Now that the first decade of the 21st century is coming to an end, it's a good time to look back at the great players of the decade.
Many players have graced the diamond this decade, but only 14 will make the cut for the all-decade team.
*Designated Hitter isn’t actually the position DH. It’s just an extra hitter.
Catcher: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
Decade Stats: .327 BA, 844 H, 72 HR, 397 RBI, 34 SB
Mauer has been absolutely since his call-up in 2004. From then to his 2009 AL MVP Award, he has been baseball's best catcher. He's led the league in hitting three times. He had a power surge last season, hitting 28 home runs. The best part? He's only 26.
First Base : Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
Decade Stats: .334 BA, 1717 H, 366 HR, 1112 RBI, 61 SB
Pujols has been by far the most productive player this decade. He has the highest batting average of all active players and has been a home run and RBI machine. He has one three NL MVP Awards and could rival Barry Bonds for the most all-time if he continues on this pace.
Second Base : Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies
Decade Stats: .295 BA, 978 H, 161 HR, 585 RBI, 83 SB
Chase Utley has been one of the best players in baseball during this decade. He is the perfect player: Good fielder, hits for power, hits for average, can run, and has a good arm. He is the five-tool player that every team wants. He really hasn’t been as good as he could be, but if he can get even better than the Phillies have a lot to look forward to.
Decade Stats: .304 BA, 1740 H, 435 HR, 1243 RBI, 179 SB
I know, I know. He took steroids. Well at this point I really don’t care about steroids. I want them out of the game, and sure whoever took it is a cheater, but the fact is they took it. Move on.
Anyway, A-Rod has been a team’s dream third baseman. I know he started out the decade at shortstop, but that’s not stopping him from making the team. He led the league in home runs five times and topped 50 three times. He also led the league in RBIs twice and topped 100 every year.
Shortstop: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
Decade Stats: .317 BA, 1940 H, 161 HR, 727 RBI, 219 SB
Who wouldn’t pick him? Jeter has been the Yankees best player for the past 15 years, and he is making a case for being the best all-time (it all depends on what you like more, contact or power).
He has been an all-around great player and has been mentioned in many MVP selections. He could’ve been sold short a few times.
Outfield 1: Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners
Decade Stats: .333 BA, 2030 H, 84 HR, 515 RBI, 341 SB
Ichiro has been the catalyst of the decade. He has topped 200 hits and has batted over .300 every season. He led the league in hits six times and batting average twice. He is also terrific with the glove, winning a Gold Glove every year.
He also isn’t afraid of awards and accolades. He won the AL MVP and Rookie of the Year Award in 2001 and made the All-Star team every year. In 2007, he also won the All-Star Game MVP Award. He also holds the record for most hits in a single with 262 in 2004.
Outfield 2 : Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants
Decade Stats: .322 BA, 925 H, 317 HR, 697 RBI, 54 SB
Definitely not the best player due to his steroid use, but he still deserves to make the team. He won four consecutive MVP awards from 2001-2004. He set the record for most home runs in a single season with 73 in 2001. He also set the all-time home run record in 2007. That was his final season in major league baseball.
Outfield 3: Vladimir Guerrero, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Decade Stats: .323 BA, 1751 H, 315 HR, 1037 RBI, 147 SB
Vlad has been fantastic since the beginning of the decade. He won the AL MVP Award in 2004 and has been a perfect combination of average and power. 2009 was his first full season without a batting average over .300, without 25 home runs, and without at least 75 RBI.
Right-Handed Pitcher: Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays
Decade Stats: 139-60, 3.40 ERA, 1883.1 IP, 1400 K
Roy Halladay has been the arguably the best pitcher in baseball since the start of the decade. He has won one Cy Young Award, and was in the Top Five in voting four times. He led the league in IP three times. He also topped 20 wins twice.
If he can keep on this pace, he will likely be a Hall of Famer.
Left-Handed Pitcher: Johan Santana, New York Mets
Decade Stats: 122-60, 3.12 ERA, 1709.2 IP, 1733 K
Santana is the only other pitcher who can rival Roy Halladay for the top pitcher of the decade award. He won two Cy Young Awards with the Minnesota Twins before being shipped to the Mets. He led the league in strikeouts three times and topped 200 k’s five times.
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