Sixteen teams made the postseason for the first time in baseball history, and the results led to a ton of theatrics in the opening round. We had a near no-hitter, a young slugger starting his postseason career on a 5-for-5 tear, and a budding superstar already cementing his legacy.
Let’s highlight some of those performances by selecting an All-Star team from the first round consisting of a player for each position, three starting pitchers, and a trio of relievers.
Grandal was one of the biggest additions made by any team this past offseason, and the White Sox were vindicated when their new catcher showed up for the franchise’s first postseason games since 2008.
Goldschmidt’s rebound season continued into the playoffs, where he smacked two homers in three games for the Cardinals. While his efforts weren’t enough to push his team into the NLDS, he certainly made life difficult for San Diego’s pitchers.
The rookie Cronenworth looked like he might be exposed on the big stage after starting the series with some brutal base running. Of course, the second baseman was able to put that behind him quickly, going 4-for-6 with two walks and a homer over the next two games.
Ramirez might take home the AL MVP award, and his contributions didn’t stop once the regular season ended. The Indians scored 12 runs during their brief playoff appearance, and Ramirez batted one-third of them in.
|Fernando Tatis Jr.||SD||2||5||1.662|
In the franchise’s first postseason berth since 2006, the Padres’ bats were reasonably quiet until Tatis woke them up with a three-run homer in Game 2. The phenom hit a solo bomb the next time he came to the plate to help even the series with the Cardinals. Honorable mention to Tim Anderson, who recorded three hits in each of the White Sox three games, going 9-for-14 with two doubles.
What a time for Naylor to turn it on. After a dismal showing down the stretch after being acquired by the Indians at the trade deadline, the young slugger made history by starting his postseason career going 5-for-5 with one homer and three doubles. Meanwhile, Myers is the only outfielder of the first round to hit at least two homers – one of which gave the Padres their first playoff lead in 14 years – while Arozarena went 4-for-8 with two doubles and a triple.
Stanton’s healthy and mashing once again. The gargantuan slugger tormented Cleveland with a pair of long homers and three RBIs during the Yankees’ two-game sweep. He also scored three runs and was one of the main reasons New York got by Cleveland.
Two of the three wild-card All-Star starters failed to advance to the division series, but they’re hardly at fault.
Bauer gave the Reds a phenomenal outing in Game 1 of their series, setting a franchise record for most strikeouts in a postseason game with 12. Unfortunately, his team squandered the effort by failing to score a run and lost the contest in 13 innings.
Giolito became just the fifth pitcher in playoff history to take a perfect game into the seventh inning. He helped the White Sox to their only win of the 2020 postseason.
Kershaw dialed it back to his MVP days with a brilliant 13-strikeout performance against Milwaukee that sent the Dodgers to the NLDS. He didn’t allow a run over eight innings and walked only one batter – who he promptly picked off at first.
While the Braves shut out the Reds in their two-game sweep, none of Atlanta’s runs were charged to Lorenzen, who was spectacular during his brief appearance in the series.
Johnson, who spent last season in Japan, was perhaps the most dominant of the Padres’ relief corps against St. Louis. He played a pivotal role in both Padres’ victories, which were largely won thanks to the bullpen’s performance.
Pearson was one of the Blue Jays’ few bright spots against Tampa Bay. The flamethrowing rookie held the Rays scoreless over two relief innings.