MLB Roster of the Decade: 2000-2009

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MLB Roster of the Decade: 2000-2009

The "Aughts" have come and passed already, with plenty of great baseball played. Between reversing the curse in Beantown, the White Sox finally getting their title, Barry Bonds breaking the single-season home run record, the retirement of players like Cal Ripken Jr., Tony Gwynn, and Greg Maddux, and the demise of the careers of the steroid-era stars, there has been no shortage of headlines in the past ten years.

At the end of the last decade, people were making lists of the All-Century team. However, this decade deserves the same justice as any other, with its own fair share of greats.

This list is here, not as a definitive record, but as a forum, so that you may all discuss your thoughts on the players of this decade and this list itself. So go ahead and add a comment with your thoughts, maybe get into a debate over the steroid abusers or whether Roy Halladay or Johan Santana was the better pitcher this decade.

 

Rules

I will choose one starter and one backup at each position, including the Designated Hitter (save for Starting Pitcher, where I will only have five starters).

Steroid users (or suspect users) WILL be included in this list, because, frankly, anybody could be accused.

I will include partial seasons that were time missed for injury or by player's choice, but will not include partial seasons if a player was a September call-up or something along those lines (unless said player amassed more than 250 at-bats or 100 innings pitched).

I will include a list of players who just missed the cut at their respective positions.

 

 

Let the list begin!

 

Catchers

 

Starter

Ivan Rodriguez (2000-2009)

 

Rationale

Pudge, despite having a large amount of his success occur in the previous decade, was one of the best hitters and defensive catchers to ever play the game. He is considered one of the largest factors in helping the Marlins upset the Yankees in the 2003 World Series, and in turning around the Detroit Tigers (95 wins in 2006).

Pudge was a dominating all-around player for a few years and, although a bunch of his best years were earlier than this decade, he still had a great ten years.

 

Decade Averages

Games - 122

Batting Average - .298

OPS - .812

 

Hits - 138

Runs Scored - 66

Home Runs - 16

RBI - 64

Steals - 6

Total Bases - 221

 

Awards

6x All-Star

5x Gold Glover

1x Silver Slugger

1x MVP Top-10

 

Backup

Joe Mauer (2005-2009)

 

Rationale

Despite playing only five full seasons in the majors, Mauer has compiled a pretty extensive track record. Aside from being the hometown boy, being selected first overall, and helping to keep the Twins as relevant as they are, Mauer has won multiple batting titles and a career OPS+ of 136.

Mauer is the kind of guy who oozes charisma and seems to be a natural leader. Imagine, after last season, what the guy would've done with a full decade. Considering he'll only be 27 when the season starts, we're about to find out.

 

By the Numbers

Games - 133

Batting Average - .328

OPS - .889

Hits - 162

Runs Scored - 80

Home Runs - 13

RBI - 76

Steals - 7

Total Bases - 237

 

Awards

4x LL in Runs Scored

3x LL in OPS

3x All-Star

3x Silver Slugger

3x MVP Top-10

2x Gold Glover

1x MLB MVP

1x LL in Hits

1x LL in Batting Average

 

First Basemen

 

Starter

Albert Pujols (2001-2009)

 

Rationale

When writing about the reasons Pujols deserves this spot, it might be quicker to list the reasons he doesn't deserve this spot.

He has had at least 32 home runs and 103 RBI every season he has had in the majors.

He led the Cardinals to a World Series in 2006 and has won three MVPs and a Rookie of the Year award in just ten years in the majors.

Aside from that, he is incredibly consistent and battles through any injuries, never missing really significant time. He split time between first base, third base and the outfield in his first season, but averaged 42 games there in each of those seasons, and would have been the dominant player at whichever position he ended up at.

However, he played a near-even number of games at all three in his first year, and almost half in his third, so a First Base qualification for the entire decade of works is deserved.

He may well end his career as the greatest hitter of all time. If he keeps this pace up, Teddy Ballgame is going to be looking over his shoulder.


