MLB Power Rankings: Predicting the 50 Best Players of the 2010s

Brett Appley@@BrettAppleyCorrespondent IJanuary 30, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: Predicting the 50 Best Players of the 2010s

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    Barry BondsMike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    Barry Bonds is considered one of the greatest players of the last decade. He currently owns the season- and all-time records for most home runs.

    Maybe some superstar of the current decade will break a record of his own. While this decade has only just started, it's time to start predicting.

    I'm going to tell you which MLB players will be the 50 best of the 2010s.

50. Clay Buchholz, SP, Boston Red Sox

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    Red Sox pitching has been elite for quite some time, and Clay Buchholz will be part of the Boston greats for a while.

    He recorded 17 wins last year and is only 26 years old, so he'll be getting better.

49. Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Andrew McCutchen is going to be the leader of the Pirates soon enough. Although he's only 24, McCutchen has already made his mark on the MLB.

    Last year he hit over .280, and stole 33 bases.  His stock is going to be rising for a while.

48. Desmond Jennings, OF, Tampa Bay Rays

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    Desmond Jennings is one of many excellent prospects for the Tampa Bay Rays. He entered the majors at the end of the season last year, and looks to take over Carl Crawford's position this year.

    At 24, Jennings is blisteringly fast and plays the outfield well. Look for him to become elite in the next few years.

47. Chris Carpenter, SP, St. Louis Cardinals

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    Being 35 years old doesn't help Carpenter's case much, but his Cy Young and 15-plus winning seasons do.

    Carpenter will probably have three years or so left of elite pitching, which in my vote, puts him into the top 50 of the decade.

46. Justin Verlander, SP, Detroit Tigers

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    Verlander has emerged as the Tigers ace in the last few years and he is becoming more elite every season.

    He recorded 18 wins last season, and he will most likely continue that trend for a while as he is only 28 and entering his prime.

45. Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies

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    Chase Utley, 32, makes the list at spot 45. He's been the leader of the Phillies for the last couple years and made the All-Star team last year.

    He will probably be an all-star for a long time to come.

44. Matt Cain, SP, San Francisco Giants

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    Matt Cain finished the season as one of the NL's best pitchers.

    He helped the San Francisco Giants to the World Series last year and is only 26 years old.

43. Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Seattle Mariners

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    I was forced to put Ichiro so low on this list because he is an outstanding player and I see no end in sight for him, but he's already 37 years old and he might not play the rest of the decade.

    Even still, he will continue to be on top of the league in hits for a while. He's just too good to leave out.

42. Carlos Santana, C, Cleveland Indians

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    Carlos Santana has yet to make his mark in the major leagues due to a season-ending injury last year, but he should emerge from the rubble this year.

    At 24, he has all the skills offensively and defensively to be a great player for a long time.

41. Josh Johnson, SP, Florida Marlins

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    Johnson, 27, had a career year last year and was headed for a Cy Young award until he fell off at the end of the season.

    There is no doubt that he is the ace of the Marlins and he should contend for Cy Young consistently.

40. Jon Lester, SP, Boston Red Sox

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    In 2006, Lester was diagnosed with cancer during the middle of the season. He has come so far since then by throwing a no-hitter, and winning a world championship.

    He is only 27 years old and entering his prime, and he should have a solid career by the end of the decade.

39. Brian McCann, C, Atlanta Braves

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    McCann was one of the heroes for the National League last year during the All-Star game.

    He has shaped up to be one of the best catchers in baseball, and he is only 27.

38. Jose Reyes, SS, New York Mets

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    With his blazing speed, and great defense, Jose Reyes is already an elite player at 27.

    If he can avoid injuries, Reyes should have a really good career.

37. Aroldis Chapman, RP/SP, Cincinnati Reds

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    Although he's barely been in the majors, the 23-year-old has a lot of hype surrounding him. Last year, Chapman threw the fastest pitch ever in baseball.

    If he can live up to the hype, Chapman will be an excellent player for a long time.

36. Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, Colorado Rockies

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    Ubaldo Jimenez, 27, started off the year strong and finished as one of the NL's top pitchers. He threw a no-hitter last year as well.

    This man has a lot of promise and he has many years left to show it.

35. Alex Rodriguez, 3B, New York Yankees

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    This one is tough to call. Of course, A-Rod was one of the best players of the '90s but because he is already 35, I can't put him any higher on this list than 35.

    He will most likely put up a few more years of dominant numbers until his production slows down.

34. Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals

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    Here is another player I put in based on hype.

    At 18, he might not even get to the majors for a year or two, but once he gets there, Harper should be effective immediately.

33. Cliff Lee, SP, Philadelphia Phillies

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    Cliff Lee had an amazing season last year which led him to the World Series. Now, he is teaming up with the Phillies already excellent pitching staff.

    Lee, 32, should be able to put up Cy Young numbers pitching around the all-star lineup the Phillies have developed.

32. Mike Stanton, OF, Florida Marlins

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    Stanton came into the majors last year and performed well for his club. He hit 22 homers in 100 games and he is only 21 years old.

    Stanton should play for the entire decade and put up some big numbers once he enters his prime.

31. Ryan Howard, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies

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    Ryan Howard, 31, has been putting up monster numbers for a while. He helped lead the Phillies to a NLCS appearance last year and he looks to get even further this year.

    Howard is in his prime and should put up huge numbers for a while.

30. Roy Halladay, SP, Philadelphia Phillies

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    Halladay started off the decade with a Cy Young award and a no-hitter in the postseason. He is the ace in one of the best starting rotations ever.

