Team Affinity Season Five
(image from @MLBTheShow/Twitter)

Ranking Every Team Affinity Season Five Player

MLB The Show 21 made a bit of history in Diamond Dynasty by releasing its first ever Team Affinity Season Five program on Friday. After season four, many expected the content drops to slow down from San Diego Studios, but this new program features 30 players that all have a 99 rating. Each team has a Finest series player card that reflects his production output for the 2021 MLB season.

Team Affinity Season Five is a mega program. Each division requires 300 program stars to complete, but you can collect all five players by 150. Once you collect all five choice packs, the remainder of the program consists of an extra 25,000 stubs and over 60 packs containing players. It’s worth noting that you can reach 90 program stars without even playing any games. Through collections and exchanges, you will unlock two of the five Team Affinity Season Five players to kickstart your grinding on conquests maps and online play.

Like my season four list, I’ll be ranking the five players for each division, starting with the American League East and ending with the National League West. I’m ranking this list in my way, meaning you may not have the same guys in the same spots. Each card brings different values that can make your lineup better.

AL East

  1. 2B Marcus Semien, Toronto Blue Jays: Semien set career highs in home runs (45) and RBI (102) in 2021 as he finished third in AL MVP voting for second time in his big-league career. He is set to make an absolute killing in free agency this winter. He was named to his first All-Star Game and this card reflects it. It’s hard to find power at the middle infield spots, and Semien has oodles of it plus a great glove and great speed. This card should be on your God Squad, though he just misses the cut on mine with superfractor Jackie Robsinson.
  2. SP Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees: Cole made his fourth All-Star Game and finished the year as the second in AL Cy Young voting behind Toronto’s Robbie Ray. This Finest card has five pitches, including a sinker and a four seamer that touches 100 mph. He has 104 in the ever-so-important H/9 attribute, and his hard-breaking slider can get all the way up to 94 mph. Still, he doesn’t quite make my rotation competing with deGrom, Kershaw, Pedro, Ohtani, and a player to be named later on this list.
  3. 2B Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays: Brandon Lowe blasted 39 homers in 2021. His power surge along with 31 doubles and 99 RBI earned him tenth place in the MVP voting. As a lefty, Lowe can bring value to your DD lineup. Like Semien, there are very few power bats up the middle of the infield, let alone coming from the left batter’s box. He’s a really good fielder and will have at least an 80 rating in his secondary positions of right and left field.
  4. 1B Ryan Mountcastle, Baltimore Orioles: The final two guys may be interchangeable. I like Mountcastle at #4 because of his position flexibility. He has 76 speed and 79 fielding, along with the expected bat of a first baseman. His arm isn’t the greatest, but if he’s at least making plays at third or left, he can work out. He placed sixth in Rookie of the Year voting with his 33 HR and 89 RBI.
  5. LF J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox: If you are looking for a straight up masher that can’t do anything else, J.D. is perfect. He doesn’t make my team because I like corner outfielders to be more well-rounded, but don’t let that deter you for being 108+ in every hitting attribute. Martinez became a four-time All-Star in 2021 and finished batting .286 with 99 RBI.

AL Central

  1. CP Emmanuel Clase, Cleveland Indians: Clase is game breaking. He throws a 102-mph cutter – a unique flex that helped him save 24 games for Cleveland this year, which ranked fifth in the AL. His 1.69 ERA and 9.6 K/9 were impressive enough to have him finish fifth in the ROTY race. His cutter isn’t the only thing that touches triple digits. His four seamer gets there, too. You can also mix in a sharp slider that sits around 92 mph. But the most advantageous attribute for Clase is unreal 122 H/9. You need him in your bullpen ASAP.
  2. 2B Jorge Polanco, Minnesota Twins: Polanco set a career high in WAR finishing with 4.9. The switch hitter also bested himself in homers (33), RBI (98), and slugging percentage (.503). This card is going to be underrated, I know it. Known as a consistent contact hitter before 2021, he finally has high power due to a 22-homer second half. He has 80 fielding at second base but can also play shortstop and third, and he has 74 speed to compliment.
  3. C Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals: With numbers like these, I thought Salvy would have finished higher than seventh in AL MVP voting. He led the AL in homers with 48 AND RBI with 121. He also appeared in 161 games this year, an impressive feat for a catcher. This Finest card celebrates his seventh All-Star appearance – at just 31 years old – with max power versus lefties. If only he didn’t strike out 170 times this year, his vision might have been 101 instead of 81, and I’d be telling you this card would be the best hitting catcher in the game.
  4. 3B Jeimer Candelario, Detroit Tigers: Candelario has been the Finest player for the Tigers in back-to-back years now. As a switch hitter at the corner infield spots, I wish this card had more than 101 and 100 power. His switch hitting and fielding abilities are just about the only intriguing things here. Interestingly, Candelario tied for the league lead in doubles with 42 – a bright spot for a Detroit team that didn’t have much to cheer about in 2021.
  5. 3B Yoan Moncada, Chicago White Sox: After the godly Frank Thomas was dropped in season four, I expected the White Sox player in Team Affinity Season Five to be a bit of a letdown. Moncada hits from both sides of the plate and can play three infield positions. He has great fielding and 71 speed. His hitting is fine (100+ in each category), but the 75 vision is “meh.” Still, The Show players know that all Moncada cards have one of those swings that feels glitchy. He also has 121 discipline thanks to his career-high 84 walks in 2021, so you will get more successful check swings.

