With the regular season completed and the playoffs heating up, it’s time for MLBbro.com to honor the very best Black and brown players of 2023.
The third annual All-Bro Team represents excellence at the plate, in the field, and as a leader. It was selected by a panel led by Editor-in-chief Rob Parker.
The All-Bro Team features one selection at each of the infield positions, three outfielders, a designated hitter, starting pitcher, closer, and manager. All players were chosen solely on their regular season statistics.
2023 All-Bro Team
C: Bo Naylor, Guardians
1B: Josh Bell, Marlins
2B: Marcus Semien, Rangers
SS: JP Crawford, Mariners
3B: Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pirates
OF: Mookie Betts, Dodgers
OF: Michael Harris II, Braves
OF: Aaron Judge, Yankees
DH: Jordan Walker, Cardinals
SP: Taijuan Walker, Phillies
CP: Devin Williams, Brewers
MGR: Dave Roberts, Dodgers
Catcher: Bo Naylor, Cleveland Guardians
Season Stats: .237 AVG, 11 HR, 32 RBI, .809 OPS
Let’s keep it real, there aren’t a lot of catchers who qualify for All-Bro recognition.
However, that doesn’t mean that Bo Naylor didn’t have a positive impact on the Guardians this season.
He appeared in 67 games this season, with 55 starts. In those games, Cleveland was 30-25 (.545) compared to their overall winning percentage of just under 47 percent.
Naylor’s 11 home runs were tied for fourth-best and his 32 RBI were eighth-best on the Guardians’ roster. Even with his limited at-bats, Naylor ranked in the top 10 among American League catchers in both OPS and slugging percentage.
Hopefully, the 2023 season is just the beginning of a long career as a backstop for Bo.
First Base: Josh Bell, Miami Marlins
Season Stats: .247 AVG, 22 HR, 74 RBI, .744 OPS
Josh Bell started the season with the Guardians, but as their dreams of contending for the AL Central crown faded away they moved Bell to the Miami Marlins.
Though he played just 53 games in Miami, he was an integral part of the Marlins’ push to the playoffs, batting .270 with 11 home runs and 26 RBI and 26 runs scored.
All told, his 22 home runs and 74 RBI represent his fourth career season with at least 20 home runs and 70 RBI since 2016. And now, he’s back on the All-Bro team.
Second Base: Marcus Semien, Texas Rangers
Season Stats: .276 AVG, 29 HR, 29 doubles, 100 RBI, 122 runs, .826 OPS
Over the last three seasons, it’s hard to make a case that there has been a better second baseman in the major leagues than Marcus Semien. He’s been an ironman, appearing in 485 of a possible 486 regular season games, a two-time All-Star, and the inaugural MLBbro.com Player of the Year.
Since 2021 Semien has batted .263 with 100 home runs, 110 doubles, 285 RBI, 338 runs, and 54 stolen bases.
In 2023 he helped lead the Rangers to the playoffs for the first time since 2016 as one of the most devastating leadoff hitters in the game. He slashed .276/.348/.478/.826 while becoming the second player in Rangers history to play in all 162 games.
He led the American League in hits, runs, plate appearances, at-bats, and finished in the top three in total bases, doubles, and RBI. Semien became the first player to led the AL in runs and hits since 2002 and is one of the leading candidates for league MVP.
Shortstop: JP Crawford, Seattle Mariners
Season Stats: .266 AVG, 19 HR, 35 doubles, 65 RBI, 94 runs, .818 OPS
Though JP Crawford wasn’t able to get the Seattle Mariners into the playoffs for the second straight season, he did put together the best regular season of his career.
Crawford set career highs in seven offensive categories, including: runs (94), home runs (19), RBI (65), walks (94), OBP (.380), slugging (.438), and OPS (.818). His 94 walks were an AL-best. Crawford was one of only seven hitters in the major leagues with a strikeout rate below 20% and a walk rate above 12%.
Among shortstops, only Corey Seager was rated better offensively. Placing him on the All-Bro team was an easy choice.
Third Base: Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates
Season Stats: .271 AVG, 15 HR, 31 doubles, 61 RBI, 65 runs, .762 OPS
Ke’Bryan Hayes came into the big leagues with one of the best gloves at his position. He should be receiving his first Gold Glove any time now.
But, he was considered all glove, no bat. This year, he started to change that perception in a big way.
Just like JP Crawford, he posted a number of career highs himself. Hayes put up bests in batting average, hits, runs, home runs, RBI, SLG (.453), OPS (.762), and OPS+.
He had 11 more hits than last season in 12 fewer games. He had more triples (7) and home runs (15) in 2023 than he had in the previous two seasons combined (five and 13 respectively). He increased his RBI total by 49%.
The future looks bright for Hayes to become an elite performer at his position.
Outfield: Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers
Season Stats: .307 AVG, 39 HR, 40 doubles, 107 RBI, 126 runs, .987 OPS
It’s hard to overstate just how good Mookie Betts was this season for the Dodgers. The last time he was THIS good, he won the American League MVP with the Boston Red Sox. His performance this season puts him the race for NL MVP. If he were to pull that off, he would become only the second player (Frank Robinson) to do so in major league history.
For the second consecutive season Mookie set a career high in home runs and set a new major league record for RBI for a leadoff hitter. He hit at least 40 doubles for the seventh time in the past nine seasons, and he finished just one behind his career high in walks with 96.
In the field, he played wherever he was needed. Right field? 77 starts. Second base? 62 starts. Shortstop? 16 starts. The only thing he didn’t do this season was pitch. But there’s already another guy in LA who does that.
Outfield: Michael Harris II, Atlanta Braves
Season Stats: .293 AVG, 18 HR, 33 doubles, 57 RBI, 76 runs
Last season’s National League Rookie of the Year struggled to avoid the sophomore slump to start the season, but turned it around as a key component for the 104-win Braves.
Over the final two months of the season, as Atlanta went 37-19, Harris was at his best.
In those 56 games he batted .319 with nine home runs, 29 RBI, and 38 runs scored. That represented half of his totals in those categories. He missed out on the Braves’ World Championship in 2021, but if Atlanta is going to win one this season, Michael Harris II will be a major reason why.
Outfield: Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
Season Stats: .267 AVG, 37 HR, 75 RBI, 79 runs, 1.019 OPS
It was improbable that Aaron Judge could match the numbers he put up during his MVP season from a year ago, one of the greatest offensive seasons in baseball history.
Injuries, one of Judge’s nemeses, and the underwhelming performance of the Yankees made it impossible.
That didn’t stop the five-time All-Star from putting up some great stats, though he played in the fewest games (106) and had the fewest at-bats (367) of any of his seasons since joining the Yankees full-time in 2017.
Aaron Judge still landed among the top 10 among AL outfielders in runs (10th), home runs (3rd), RBI (9th), and walks (1st).
Designated Hitter: Jordan Walker, St. Louis Cardinals
Season Stats: .276 AVG, 16 HR, 51 RBI, 51 runs, .787 OPS
Prior to his debut Jordan Walker drew comparisons to Albert Pujols. That’s a lot to live up to. Especially in a baseball-crazy city like St. Louis.
He had a very solid rookie season for the Cardinals, batting .276 with 16 home runs, 51 RBI, with 51 runs scored in 420 at-bats. He also made the shift to the outfield, after spending his minor league career at third base.
Walker started the season by reaching base in each of his first 12 games, though his playing time was inconsistent as the Cardinals shuttled him back to the minors to tweak his swing.
He finished the season with five hits in his last nine at-bats, including three doubles, with three RBI and four runs scored. We’re excited to see if that carries over into the 2024 season for the future star.
Starting Pitcher: Taijuan Walker, Philadelphia Phillies
Season Stats: W/L: 15-6, 4.38 ERA, 31 GS, 138 K, 172.2 IP
For the first time in is career Taijuan Walker has posted consecutive winning seasons. His 15 wins led the Phillies and were fourth-most in the National League. Walker also set a career high in innings pitched.
Over the last two seasons combined, Walker is 27-11 (.711) for the Mets and Phillies with a 3.95 ERA in 330 innings pitched.
Closing Pitcher: Devin Williams, Milwaukee Brewers
Season Stats: W/L: 8-3, 36 saves, 1.53 ERA, 87 K, 58.2 IP
Devin Williams is off to a pretty good start to his career. He was named the 2020 Rookie of the Year after going 4-1 with a 0.33 ERA. And over the last four seasons he’s posted a 26-10 overall record with 54 saves and a 1.75 ERA.
This year was the best of his young career as Williams matched his career-high in wins while setting new personal standards in ERA, saves, runs allowed, and earned runs allowed for the NL Central champion Brewers.
Among pitchers with at least 30 saves, only San Diego’s Josh Hader had a lower earned run average. At 29 years of age, Williams should be one of the game’s top closers for years to come.
Manager: Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers
Season Stats: 100-62, 1st place NL West
There are two managerial jobs unlike any other in baseball, and Dave Roberts has one of them.
He has three National League pennants and a World Series championship on his resume, but in Los Angeles that isn’t always enough to keep people from calling for his head.
Rather than let the noise get to him, Roberts just continues to lead the Dodgers too 100-win seasons and the playoffs. Since taking over at the start of the 2016 season, Roberts has won the NL West seven times. In the other year, he finished second by a single game.
He owns the franchise record for wins and this season was his fifth with at least 100 victories. The Dodgers have won 100 or more games 11 times in 140 years, Dave Roberts has done it five times in eight.
Even as the Giants and Padres crumbled under the weight of expectations and his team dealt with its own adversity, Roberts kept the Dodgers on track.
And for that, he’s our All-Bro team manager.