Soon it will be 2020. The 2010’s will be a thing in the past and we will be in a new decade. The 2010’s was a great year for Major League Baseball. We saw some incredible young players burst onto the scene, some with power that we have never seen before. We saw the Chicago Cubs end their 108-year World Series drought, and saw some of our favorite players from our childhoods call it quits.
With the decade all but over, we decided to field the MLB all-decade team. The team will feature one player from each fielding position, including a designated hitter and a utility player. On the pitching side, we will field a full 5 man rotation as well as 7 bullpen pitchers. So without further delay, here is our team.
Note: Offensive “Decade Stats” are AVG/OBP/SLG
Buster Posey was drafted with the fifth overall pick by the San Francisco Giants in the 2008 MLB draft. He spent two years in the minor leagues before making his MLB debut in May of 2010. He finished the year winning the NL Rookie of the Year, and winning a World Series with the Giants. It wouldn’t be the last World Series for Posey, as the Giants would win 2 more with Posey behind the dish. Posey secured the 2012 NL MVP Award, as well as being selected to 6 total All-Star Games. A Gold Glove winner in 2016, and 4 Silver Slugger awards has Buster Posey the best catcher of the 2010’s.
Decade Stats: .302/.371/.458, 140 HR, 673 RBI, 42.2 WAR
Others in consideration: Yadier Molina
This was one of the more difficult choices. Both Miguel Cabrera and Joey Votto had incredible decades, but in the end Miguel Cabrera got the nod. Miggy first played with the Florida Marlins and even won a World Series his rookie year. He joined the Tigers in 2008 and it didn’t take long for Cabrera to prove he is one of the best first basemen in the league. He was a 7-time All-Star in the decade, and won two MVP Awards. Cabrera was also the first player since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to win the traditional Triple Crown.
Decade Stats: .317/.399/.544, 268 HR, 941 RBI, 43.5 WAR
Others in Consideration: Joey Votto
One of the shortest players in Major League Baseball, Houston Astros’ second baseman Jose Altuve has consistently been one of the team’s best players. Altuve made his first All-Star appearance in just his second year in the majors, and would be selected to 5 more in his career. In 2017 Altuve batted a league best .346 along with 24 homers and 81 RBIs. Altuve was a huge part of the Astros’ 2017 World Series run, and more recently was the ALCS MVP during the 2019 postseason. Altuve is a 3-time AL batting champion (2014, 2016, 2017) and a 5-time Silver Slugger (2014-2018).
Decade Stats: .315/.364/.463, 128 HR, 538 RBI, 38.5 WAR
Others in Consideration: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia
Shortstop was probably the hardest position to choose. There have been many great shortstops in this decade, but in my opinion, Troy Tulowitzki was an incredible ball player before his career was riddled with injuries. Tulo was drafted 7th overall by the Rockies in the 2005 MLB draft, and was promoted to the MLB in August of 2006. A 5-time All-Star in the decade, Tulowitzki was an outstanding hitter before he was hit with multiple injuries. Tulo played for Blue Jays and Yankees before he retired from baseball in 2019.
Decade Stats: .293/.363/.506, 160 HR, 537 RBI, 30.4 WAR
Others in Consideration: Jose Reyes, Erick Aybar
Adrian Beltre was one of the leagues most underrated players in my opinion. He was one of the most consistent offensive players the past decade, but we can’t look past his defensive prowess. Beltre secured 3 Gold Glove awards in the decade in 2011, 2012, and 2016. He made 4 All-Star teams, and won 3 Silver Slugger awards. Beltre retired after the 2018 season, so he only played 9 of the 10 years, but it was enough for the Rangers to retire his number after he retired, and he is (in my opinion) a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Decade Stats: .307/.358/.514, 227 HR, 801 RBI, 51.0 WAR
Others in Consideration: Nolan Arenado, Josh Donaldson
Right field could’ve easily went to Jose Bautista, but Joey Bats slowed down in the second half of the decade. Giancarlo Stanton, however, was completely dominant during the entire decade. When you take the entire league into consideration, Stanton ranked third in home runs among all players. Stanton is a 4-time All-Star, a 2-time NL Hank Aaron Award winner (2014, 2017), and took home the 2017 NL MVP. Before putting on pinstripes in New York, Stanton played 8 seasons in Miami, which is known as a very pitcher-friendly ballpark, yet he still put up astronomical numbers.