Decade Averages

Games - 155

Batting Average - .334

OPS - 1.055

Hits - 191

Runs Scored - 119

Home Runs - 41

RBI - 124

Steals - 7

Total Bases - 359 


Awards

9x MVP Top-10

8x All-Star

5x Silver Slugger

4x LL Runs Scored

4x LL Total Bases

3x LL OPS

3x MVP

1x LL Batting Average

1x LL Hits

1x LL Home Runs

1x Rookie of the Year

1x Gold Glover

 

Backup

Todd Helton (2000-2009)

 

Rationale

It's a shame that today most people see Todd Helton as a broken-down, over-the-hill player, because at one point, he was one of the most-feared all-around hitters in the game.

His numbers were gaudy in the early Coors Field years, but even if you adjust for park factor in sabermetric stats, the guy was an absolute beast. Not many guys lead the league in hits, doubles, RBI, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, and total bases in the same year, while playing during the primes of such players as Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent, Mike Piazza, Jim Edmonds, and Sammy Sosa.

Helton was an all world type of guy, able to do just about anything (he even stole a few bases a year for good measure) with incredible efficiency. Even now, as a shell of his former self thanks largely to back issues, he keeps his batting average north of .320 with a solid amount of RBI (though the home runs are most likely stuck at Casey Kotchman levels now, most likely ruining any chance he had at 500).

Helton had so such great all-around ability and yet was still relatively underrated due to his team's lack of performance/mass media market.

 

Decade Averages

Games - 147

Batting Average - .331

OPS - 1.006

Hits - 176

Runs Scored - 102

Home Runs - 26

RBI - 98

Total Bases - 302

 

Awards

5x All-Star

4x Silver Slugger

3x Gold Glover

3x MVP Top-10

1x LL Hits

1x LL RBI

1x LL Batting Average

1x LL OPS

1x LL Total Bases

 

Second Basemen

 

Starter

Jeff Kent (2000-2008)

 

Rationale

Kent was never a favorite of his teammates...or his managers...or anybody, really. But, as much as nobody enjoyed playing with him, playing against him was even worse.

Kent may very well had relinquished this spot to Chase Utley if Utley had played as long as Kent did. However, Kent was Utley before Utley. An MVP with San Francisco in 2000, multiple All-Star appearances, and a consistent batting average around .300 with about 25 home runs per year is enough to make anyone drool (at least, when discussing second basemen).

Kent may not have been a defensive wizard, but he was a dominant veteran force. Besides, it's hard to deny the highway patrol 'stache.

 

Decade Averages

Games - 141

Batting Average - .300

OPS - .889

Hits - 159

Runs Scored - 84

Home Runs - 24

RBI - 94

Steals - 5

Total Bases - 274


Awards

4x All-Star

4x Silver Slugger

2x MVP Top-10

1x MVP

 

Backup

Chase Utley (2004-2009)

 

Rationale

If Utley had played more than five full seasons in the majors this decade, the spot would've been his and his alone. He puts up the kind of production across the board that you'd expect from a corner infielder or outfielder, but he does it at a position where offense is so often sacrificed.

Utley was one of the key components in helping the Phillies win the World Series in 2008 (and return in 2009) and has become a fan favorite in Philly. An endearing personality, a hard-nosed attitude (he has lead the league in HBP in each of the last three years and has returned from difficult injuries), and a skill set unrivaled by just about anyone else at the position solidly cement Chase's spot on this team.

 

Decade Averages

Games - 141

Batting Average - .298

OPS - .911

Hits - 158

Runs Scored - 98

Home Runs - 26

RBI - 94

Steals - 14

Total Bases - 280

 

Awards

4x All-Star

4x Silver Slugger

3x MVP Top-10

1x LL Runs Scored

 

Third Basemen

 

Starter

Alex Rodriguez (2004-2009)

 

Rationale

Yes, he spent 40 percent of the decade as a shortstop. However, his six years at third base are better than anybody else's six years (and, ten years, for that matter) at the position this decade.

Known as a playoff choke artist, A-Rod destroyed that label this postseason, helping the Yankees win the World Series and mashing six home runs and 18 RBI along the way. Steroid admissions aside, Rodriguez is the odds-on favorite to take the home run record from Hank Aar-, erm, Barry Bonds and, had it not been for those admissions, would've gone down as the best player of all time.

He may very well still do so, considering his pre and post-steroid numbers are still incredibly gaudy. Frankly, he could have been put as the starter at both positions and it would've been justifiable, but in the interest of fairness (and reality), the decision was made to hold him to just one spot.

When you're considered the best player of the decade at two positions, you know you're an animal.

 

Decade Averages (While at Third Base)

Games - 148

Batting Average - .300

OPS - .968

Hits - 166

Runs Scored - 112

Home Runs - 40

RBI - 119

Steals - 20

Total Bases - 313

 

Awards (While at Third Base)

5x All-Star

4x MVP Top-10

3x Silver Slugger

2x MVP

2x LL Runs Scored

2x LL Home Runs

2x LL OPS

1x LL Total Bases

1x LL RBI

1x LL Games Played

 

Backup

Chipper Jones (2000-2001, 2004-2009)

 

Rationale

As a fan of the Mets, the name Larry Jones Jr. gives me the chills. Chipper is a well-known Mets killer (and every other team, for that matter).

One of the most feared all-around hitters in the game, Chipper carried the Braves to six division titles in the decade. However, Chipper did spend two seasons as a a left fielder, during which he played no third base whatsoever, so those won't reflect in his decade averages.

However, even with two years removed and a rash of injuries in his later years, Chipper was still the best third baseman in the National League for the decade. He's got a few more good seasons left in the tank, and his Hall of Fame career credentials will only continue to improve.

 

Decade Averages (While at Third Base)

Games - 135

Batting Average - .309

OPS - .962

Hits - 148

Runs Scored - 90

Home Runs - 28

RBI - 89

Steals - 6

Total Bases - 265

 

Awards (While at Third Base)

3x All-Star

2x MVP Top-10

1x Silver Slugger

1x LL Batting Average

1x LL OPS

Shortstops

 

Starter

Miguel Tejada (2000-20009)

 

Rationale

This is going to be the most-debated selection on here, but hear me out (remember, steroid accusations are not being factored into this list).

From 2000-2006, Tejada was a lock for 30 HRs and 115 RBI, numbers Jeter never accomplished once in the decade. Baseball-Reference lists players similar to Tejada's decade achievement in career achievement, including Hall of Famers Ryne Sandberg, Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench, and Bobby Doerr.

Though his home runs totals have dwindled in the last few years, he still is consistently a league leader in doubles. Tejada was an MVP in Oakland and put on a show at the 2004 Home Run Derby. Even in his two worst statistical years (2008 and 2009), Tejada finished in the MVP Top-25 and was an All-Star both years.

Tejada has been a dominant force at the position this decade, and is now ready to make the Ripken-switch to third as he rides of into the twilight of his decorated career.

 

Decade Averages

Games - 158

Batting Average - .297

OPS - .827

Hits - 186

Runs Scored - 96

Home Runs - 25

RBI - 105

Steals - 6

Total Bases - 301

 

Awards

6x All-Star

5x LL Games Played

2x MVP Top-10

2x Silver Slugger

1x LL RBI

 

Backup

Derek Jeter (2000-20009)

 

Rationale

I know you think I'm crazy for not starting DJ at short, but his decade stats don't earn him the spot. I know postseason performance is key, but he won less than half of his World Series titles in the decade and had sub-.250 batting averages six times in playoff series this decade.

He never had a 25 home run, 100 RBI, or 35 steal season in the decade and didn't win any MVP awards (though many will argue he should've). However, that doesn't mean he didn't earn a spot on this team.

He's on this roster for the same reasons he's going to the Hall of Fame: His intangibles. He's a born winner with two World Series titles in the decade, he's the Yankee captain, and he's one of the most clutch players to ever play the game.

Not starting him was a tough call, but you simply cannot have this roster without Derek Jeter.

 

Decade Averages

Games - 150

Batting Average - .317

OPS - .844

Hits - 194

Runs Scored - 109

Home Runs - 16

RBI - 73

Steals - 22

Total Bases - 279

 

Awards

8x All-Star

5x MVP Top-10

4x Gold Glover

3x Silver Slugger

 

Left Fielders

 

Starter

Barry Bonds (2000-2007)

 

Rationale

It pains me to put him on this list just as much as it pains you to put read it.

However, I decided to put steroid accusations aside while making this list for the sheer fact that there are plenty of guys who could have done it whom we may never know about. Bonds may have only played seven full seasons in the decade, but he was the most feared hitter in the game for five of them. In 2001, he broke the single-season home run record and began a string of four MVP awards.

Even when he was on the downside of his career, Bonds lead the league in intentional walks and averaged 27 home runs, showing how feared he still was. As an added bonus, Barry averaged 10 steals per season the first half of the decade and, in every full season he played in the decade, lead the league in walks.

Bonds carried the Giants to the 2002 World Series and had more seasons leading the league in OPS than many players do total season in the MLB. Whether or not he was a steroid abuser is not the topic of discussion in this article (I've written about the subject in other articles), but instead the fact that, for half a decade, nobody wanted to pitch to the guy. He was that good.

 

Decade Averages

Games - 123

Batting Average - .322

OPS - 1.241

Hits - 116

Runs Scored - 96

Home Runs - 40

RBI - 87

Steals - 7

Total Bases - 260

 

Awards

6x All-Star

5x Silver Slugger

5x MVP Top-10

4x MVP

4x LL OPS

2x LL Batting Average

1x LL Home Runs

 

Backup

Manny Ramirez (2000-2009)

 

Rationale

Whether or not you love his antics, Manny being Manny was on display for all to see in the decade. Manny was a key component in helping the Red Sox reverse the curse in 2004 and win it again in 2007, and hit nearly .400 when he first came to Mannywood (read, Los Angeles).

Aside from being both a power machine and powder keg, Manny was just about as consistent as they come this decade (he would've averaged 140 games per season had it not been for his suspension), averaging 35 HRs and 111 RBI in the decade.

From 2001-2006, he was an MVP Top-10 performer five times and was an All-Star/won a Silver Slugger every year in that time frame. However, Manny played right field and designated hitter exclusively, and therefore his stats from that year cannot be counted.

With Baseball-Reference career comparisons similar to Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., and Mickey Mantle, Manny being Manny may very well soon become Manny being a Hall of Famer.

 

Decade Averages

Games - 138

Batting Average - .313

OPS - 1.005

Hits - 156

Runs Scored - 93

Home Runs - 34

RBI - 109

Steals - 1

Total Bases - 294

 

Awards

8x All-Star

6x Silver Slugger

6x MVP Top-10

1x LL OPS

1x LL Home Runs

1x LL Batting Average

 

Center Fielders

 

Starter

Carlos Beltran (2000-2009)


Rationale

Though he is now injured (and a lot less likely to be swiping 25 bags in a season), Beltran has long been considered one of the best all-around players in baseball. He helped the Astros to the World Series in 2004 and was one of the biggest reasons why the Mets won 97 games in 2006.

Aside from that, Beltran is the only player this decade to average a 30-30 season per 162 games. To put that in perspective, no player other than Barry Bonds and Alfonso Soriano, not even the great Willie Mays, averaged those numbers per 162 games during any ten-year period in their careers.

The second-best ten-year HR/Steal per 162 games period of all-time. That alone warrants consideration as one of the best players of the decade.


Decade Averages

Games - 139

Batting Average - .282

OPS - .865

Hits - 150

Runs Scored - 96

Home Runs - 25

RBI - 92

Steals - 26

Total Bases - 266

 

Awards

5x All-Star

3x Gold Glover

2x Silver Slugger

2x MVP Top-10

 

Backup

Jim Edmonds (2000-20008)

 

Rationale

Edmonds loses some luster due to the fact that, during his final four seasons, he failed to hit 30 home runs. However, this doesn't mean he didn't have a solid five years.

In the first five years of the decade, however, Edmonds averaged 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and about one SportsCenter-worthy catch per game. Edmonds was king of the over-the-shoulder-diving-catch in center and has the gold gloves to prove it.

He helped the Cardinals win the World Series in 2006 and, when the Cubs needed a center fielder for the second half of 2008, Edmonds came in and game them 19 home runs and a division title.

A gritty player with exceptional skills in most facets of the games, fans seem quick to forget Edmonds, but not on this list, and certainly not in St. Louis. With the numbers he put up and the way he played the game, it's no wonder he's looking to come back and play this year.


Decade Averages

Games - 135

Batting Average - .280

OPS - .937

Hits - 124

Runs Scored - 83

Home Runs - 29

RBI - 85

Steals - 4

Total Bases - 242

 

Awards

6x Gold Glover

3x All-Star

2x MVP Top-10

1x Silver Slugger

 

Right Fielders

 

Starter

Ichiro Suzuki (2001-2009)

 

Rationale

Ichiro will most likely go down as the firs Japanese-born player to go to the Hall of Fame, and with good reason. He's had at least 200 hits every single season of his career and has lead the league in hits six times.

He is also the only player to win MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same season. In that season, he lead the Mariners to the best record in baseball history with 116 wins. He has averaged a .333 batting average with 38 steals for the decade (with nine home runs per season for good measure).

In just nine years, Ichiro has 2,030 hits and, at his current pace, will have 3,000 hits in about four years. He is also the model of consistency. Before 2009, he missed just 15 games in his entire career.

Ichiro has aged like fine wine, posting his second-highest batting average, third-highest home run total, and ninth consecutive Gold Glove/All-Star appearance in 2009.

 

Decade Averages

Games - 158

Batting Average - .333

OPS - .811

Hits - 226

Runs Scored - 108

Home Runs - 9

RBI - 57

Steals - 38

Total Bases - 294

 

Awards

9x All-Star

9x Gold Glover

6x LL Hits

4x MVP Top-10

3x Silver Slugger

2x LL Batting Average

1x MVP

1x Rookie of the Year

1x LL Steals

1x LL Games Played

 

Backup

Vladimir Guerrero (2000-2009)

 

Rationale

Vlad the Impaler, as he is affectionately and appropriately nicknamed, was one of the most dominant all-around players in baseball during the first half of the decade. Averaging 32 home runs and batting at least .295 throughout the decade made Vlad a lethal force at the plate.

However, before knee injuries began to cause his deterioration, Vlad was one of the best defensive right fielders in baseball, with an arm reminiscent of Roberto Clemente or Dave Parker, and nobody ran on Vlad.

The 2004 MVP may be a shell of his former self in his current state, but the man can still hit, and frankly, if he hits for a few more years, he might have to change his nickname to Vlad the Hall of Famer.

 

Decade Averages

Games - 143

Batting Average - .323

OPS - .960

Hits - 175

Runs Scored - 93

Home Runs - 32

RBI - 104

Steals - 15

Total Bases - 308

 

Awards

7x All-Star

6x Silver Slugger

6x MVP Top-10

2x LL Total Bases

1x LL Runs Scored

1x LL Hits

1x MVP

Designated Hitters

 

Starter

David Ortiz (2000-2009)

 

Rationale

There really wasn't any other choice at this spot. Big Papi helped lead the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007 and did so with a smile on his face.

Despite an atrocious start to the last season, Ortiz managed to hit 28 home runs. Known for his fun-loving attitude and homer-loving swing, Ortiz may go down as the second-best DH to ever play the game (behind Edgar Martinez) when it's all said and done.

Despite steroid allegations, he has kept cool and performed when needed. Public Enemy No. 1 in Yankeeland for several years, Ortiz's 31 HRs and 102 RBI per season are reason enough to strike fear into the greates of pitchers.


Decade Averages

Games - 132

Batting Average - .289

OPS - .949

Hits - 137

Runs Scored - 84

Home Runs - 31

RBI - 102

Steals - 1

Total Bases - 269

 

Awards

5x All-Star

5x MVP Top-10

4x Silver Slugger

2x LL RBI

1x LL HRs

1x LL Total Bases

 

Backup

Frank Thomas (2000-2008)

 

Rationale

Despite achieving most of his success in the previous decade, The Big Hurt punished pitchers in the 21st Century as well. Although he was broken down towards the end and, even though this spot was essentially a formality, Thomas still had a ton in him (not to mention on him) early in the decade.

If he had been healthy (AKA thanks to 162 game averages), Thomas would've had 40 home runs and 117 RBI from 2000-2007. Though the "Big Hurt" was in Thomas' knees in his final few years, the man is a sabermetric God and a future Hall of Famer.

 

Decade Averages

Games - 106

Batting Average - .273

OPS - .915

Hits - 100

Runs Scored - 58

Home Runs - 24

RBI - 74

Steals – 0

Total Bases - 194

 

Awards

2x MVP Top-10

1x Silver Slugger

 

Starting Pitchers

 

Starter

Randy Johnson (2000-2009)

 

Rationale

From 1993-2006, Randy Johnson was the most feared pitcher in baseball. He won four consecutive Cy Young awards (three of which occurred between 2000 and 2002).

Unfortunately for The Big Unit, his final three years in the big leagues weren't nearly on par with his previous 18 or so. Then again, a pitcher who can still be effective at ages 43, 44, and 45 is something to write home about. Between the ages of 35 and 40, Johnson lead the league in strikeouts five times.

Oh, and he was co-World Series MVP in 2001 with the Diamondbacks. He also threw a no-hitter at age 40 and won the pitching Triple Crown in 2002.

Not too shabby for a guy who started the decade at age 36 and once killed a bird with his wild fastball.

 

Decade Averages

Inning Pitched - 189

Wins - 14

Losses - 8

ERA - 3.34

WHIP - 1.114

Strikeouts - 218

ERA+ - 137

 

Awards

4x Cy Young Top-10

4x LL Strikeouts

3x Cy Young

2x LL ERA

2x LL WHIP

1x LL Wins

1x MVP Top-10

 

Starter

Johan Santana (2002-2009)

 

Rationale

There is going to be a strong dissenting opinion on this pick, but that's okay.

Johan won two Cy Young awards with the Twins this decade, and did it, somehow, with relatively little national attention. Johan had the torch passed to him from Randy Johnson as the best left-handed pitcher in baseball in about 2006. Santana isn't just a great pitcher though, he's also a Gold Golve-caliber defender.

Santana's per 162 game stats are pretty phenomenal as well, boasting a 17-8 record with 229 strikeouts.

 

Decade Averages

Inning Pitched - 198

Wins - 15

Losses - 7

ERA - 2.89

WHIP - 1.064

Strikeouts - 205

ERA+ - 153

 

Awards

6x Cy Young Top-10

4x All-Star

4x LL WHIP

3x LL ERA

3x LL ERA+

3x LL Strikeouts

2x LL Innings Pitched

2x MVP Top-10

1x LL Wins

1x Gold Glover

 

Starter

Roy Halladay (2000-2009)

 

Rationale

After a shaky start to his career, Halladay eventually cemented himself as one of the best pitchers in the game. Aside from averaging 14 wins per season, Halladay has 47 complete games this decade and averages over four per season.

Halladay is also ultra-consistent, never pitching fewer than 130 innings since becoming a full-time starter. Halladay has come in the top-5 of the Cy Young Award voting five times and probably should've won more than one of those.

At this rate, expect Roy to have his plaque in Cooperstown waiting for him in about 15 years.


Decade Averages

Inning Pitched - 188

Wins - 14

Losses - 7

ERA - 3.40

WHIP - 1.171

Strikeouts - 140

ERA+ - 133

 

Awards

6x All-Star

5x Cy Young Top-10

3x LL Innings Pitched

1x LL Wins

1x LL WHIP

1x Cy Young

 

Starter

Roy Oswalt (2001-2009)

 

Rationale

Although The Wizard of Os (a nickname I always wished would catch on) has had plenty of grumblings about retirement and whatnot, at a rate of 15 wins per season since arriving in the majors, Oswalt should be thinking about trying to get his place in upstate New York.

A dominating force and key contributor in the Astros' 2006 run to the World Series, Oswalt's incredible consistency has been what has truly made him so great. If the guy had more run support, he could be a consistent threat for 20 wins.

 

Decade Averages

Inning Pitched - 200

Wins - 15

Losses - 8

ERA - 3.23

WHIP - 1.202

Strikeouts - 164

ERA+ - 135

 

Awards

5x Cy Young Top-10

3x All-Star

1x LL Wins

1x LL ERA

 

Starter

Pedro Martinez (2000-2009)

 

Rationale

There are going to be a lot of people who think Roger Clemens or CC Sabathia deserve this spot, but Pedro has one thing neither of them had during the decade: For a period of time, he was the most feared pitcher in the American League.

From 2000-2005, the guy was nearly untouchable. He helped the Red Sox reverse the curse in 2004 and won his third Cy Young award in 2000. Because some (or, frankly, a lot) of the gas is gone, Pedro has had to do a bit of reinventing of himself lately, and between that and injuries, people seem to have forgotten just how dominating he was for the first half of the decade.

Cooperstown awaits once Pedro finally decides to hang 'em up.

 

Decade Averages

Inning Pitched - 147

Wins - 11

Losses - 5

ERA - 3.01

WHIP - 1.036

Strikeouts - 162

ERA+ - 152

 

Awards

4x All-Star

4x Cy Young Top-10

4x LL WHIP

3x LL ERA

3x LL ERA+

2x LL Strikeouts

1x Cy Young

 

Closers

 

Starter

Mariano Rivera (2000-2009)

 

Rationale

What can you say about Mo that hasn't already been said?

He's the best close in the history of the game, with a cutter that is filthier than anything ever put on this planet.

He lead the Yankees to bookend World Series titles for the decade (2000,2009) and, along the way, obliterated the record for career ERA+. Now, ERA+ isn't a great measuring stick for relievers, but the fact that he absolutely destroyed Pedro Martinez's record certainly shows something.

The man from Panama continues to be nothing but consistent, averaging 40 saves per years since taking over for John Wetteland in 1997, and never recording fewer than 30 saves in seasons with 50+ innings pitched as closer.

Mo is far and away the closer of the decade.

 

Decade Averages

Inning Pitched - 71

Wins - 4

Losses - 4

Saves - 40

ERA - 2.08

WHIP - .960

Strikeouts - 67

ERA+ - 214

 

Awards

8x All-Star

3x Cy Young Top-10

2x LL Saves

2x MVP Top-10

 

Backup

Trevor Hoffman (2000-2009)

 

Rationale

If it weren't for Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman may very well have been considered the best closer of all time (save for maybe Eckersley). He is the all-time saves leader and is one of the most beloved Padres of all-time.

Hoffman's arm seems to be rubber, as he recorded 37 saves last year at age 41. Hoffman also happens to be the all-time leader in games finished (a direct result of the saves record, obviously. Hoffman also routinely has kept his ERA below 3.00 and is most-likely one of the top-3 closers in history.

 

Decade Averages

Inning Pitched - 53

Wins - 2

Losses - 4

Saves - 36

ERA - 2.77

WHIP - 1.043

Strikeouts - 52

ERA+ - 143


Awards

5x All-Star

1x Cy Young Top-Ten

1x MVP Top-Ten

1x LL Saves

 

Just Missing the Cut

 

Catchers

Jorge Posada, Mike Piazza, Jason Varitek

 

First Basemen

Carlos Delgado, Ryan Howard, Jason Giambi

 

Second Basemen

Craig Biggio, Bret Boone, Brian Roberts, Alfonso Soriano

 

Third Basemen

Scott Rolen, David Wright, Mike Lowell

 

Shortstops

Jimmy Rollins, Omar Vizquel, Nomar Garciaparra

 

Outfielders

Bobby Abreu, Johnny Damon, Garry Sheffield, Torii Hunter, Andruw Jones, Brian Giles, Sammy Sosa, Ken Griffey Jr., Alfonso Soriano

 

Designated Hitters

Jim Thome, Edgar Martinez

 

Starting Pitchers

Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite, Curt Schilling, Tim Hudson, Greg Maddux, Javier Vazquez, Tom Glavine, Tim Lincecum, CC Sabathia, Barry Zito, Kenny Rogers

 

Closers

Billy Wagner, Jason Isringhausen, Francisco Rodriguez, Eric Gagne

 

With that, the list concludes. Commence debating in the comments section.

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