Why Each Dodger Finalist For This Year’s All-MLB Team Deserves Recognition

Photo Credit: MLB

The finalist for the All-MLB Team on Sunday which recognizes individual players on their performance each season. The Dodgers have four finalists that all put up impressive 2020 seasons that contributed to their World Series victory.

Justin Turner: Third Base

Turner has been a fan favorite for some time and his contributions to the team in 2020 clearly didn’t go unnoticed. He slashed .307/.400/.860 with 23 RBIs and 4 home runs which is impressive given the shortened season in which he produced those numbers. The Dodgers basically turned his entire career around once he was acquired from the New York Mets and has been with the team for 7 seasons helping them with their continuous postseason runs and eventual World Series victory. He’s manned the hot corner at third base and has been exceptionally well during the 2020 season with a fielding percentage of .952 in 263.2 innings of work. While the postseason doesn’t count, one memorable moment for him came during the 2020 World Series when he hit his 12th postseason home run that gave him the record for most postseason home runs for a Dodger.

While it’s unsure if Turner will rejoin the Dodgers now that he’s a free agent, his career with the team is something that his truly special and was rewarded with finally helping the team win it all. There was controversial news that came out in game 6 of the World Series that he had tested positive for COVID-19 which is why he was taken out of the game, however, returned to the field to celebrate with his teammates on their World Series victory despite being told to self-isolate. Whether that has an impact on his free agency has remained to be seen, but his response to the situation and responses from teammates seem that he wasn’t endangering anyone and put the spotlight back on MLB for their handling of the situation. Regardless, there’s no doubt that he was a huge contributor to the team and has been a staple to the Dodgers franchise, the other two finalists at the position are Manny Machado of the San Diego Padres and Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians.

Corey Seager: Shortstop

After a somewhat mediocre 2019 season, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager turned it around with a tremendous 2020 season in which he slashed .307/.358/.863 with 41 RBIs and 15 home runs. That was definitely a step up from last season despite it being only 60 games, it definitely showed that he was ready for a comeback season in terms of numbers and helping the team. If it had not been a shortened season, Seager might have been able to continue his great run which also carried into the postseason and helped the team to their eventual 2020 title. In the postseason, he definitely made his at-bats count as he slashed .400/.556/.700 with 5 RBIs and 2 home runs which eventually led him to being named the World Series MVP.

Dodgers fans will be comfortable with Seager at shortstop for the 2021 season as he’s still signed with the team until the 2022 season, although some fans have been calling for a possible extension for the shortstop. He’s one of the many “homegrown” players that the Dodgers drafted, signed, and developed all the way through and he rewarded the team with a World Series victory and played a pivotal role in helping them finally winning it all. His competition is superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres and Trea Turner of the Nationals. While Tatis Jr. took over the scene for MLB in 2020 with his playing style and production, Seager actually edges him in OPS as Tatis Jr. has .937 and Seager has .943 narrowly passing him.

Mookie Betts: Outfield

There isn’t much else to say about what Mookie Betts has meant to the Dodgers since being traded except that he’s one of the best baseball players to play the game. He helped reshape the entire Dodgers team by adding his leadership and talent to a team that was already loaded but was lacking just one instrumental piece, that was Betts. In the shortened season, Betts slashed .292/.366/.927 with 39 RBIs and 16 home runs which helped push the Dodgers into the postseason and onto a World Series title. It was the subtle things that also played a part for Betts, as he was the team leader that would help carry the team and with his postseason experience, helped the team get over the hump of having been there and not winning it all. His glove also played a key role in the Dodgers postseason run with two fantastic catches that helped the team pass the Atlanta Braves and make a historic comeback being down 3-1 in the series.

Betts has no problem making the transition to the National League as his numbers were right around what he was doing with the Red Sox in 2019. There was some speculation at the beginning of the season if Betts would become a free agent and the Dodgers put those to rest when he signed an extension that keeps him in Dodgers blue for a long time. Although his numbers warrant him a spot in the All-MLB team, his competition is also packed with superstars such as Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Braves, Micheal Conforto of the Mets, Bryce Harper of the Phillies, Eloy Jimenez of the White Sox, Juan Soto of the Nationals, George Springer of the Astros, Mike Yastrzemski of the Giants, and Mike Trout of the Angels. It will be hard to determine just who of these outfielders gets a spot on the team, however, Mookie Betts easily makes his own case for why he deserves a spot.

Clayton Kershaw: Starting Pitcher

During the 2020 season, Kershaw proved to everyone that he still has what it takes to be dominant and why he’ll be known as one of the greatest Dodgers pitchers ever. He had an ERA of 2.16 in 58.1 innings of work with 62 strikeouts in the 10 games that he started. Kershaw has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the National League for quite some time now and he’s still proving to people that age is just a number with his filthy 4 pitch mix and a huge breaking ball that is just immaculate to see. While his career postseason may not look too great, his performance in the 2020 postseason was enough to help the Dodgers win it all with an ERA of 2.93 in 30.2 innings of work with 37 strikeouts to help rid of those postseason nightmares of the past. While the Dodgers may be looking to the future in terms of talent with Walker Buehler, Kershaw being nominated for this team just shows how dominant he was this season and deserves to be up there with some of the best.

While there’s no doubt that Kershaw deserves a spot in Dodgers immortality for everything he has done with the team including helping them win a World Series in 2020, the one question is will he remain a Dodgers for the rest of his career? He’s set to be a free agent in 2022 and while the Dodgers are loaded with young pitching talent, his veteran presence doesn’t go unnoticed and every year he seems to just put up ridiculous numbers throughout the season that makes you wonder how long can he keep being this dominant. There’s still plenty of time to ink the veteran lefty to a career-ending contract that will enshrine him in a Dodgers uniform forever, but the question will be how much is the Dodgers willing to spend. Either way, he was absolutely filthy during the 2020 season and deserves to be in the conversation with every candidate which includes Trevor Bauer, Shane Bieber, Gerrit Cole, Yu Darvish, Jacob deGrom, Max Fried, Dallas Keuchel, Dinelson Lamet, Kenta Maeda, Aaron Nola, and Hyun Jin Ryu.

Jacob Cisneros is a writer for Dodgers-LowDown. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @_JacobCisneros.