Decade Stats: .268/.358/.547, 308 HR, 785 RBI, 39.9 WAR
Others in Consideration: Jose Bautista
Come on, we all knew who it was, right? Probably the easiest selection in the entire article is the 28-year-old Mike Trout. Arguably the best player in baseball today, Trout has personified greatness as he’s already touted as a Hall of Fame player. He debuted in the league in 2011, and won the AL Rookie of the Year in his first full season (2012). He has won 3 MVP Awards (so far), and has finished second in four other MVP races. Trout has the highest WAR of any player in the decade, despite starting in 2011. The great Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully once said Trout was “bigger than Mantle”, and as a die-hard Yankee fan who takes those kind of comparisons seriously, I can’t help but agree.
Decade Stats: .305/.419/.581, 285 HR, 752 RBI, 72.5 WAR
Others in Consideration: Andrew McCutchen
Left field was a tough position due to how teams view the position. Many times, players who aren’t the best defensively will be stuck in left field, or when you have an older player who can’t move around in the outfield as well anymore, that player gets stuck in left. Those cases make it hard to pick one left fielder, but my pick is Ryan Braun. Even though it may be weird to have someone who was suspended for PED use to be included in an All-Decade team, Braun was still an incredibly gifted offensive player. He led the NL in home runs in the 2012 campaign with 41, was the 2011 NL MVP and was selected to 4 All-Star games in the decade.
Decade Stats: .294/.359/.519, 241 HR, 811 RBI, 35.4 WAR
Others in Consideration: Matt Holliday
This selection was a tough one. On one hand, Big Papi only played 7 years in the decade, but is truly one of the only real all time DH’s. On the other hand you have players like Nelson Cruz and Edwin Encarnacion who may have been at DH for less time, but put up some great numbers doing it. Either way, we decided to go with the greatest Designated Hitter of all time. Ortiz was a 5-time All-Star this decade, took home the 2016 AL Hank Aaron Award, and the 2011 Roberto Clemente Award. The Red Sox won the World Series in 2013 where Papi was named the World Series MVP. The Red Sox retired Ortiz’s number 34 jersey after he retired, and he is a definite first ballot Hall of Famer.
Decade Stats: .292/.383/.562, 224 HR, 700 RBI, 25.3 WAR
Others in Consideration: Nelson Cruz, Edwin Encarnacion
Anybody fantasy baseball players here? You know what I like in fantasy baseball? Players with multiple positions. Don’t want that player at 2nd base? It’s ok, he can also play 3rd. There was one time where Ben Zobrist was able to be plugged in at almost every position in the field. Zobrist was quietly excellent in Tampa Bay, and was a big part of helping the Kansas City Royals win the World Series in 2015. Zobrist then joined the Chicago Cubs in the 2016 season and helped the team win their first World Series in 108 years, even being named the 2016 World Series MVP.
Decade Stats: .267/.359/.419, 125 HR, 620 RBI, 37.3 WAR
Others in Consideration: Kris Bryant
Kershaw’s rookie year was in 2008, and he literally went higher and higher. His rookie year wasn’t all that great, his second year was an average year, and his third year (start of the decade) was an above average year. But starting in 2011, Kershaw started showing the world exactly what he is capable of. He is a 3 time Cy Young award winner (2011, 2013, 2014) and was only the 10th pitcher in baseball history to win both the Cy Young and MVP award in 2014. He has led the the entire league 4 times in ERA during the decade and was an 8-time All-Star. Kershaw in the playoffs may be a different story, but there is no doubt that Kershaw has been the epitome of dominance in MLB the past decade.
Decade Stats: 156-61, .719 W-L%, 2.31 ERA, 2179 K, 25 CG, 15 SHO, 59.3 WAR
Going into the decade, Verlander was already one of the leagues best on the mound. When 2010 hit, he continued his dominant ways. In the decade, Verlander spent 7 1/2 years in Detroit before being traded to Houston. Kershaw was the 10th pitcher to win the Cy Young and MVP in the same season, but Verlander was the 9th, doing it in 2011. Verlander was also a 6-time All-Star in the decade, a 4-time AL strikeout leader, and pitched a no-hitter in both 2011 and 2019. Verlander was instrumental in the Astros 2017 World Series victory, and was given ALCS MVP honors. More recently in 2019, Verlander won his second Cy Young Award at age 36.
Decade Stats: 160-86, .650 W-L%, 3.10 ERA, 2260 K, 20 CG, 6 SHO, 56.2 WAR
Chris Sale was selected 13th in the 2010 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox. Sale made his MLB debut in August of that year, and was coming out of the bullpen for the first two years of his career. Sale transitioned to a starter before the 2012 season, and was great from the get-go. Ever since becoming a starter, Sale has made the All-Star team every year, except for 2019. In December of 2016, Sale switched sock color and was traded to the Red Sox and had a wonderful year, leading the entire league with 308 punch outs. Sale was apart of the 2018 World Series Champion Red Sox team, however he didn’t pitch his best baseball in the ALCS and World Series. Sale may have taken a step back this year, but he was still one of the best the 2010s has had to offer.
Decade Stats: 109-73, .599 W-L%, 3.03 ERA, 2007 K, 16 CG, 3 SHO, 45.4 WAR
Before the turn of the decade, Max Scherzer was pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and wasn’t the commanding pitcher he is today. Scherzer was apart of a three-team trade that included Curtis Granderson, Austin Jackson, and Ian Kennedy, with Scherzer finding his new home in Detroit. His 4th year in Detroit was a coming out party for Mad Max, as he pitched a league-best 21 wins, and an incredible .875 winning percentage. In January of 2015, Scherzer signed a 7-year $210M deal with the Washington Nationals. Scherzer has made 7 straight All-Star games, and is a 3-time Cy Young Award winner. Scherzer’s dominance was shown when he pitched two no-hitters in the year 2015, and has pitched two immaculate innings in 2017 and 2018. Scherzer was also a big part in helping win the Nationals their first World Series in 2019.
Decade Stats: 161-74, .685 W-L%, 3.12 ERA, 2452 K, 10 CG, 5 SHO, 56.1 WAR
There’s one pitcher that has been great in the 2010s that is not listed, and that is Zack Greinke. To be honest, this was a very difficult decision when you look at both Greinke and Bumgarner. Greinke may have a somewhat better stat-line, but Bumgarner has pitched more than twice the amount of complete games as Greinke, and 3 times the shutouts. Neither have won a Cy Young, however Bumgarner does have 3 World Series rings, something that the San Francisco Giants may not have if not for Bumgarner as he is one of the greatest postseason pitchers of his generation.
Decade Stats: 119-92, .564 W-L%, 3.14 ERA, 1784 K, 15 CG, 6 SHO, 32.2 WAR
Others in Consideration: Zack Greinke, Jacob deGrom, Corey Kluber
The first person in the bullpen is none other than Craig Kimbrel. When you look at the decade stats for closers, no other relief pitcher has racked up more saves than Kimbrel (346). Kimbrel’s rookie year was a great one, as he set the record for most saves by a rookie with 46, and was named the NL Rookie of the Year. From 2011 to 2014, Kimbrel led the National League in saves as a member of the Atlanta Braves. Before the 2016 season, Kimbrel was traded from San Diego to the Boston Red Sox, and during the 2018 season, Kimbrel recorded his 300th save against the Texas Rangers at the age of 29, becoming the youngest pitcher ever to reach the milestone. Kimbrel is a 7-time All-Star, a 2-time Reliever of the Year, and already has one World Series ring.
Decade Stats: 346 saves, 2.08 ERA, 898 K, 19.6 WAR
The Cuban Missile made his MLB debut in the start of the decade in 2010. It wasn’t until 2012 that Aroldis Chapman was moved to the closing role. Actually, it’s reported that Chapman was set to be named a starting pitcher prior to 2012, however, injuries to the Reds’ late rotation forced manager Dusty Baker to put Chapman in at the setup role. Later in May of 2012, Chapman was named the closer. Chapman was named an All-Star that year, and would be named to 5 more in the decade. Chapman has a World Series ring from his time in 2016 with the Cubs, and also shares the fastest pitch in MLB history at 105.1 MPH with Cardinal Jordan Hicks. Most recently, Chapman was named AL Reliever of the Year in 2019.
Decade Stats: 273 saves, 2.23 ERA, 883 K, 17.5 WAR
Mariano Rivera made his entire career on one pitch. One pitch that everybody and their mother knew was coming, the cutter. Everybody knew it, yet the batters still couldn’t hit it. Kenley Jansen is in the same situation. His cutter is nasty and it’s made him a strikeout machine as he has the most strikeouts among relievers this decade. Jansen also is the only other reliever to secure over 300 saves in the decade, joining Kimbrel who we spoke about above. Jansen is a 2-time NL Reliever of the Year and was the 2017 NL saves leader.
Decade Stats: 301 saves, 2.35 ERA, 903 K, 15.8 WAR
Up until the 2013 season, Wade Davis was actually a starting pitcher. In that time he pitched to a 31-31 record when the Kansas City Royals moved him to the bullpen before the 2014 season where David shined, pitching a terrific 1.00 ERA. It didn’t stop in 2014, however, as he posted ERAs of 0.94 and 1.87 in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Davis was also a major part of the Royals’ 2015 World Series win. Those three years, I believe are enough for Davis to be named on the All-Decade team.
Decade Stats: 137 saves, 3.73 ERA, 852 K, 11.3 WAR
Just like Davis, Britton was a starter that was put into the bullpen. The big difference between Britton and Davis is that Britton was horrible as a starting pitcher. Once in the closer role, Britton started to do extremely well, even putting up the most saves in the American League in 2016 with 47, which earned him the AL Reliever of the Year award. Britton is also a 2-time All-Star.
Decade Stats: 145 saves, 3.07 ERA, 499 K, 13.7 WAR
Robertson pitched for the Yankees for the first half of the decade, setting up closer Mariano Rivera. Robertson left New York and joined the Chicago White Sox as their closer, before returning to New York, this time setting up Aroldis Chapman. Robertson was a closer for a total of 4 years, but as a reliever, not many have been better than him, yet a lot of his dominance has gone unnoticed, as he’s only been selected to 1 All-Star game (2011).
Decade Stats: 136 saves, 2.75 ERA, 781 K, 15.2 WAR
Aroldis Chapman was traded from the Yankees to the Chicago Cubs in 2016, and made it to the World Series. The Yankees traded another reliever that year, to the team that faced the Cubs in 2016 World Series, the Cleveland Indians. That pitcher was Andrew Miller. Miller pitched for a total of 6 teams in the 2010s, and he was made a full-time reliever in 2012. In the 19 1/3 innings he pitched in the 2016 postseason, Miller recorded a wonderful 1.40 ERA and 30 strikeouts. Miller rounds out the relievers for the All-Decade team.
Decade Stats: 59 saves, 3.26 ERA, 713 K, 10.3 WAR
Others in Consideration: Fernando Rodney, Greg Holland, Koji Uehara
So there it is. Game Changer Sports Network’s All-Decade team for the 2010s. Do you agree with our list? Any players you would replace for your teams? Be sure to let us know!
Featured Photo: Mike Rosa / GCSN
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