All-Postseason Performers team

All-Postseason Performers team

All-Postseason Performers team
ST. LOUIS -- The 2011 MLB.com All-Postseason Performers presented by Intel were announced after the Cardinals outlasted the Rangers in a thrilling seven-game World Series, and not surprisingly the list is dominated by players from a Series that will go down in history as one of the best.

Albert Pujols of the Cardinals is at first base; Texas' Ian Kinsler is at second, and his double-play partner, Elvis Andrus, is at shortstop; World Series MVP David Freese of the Cardinals is at third; Mike Napoli of the Rangers is behind the plate; Michael Young of the Rangers is designated hitter; and the outfield is comprised of Ryan Braun of the Brewers in left, Chris Young of the D-backs in center and Nelson Cruz of the Rangers in right.

One starting pitcher was selected, and that spot was clinched in World Series Game 7, when Chris Carpenter dominated the Rangers, much the way he had done in winning his classic duel with Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay in Game 5 of the National League Division Series. Jason Motte of the Cardinals threw the last pitch of the 2011 season and gets the nod at closer, with bullpen-mate Octavio Dotel also chosen as relief pitcher (not closer).

It's not easy to let go of that Major League Baseball postseason, which has held us spellbound since the dizzying rush that provided the final clinchers. Witness Commissioner Bud Selig, who uniquely began his final press conference before World Series Game 7 by recapping the flow of drama that never stopped until Jason Motte got the final out and St. Louis celebrated its 11th title.

"I've been in this sport for well over 40 years now, 45 to be exact, and I've just never seen anything like it," Commissioner Selig said. "We played 38 of our 41 postseason games, 19 of 20 in the Division Series. Amazing. We see the first seven-game World Series since '02, Giants and the Angels.

Here is a closer look at the All-Postseason Performer selections, and feel free to list yours in the comments:

First base: Pujols. Either he went out in style as a Cardinal or simply added to his St. Louis legend. In Game 3, Pujols produced what many regard as the greatest offensive performance in postseason history, going 5-for-6 with three home runs and a World Series-record 14 total bases. It was a tough pick over Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, whom Rangers manager Ron Washington also said required a lot of delicate pitching in their American League Championship Series. And don't forget Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt, who was 7-for-16 with two homers in the NLDS.

Second base: Kinsler. Chase Utley batted .438 in the shocking NLDS for the Phillies, and finished with the fourth-best postseason-combined OPS (1.259). Robinson Cano drove in nine runs for the Yankees with a pair of homers in their early exit. But Kinsler carried over the magic of his 30-30 season, batting .308 (20-for-65) with 10 runs, 14 walks and 11 RBIs, one of the easiest picks on this team.

Shortstop: Andrus. Conversely, this position was probably the most wide-open for debate. Andrus won it with his glove, no question about that. He scored 10 runs but had just one RBI in 68 postseason at-bats. You could have made an argument for Philly's Jimmy Rollins, who hit .450 (9-for-20), or Milwaukee's Yuniesky Betancourt (13-for-42), who had his ups and downs in the NLCS against St. Louis.

Third base: Freese. This one went down to the wire, between Freese and Adrian Beltre of Texas. Both were postseason forces, but you can't argue with NLCS and World Series MVP trophies. Freese is frozen in time after what he did in Game 6 alone, with a two-run triple that forced extras as Texas was one strike way from a title, and then his walk-off homer in the 11th inning.

Catcher: Napoli. If average baseball fans knew little about the Rangers' backstop going into this postseason, they found out enough by the time it was over. He basically had a Chevy Corvette taken right out his hands, the World Series MVP stolen away by Freese. Just think: A baseball is pitched, and if it hits the catcher's glove, the catcher is MVP; if it is batted safely, the batter is MVP. Amazing, and that either-or happened twice. Yadier Molina of the Cardinals batted .299 in the postseason with 12 RBIs.

DH: M. Young. After another regular season exceeding 200 hits, the Rangers veteran drove in 12 runs over 17 postseason games. There wasn't a lot of competition for this one, because the only other regular DH from the AL was Matt Joyce of the Rays, and he was 3-for-15.

Outfield: Braun, C. Young, Cruz. Braun batted .500 in the NLDS against Arizona, playing on a different level than everyone else, and he didn't fall off much in the subsequent series. It might have been fun to see Young go further into the postseason, because he was 7-for-18 with three homers and a 1.394 OPS for Arizona in that great five-game series. Cruz tied a record with eight homers in a single postseason, and five of them came against Detroit, including a memorable walk-off grand slam in Game 2. Can't forget Detroit's Delmon Young, who hit five homers, helped oust the Yankees and fought through an oblique injury.

Starting pitchers: Carpenter. It was very much not the Postseason of the Pitcher, but there were some sparkling performances. Among starters, you can't argue with Carpenter's 4-0 run, including "the duel" and the title clincher. Halladay had no no-hitter up his sleeve this time, but he still was a dominating force in his starts for the Phillies, striking out 15 Cardinals in 16 innings. Colby Lewis, Doug Fister, Derek Holland, Yovani Gallardo and Matt Moore left indelible memories.

Relief pitchers: Motte and Dotel. This one was won by Motte as much as it was lost by Neftali Feliz of the Rangers. Motte went 5-for-5 in save opportunities during the postseason, including the Game 7 clincher, and had a 0.49 WHIP. Feliz was 6-for-6 before his famous breakdown in the classic Game 6, and even his manager, Ron Washington, was talking about how much he craved a 1-2-3 inning from his closer. For one other bullpen man, the final choice was Dotel, who was so clutch throughout the postseason, with 14 strikeouts and a 0.68 WHIP over a dozen appearances.

Here's how some other experts around the World Series filled out their own All-Postseason Performers:

JON HEYMAN, MLB Network and SI.com
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Ian Kinsler
SS: Jimmy Rollins
3B: David Freese
C: Yadier Molina
DH: Mike Napoli
OF: Nelson Cruz
OF: Ryan Braun
OF: Delmon Young
SP: Chris Carpenter
CL: Neftali Feliz
RP: Scott Feldman

TONY DeMARCO, NBCSports.com
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Ian Kinsler
SS: Yuniesky Betancourt
3B: Adrian Beltre
C: Mike Napoli
DH: Miguel Cabrera
OF: Nelson Cruz
OF: Ryan Braun
OF: Chris Young
SP: Chris Carpenter
CL: Jason Motte
RP: Joaquin Benoit

KEVIN MILLAR & CHRIS ROSE, MLB Network's "Intentional Talk"
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Ian Kinsler
SS: Jhonny Peralta
3B: Adrian Beltre
C: Mike Napoli
DH: Miguel Cabrera
OF: Nelson Cruz
OF: Ryan Braun
OF: Allen Craig
SP: Colby Lewis
CL: Neftali Feliz
RP: Joaquin Benoit

BOB NIGHTENGALE, USA Today
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Chase Utley
SS: Jimmy Rollins
3B: David Freese
C: Mike Napoli
OF: Ryan Braun
OF: Josh Hamilton
OF: Nelson Cruz
SP: Chris Carpenter
CL: Neftali Feliz
RP: Octavio Dotel

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.