AL West

  1. RF Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros: In his first real full season as a starter, Tucker put up fantastic numbers for a 24-year-old. He slashed .294/.359/.557 with 30 homers and 92 RBI as he turned into a key cog in the wheel for the AL champs. He also struck out under 100 times, resulting in his vision to be 104 on this Finest card. Everything is at least 112 in the hitting department, and he has diamond fielding and 68 speed to go along. He’s a five-tool player that can play anywhere in the outfield as a lefty hitter, which means he should probably be in your God Squad lineup…he makes my team, but he’s on my bench.
  2. RF Mitch Haniger, Seattle Mariners: Mitch didn’t play at all in 2020 but made a major impact for a Mariners squad that surprisingly won 90 games and missed the playoffs by just two games. Haniger hit a career-high 39 homers and drove in 100 runs. He even received one MVP vote. This card rakes left-handed pitching and has serious pop against righties, too. He’s not the best fielder or the fastest runner, but he is most definitely not the slowest. Finest Haniger is an all-round solid card.
  3. CP Raisel Iglesias, Los Angeles Angels: Iglesias could definitely find a home in your bullpen. He has four pitches including a sinker and 112 H/9. His four-seam fastball will occasionally touch triple digits but will most likely sit around 97-98. His best pitch is the slider, because it is about 15 mph slower than his hard stuff. Raisel posted a 2.57 ERA and saved 34 games in his first season as an Angel. He finished 11th in Cy Young voting.
  4. SP Frankie Montas, Oakland Athletics: Montas had a breakout year in 2021. He started 32 games and struck out over 200 hitters for the first time in his career. With an impressive 3.37 ERA, Montas finished sixth in AL Cy Young voting. This card would be so much better if it had a fifth pitch. The sinker is his primary pitch and will run up to 100 mph because of the outlier quirk. His best pitch is his splitter. It has 99 break, 96 control, and sits around 87 mph.
  5. 1B Nate Lowe, Texas Rangers: This card is so bland, just like the Texas Rangers were this season. Lowe completed his first season in a starting role and played well. As a first baseman, batting .264 is good, but blasting just 18 home runs affects this card too much. He only has 102 and 101 power, and I just need more from my 1B.

NL East

  1. RF Juan Soto, Washington Nationals: What can be said about Juan Soto that hasn’t already been said? He was Bonds-esque in 2021, finishing with an OBP of .465(!!!) while also walking 145 times. This dude is the most feared hitter in our sport through his 22-year-old season. His OPS was .999, and he finished second behind Bryce Harper for NL MVP. He has max contact against righties, and though his power isn’t absolutely bonkers, 117 and 111 will do just fine. This card also has 88 fielding which seems illegal after his negative defensive runs saved in each of his previous three seasons. Surprisingly, he finished in the positives with a +4 DRS in 2021, so he could reasonably work out in center field in the game. Get this card on. Your team, now.
  2. SP Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies: Wheeler struck out a league-high 247 batters and threw 213.1 innings. He also threw three complete games (two of them being shutouts) which earned him a very close second place finish for the NL Cy Young. This card has a five-pitch mix with a sinker that has outlier. He’ll hit 100 mph on his four-seamer, too, and his slider is over 90. If that isn’t enough, this card can hit, too. How about 50 contact versus lefties and 41 vision?
  3. 1B Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves: Freddie Freeman is a World Series champion and the Braves’ team affinity player for another year. He was nominated to his fifth career All-Star Game due to hitting .300 for the sixth season out of the last seven. His league-high 120 runs scored helped him finished ninth in the MVP race. 2020’s MVP mashes righties and is pretty good against lefties. His diamond fielding ability at the corner infield positions is a nice bonus.
  4. SP Marcus Stroman, New York Mets: It was an upsetting year for the New York Mets. I honestly didn’t think anyone else deserved a Finest card besides Pete Alonso and Stroman. Stroman’s 3.02 ERA and 158 strikeouts were his best since 2017. His Team Affinity Season Five card has five pitches and emphasizes movement over velocity. His sinker and cutter are going to be annoying for opposing hitters to barrel up.
  5. SP Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins: Alcantara was a bright spot for a Marlins team that went right back to mediocrity after making a little run in the 2020 postseason. He struck out 201 batters over 205.2 innings and posted a 3.19 ERA. Alcantara has five pitches – the primary being a sinker that touches 100 mph. I like how he has a curveball and a slider.

