named Fiers to the Astros. Outfielder Teoscar Hernandez was sent to the Blue Jays at the deadline in 2017 for middle reliever Francisco Liriano in one of the few deals that former GM Jeff Luhnow would probably do over, if he could. It's crazy to think that a former Astros outfielder on the Blue Jays made the All-MLB second team, and it wasn't even George Springer.


Some possible future Astros are on here, as well
The players with asterisks next to them on the lists above are currently free agents, and I would expect the Astros to be kicking tires on a few of them. All three free agents on the first team — second baseman Marcus Semien, and starting pitchers Max Scherzer and Robbie Ray — all would fit a need for the Astros, Semien as a shortstop, not a second baseman.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast