We're just a day away from the start of the postseason, when the top 10 teams in the Majors will compete for the right to hoist the Commissioner's Trophy.
But just because all the best teams are competing doesn't mean all the best players are. Despite our pleas for a 30-team postseason, there are plenty of stars who will be at home instead of on the diamond this October. But it doesn't have to be this way: Allow us to present the MLB All Non-Postseason Team, a roster composed of the very best players whose teams didn't quite make the cut this year.
We've even chosen a team that each player would fit best on, just in case our dream of a postseason loan system ever becomes a reality.
C: Buster Posey, Giants
Buster won't get to deliver any hugs at the mound this October, but he did put together yet another stellar season behind the plate in San Francisco, slashing .317/.397/.458 with typically great defense.
Now for the fun part: Imagine Posey on the Nationals, where he would fill in for a struggling Matt Wieters to form a Trea Turner-Anthony Rendon-Bryce Harper-Ryan Zimmerman-Buster Posey top of the order that we're excited just thinking about.
1B: Joey Votto, Reds
Another year, another MVP-caliber campaign from Votto. At this point you can just about pencil him into the .300/.400/.500 club every single season, and 2017 was no exception: The lefty posted an NL-leading 1.033 OPS with 36 homers, 100 RBIs and a positively Votto-esque 134 walks.
And if that isn't eye-popping enough, consider: Joey Votto at Yankee Stadium, where the Yankees could shift Greg Bird to DH and let their new first baseman take a crack at the short porch in right field.
2B: Robinson Cano, Mariners
Cano's 34 years old now (we'll let you take a minute to feel old), but he's still one of the very smoothest players in the game. Exhibit A:
Of course, the bat hasn't slowed down either: Cano hit .281 with 23 homers this year for a surprisingly awesome Mariners offense. Speaking of surprisingly awesome offenses, the D-backs would sure love to slot him into their infield alongside Jake Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt for Wednesday's NL Wild Card Game.
SS: Andrelton Simmons, Angels
When last we heard from Simmons, he was quietly putting together a convincing case for AL MVP -- adding surprising pop at the plate to the absurd defensive acrobatics we've come to know and love.
What postseason team might benefit from that kind of production? How about Minnesota, where Simba would form one heck of a double-play combination with Brian Dozier.
3B: Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
Donaldson played just 112 games this year, his lowest total since 2012, thanks to more than a month on the DL with a calf injury ... and yet he still managed to slash .272/.388/.563 with 33 homers. One of those dingers, hit at Target Field, might still be traveling:
Despite the best efforts of Deadline acquisition Eduardo Nunez, the Red Sox have struggled at the hot corner after trading Travis Shaw to Milwaukee this winter. Plus, two words: Green Monster.
LF: Tommy Pham, Cardinals
If you didn't pay close attention to the 2017 Cardinals, you missed out on one of the season's best stories: the emergence of Tommy Pham, who went from fourth outfielder to All-Star-caliber outfielder.
Due to injuries and shallow depth, Pham got his plate appearances almost by default, but he made the most of them. He hit .308/.410/.523 with 23 homers -- all far and away career highs -- while stealing 25 bases just for good measure. He also hit a ball to a part of PNC Park we didn't know a hitter could reach:
Now, imagine that power at Coors Field, where the Rockies could use another outfield bat to complement Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez.
CF: Mike Trout, Angels
Admittedly, this one is pretty self-explanatory:
As unfair as it seems to hand Mike Trout to any team already good enough to make the postseason, we'll choose the Indians, because top prospect Bradley Zimmer is relatively unproven.
RF: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
To sum up Giancarlo Stanton's season in one word: dingers. A full 59 of them, to be precise -- the most since Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa back in 2001.
It seems wrong for any baseball to be played without Giancarlo, so let's fly him out west to Chavez Ravine, where he can shift Chris Taylor -- or, dare we say, Yasiel Puig -- over to center field to form a truly jaw-dropping outfield trio. Besides, Stanton is already comfortable hitting at/over Dodger Stadium:
SP: Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays
After tearing his way through the Minor Leagues and holding his own in the postseason at just 24 years old, Stroman finally made the leap many had long expected in 2017. He posted a career-best 3.06 ERA, fourth-lowest in the AL, with an absurd 62.4% ground-ball rate -- thanks in large part to pitches like this:
That sinker would play great in Houston, whose rotation could use some depth. And, if you're looking for an entire All Non-Postseason Team rotation, might we suggest players like Jacob deGrom, Aaron Nola and Carlos Martinez?
RP: Corey Knebel, Brewers
Knebel prior to the 2017 season: a 4.03 career ERA, two career saves. Knebel during the 2017 season: a 1.78 ERA, 39 saves.
The righty was a revelation for the upstart Brewers, using a blistering high-90s fastball to strike out 126 batters in just 76 innings. While you don't get to October with a leaky bullpen, Knebel makes plenty of sense for the Cubs as a complement to closer Wade Davis -- because if the 2016 postseason taught us one thing, it's that you can never have too many impact arms in the 'pen.
Of course, if all these stars didn't want to suit up for current postseason teams, they could create a pretty competitive squad of their own. Would a lineup of Trout-Donaldson-Votto-Stanton-Posey-Cano-Pham-Simmons-Stroman be able to win it all this October? Let us know in the comments.