NL Central

  1. SP Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers: Burnes might be the best card in Team Affinity Season Five. The NL Cy Young had a 94 overall POTM card earlier in the year that was awesome, so you can only imagine what a juiced-up version would do to hitters. He works out of the stretch and throws a cutter and a sinker with outlier. How about 114 H/9? Sounds pretty unfair. He finished with the lowest ERA in the NL at 2.43. Burnes also bested all other pitchers in FIP at 1.63 and strikeout-to-walk ratio at 6.88.
  2. CF Bryan Reynolds, Pittsburgh Pirates: After the Pirates traded Adam Frazier to the Padres, Reynolds was the only good player left on the roster. The 2021 All-Star hit a league-leading eight triples. He batted .302 and finished with a career-high .912 OPS. As a switch-hitting speedster, he has 109 and 103 power. The 26-year-old also has 97 fielding, meaning he’ll be at least a 92 in both left and right field.
  3. 2B Jonathan India, Cincinnati Reds: This really isn’t the greatest card, but I’m just stoked to see India’s face on a 99 overall card. He quickly became one of my favorite players, winning NL ROTY with a .269 average, 21 HR, and 69 RBI. He also got hit by a league-high 21 pitches, as a fun fact. This card doesn’t have the most insane anything but is just an all-round great player. He’s a five-tool player that can play three infield positions…and he has amazing hair.
  4. 1B Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals: Goldy had his best season as a Cardinal in 2021. He won his fourth Gold Glove Award and placed sixth in the MVP race by hitting .294 with 31 HR and 99 RBI. His Finest card has diamond fielding and crushed lefties. He also has high stealing because he went 12 for 12 on steal attempts this year.
  5. 3B Patrick Wisdom, Chicago Cubs: Wisdom was a 29-year-old rookie that hit 28 homers in 2021. His 99 card has max power on both sides but just 45 vision, because he struck out 153 times in 106 games and hit .231. He can play the corner infield and outfield spots at a high level and has 76 speed to help him move around swiftly.

NL West

  1. SS Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres: Tatis Jr. would have won NL MVP if it weren’t for an enormous collapse for him and his Padres in the final month or so of the season. Missing 32 games due to injuries did not help, either. Still, he managed to lead the NL in home runs with 42 and set a career-high in OPS at .975. The card is a shortstop but has eligibility at five other positions. He’s a diamond-caliber fielder with elite speed and stealing. He also destroys baseballs thanks to his max power. His 70 vision is a tad low, but he has high enough contact to make up for it.
  2. CF Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks: Marte played just 90 games in 2021, but he lit up all stat categories in a short span. He had 108 hits – 44 of them going for extra bases while slashing .318/.377/.532. Marte is nearly maxed out versus lefties by hitting .387 in such matchups. As a switch hitter, Marte can play five positions and has good speed. Use his high contact attributes to spray some gaps.
  3. 1B Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers: Muncy was a serious MVP candidate through the first half of the year, but he fell off big time in the second half. He still finished 10th in voting thanks to 36 HR, 94 RBI, and a .895 OPS. Muncy’s card has reverse splits, meaning he hits better against lefties than righties. He’s a great fielder and a decent athlete for a first baseman, but let’s not forget he can play second and third.
  4. SS Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants: Did Brandon Crawford just have his best offensive season of his career at age 34? You bet! He set career highs in pretty much every offensive statistic. Of course, you can expect a Crawford card to have 99 fielding, but now that he has 108+ in every hitting stat, this card might be unstoppable. I just wish he had more speed and not 38.
  5. 1B C.J. Cron, Colorado Rockies: Cron is pretty much the J.D. Martinez of the NL. He set career highs in batting average, RBI, OPS, and doubles. He could be a pretty nice bench bat in a jam.

Outro

So, go ahead. Start working on completing these Team Affinity Season Five programs so you can add these studs to your Diamond Dynasty lineup. Clase, Soto, Burnes, and Tatis Jr. are must-haves, but don’t be afraid to try other guys out. The game is reaching its final stages, so have some fun building new teams and testing out players you normally wouldn’t use. Also, go take advantage of double XP from now until December 10th. You should easily be able to finish the 9th Inning Program, which features a 99 Babe Ruth that has maxed out hitting attributes. If you need anyone on your team, he’s that guy.

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