New York Yankees stars DJ LeMahieu and Aroldis Chapman were rewarded for strong 2019 seasons by making the inaugural All-MLB team.
The honorees were announced Tuesday by Commissioner Rob Manfred at the Winter Meetings in San Diego. MLB.com’s Sarah Langs posted the full results to Twitter.
The 2019 All-MLB First & Second Teams!
LOVE seeing this concept for baseball… Love the idea of honoring the full season's contributions from players, MLB-wide.
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) December 10, 2019
Both LeMahieu and Chapman are more than deserving of the honor. LeMahieu signed a two-year deal with the Yankees last offseason and was originally expected to be a backup infielder of some sort. Instead, thanks to a bevy of injuries, he settled in as the leadoff hitter to tremendous results.
LeMahieu hit .327 with a career-high 26 home runs and 102 RBIs. He proved versatile in the field, spending time at second, first, and third base. In a remarkably cruel twist of fate, he was not a finalist for American League MVP.
Chapman too turned in another strong year as New York’s closer. He posted 37 saves in 60 appearances and had a 2.21 ERA while earning his sixth All-Star berth. Chapman also struck out 85 hitters in just 57 innings of work. At season’s end, rather than opt-out of his contract, he and the Yankees agreed to a one-year extension worth $18 million.
This honor is largely symbolic, but the Yankees can still use this to their advantage. General manager Brian Cashman has made it no secret how much he wants free-agent pitcher Gerrit Cole. Perhaps LeMahieu and Chapman making the All-MLB team can be a selling point.
After all, New York landed two players on these teams despite significant injuries all year. It takes a special kind of team to accomplish that.