    The reason I can't put him higher on this list is that he is already 33 years old but he has enough left in him to make the top 50.

29. Jay Bruce, OF, Cincinnati Reds

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    Bruce, along with Joey Votto, is the corps of this young Reds squad. He is only 23 years old and has already taken the Reds to the playoffs.

    Look for big things out of him in the next few years.

28. Justin Morneau, 1B, Minnesota Twins

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    Injury plagued 29-year-old Justin Morneau last year and prevented him from having a monster season.

    He is the heart of the Twins lineup though, so he should still put up consistent numbers for a while.

27. Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington Nationals

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    Strasburg, 22, had one of the most hyped first starts ever. And he lived up to it.

    Unfortunately for him, he has to sit this entire season out while he heals from surgery. He should be very exciting to watch once he comes back.

26. Clayton Kershaw, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Kershaw, 22, is looking like he will be the ace of the Dodgers very soon, if not by this year.

    He had 13 wins last year with an ERA under three. Look for him to improve on those numbers.

25. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Washington Nationals

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    Zimmerman hit 25 home runs last year and batted over .300. He is one of the centerpieces of the Washington franchise.

    Zimmerman is only 24 years old and should put up some monster numbers this year.

24. Adam Wainwright, SP, St. Louis Cardinals

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    Adam Wainwright had a career year last year with 20 wins and an ERA under 2.5. He, along with Carpenter, makes the Cardinals rotation one of the best.

    Wainwright is the younger of the two pitchers at 29, and should take over the ace role shortly.

23. Matt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Matt Kemp, 26, is one of the keys to young LA Dodgers franchise. Although he had a little bit of a slumping year last year, Kemp should still put up big numbers.

    He is a great all-around guy who can hit, run and play defense and should perform up to his potential in the future.

22. Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston Red Sox

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    This young second baseman already has a league MVP under his belt and should put up some fantastic numbers with the additions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to the squad for this year.

    If he can stay healthy, Pedroia, 27, has all-star potential.

21. David Wright, 3B, New York Mets

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    David Wright has already been in the league for a number of years and has shown he's one of the top third basemen in baseball.

    At 28, he should put up very consistent numbers the rest of the decade.

20. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Boston Red Sox

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    With the transition to the Boston Red Sox, Adrian Gonzalez's numbers should rise. He is protected in this lineup and should have a lot more opportunities to drive in runs.

    Plus, he's only 28 so Gonzalez is just entering his prime.

19. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies

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    One of the Rockies two young offensive studs at 26, Tulowitzki is becoming consistently an elite player.

    He'll probably be in the top 20 players this year and for a while to come.

18. Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants

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    Loved and adored by Giants fans everywhere, Posey, 24, came into the majors and took over the catching spot with an ability that hasn't been seen by Giants fans in a long time.

    He was a major contributor to the Giants success last year and he will only get better.

17. Prince Fielder, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Like his father, Fielder has shown he can put up huge power numbers. He's only 26 years old and can easily keep up this production for the rest of the decade.

16. Tim Lincecum, SP, San Francisco Giants

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    Already having won two Cy Young awards and one World Series in his young career, Lincecum has also lead the league in strikeouts and has some of the best pitches in the game.

    He is just 26 and will continue to be an elite player for as long as his freakish body can take him.

15. Robinson Cano, 2B, New York Yankees

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    Cano, 28, surprised everyone last year by hitting a boatload of home runs along with having one of the top averages in the league.

    If he can keep up that performance, Cano will be one of baseball's best in no time.

#14. Justin Upton, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Being the younger brother of major leaguer B.J. Upton, Justin had a lot to live up to. He is only 23 years old but the potential he has shown is enough for him to be elite someday.

    Look for that day to come sooner than later.

13. Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota Twins

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    Another young player with a league MVP already under his belt, Mauer is widely considered as the best catcher in baseball.

    He is only 27 and should produce for a long time to come.

12. Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Colorado Rockies

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    The second piece of the Rockies offensive is this man, Carlos Gonzalez. His talent was highly looked upon early in his career and he was traded to the Rockies from Oakland for Matt Holliday.

    Last year, Gonzalez, 25, absolutely dominated the game and put up legitimate all-star numbers. Don't be surprised if he does it again.

11. Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle Mariners

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    King Felix already has a Cy Young award this decade playing on a horrendous team.

    I was shocked to find out that he is only 24 years old. He could easily put up league leading numbers for the next 8-10 years.

10. Carl Crawford, OF, Boston Red Sox

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    One of the most well-rounded players in baseball, Crawford, 29, should put up even better numbers with his movement to Boston.

    He has shown no signs of slowing down and has even gotten better his last couple years of playing. He should definitely be considered as one of the top 10 in baseball.

9. David Price, SP, Tampa Bay Rays

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    David Price was one of many young and talented players to come out of the Rays minor league system.

    Last year, he was one of the best pitchers in the league and started the All-Star game for the AL.

    Although he plays in a very tough division, Price, 25, is still one of the best overall players and I believe he will be considered the best one of the decade.

8. Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds

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    Votto basically carried the Reds on his back for a while last year and was named NL MVP. He beat out players like Pujols and Carlos Gonzalez.

    Votto has already emerged as an elite player, and being only 27 years old, he should stay that way for many years.

7. Josh Hamilton, OF, Texas Rangers

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    The story of how Josh Hamilton, 29, got to where he is now is a great one, but the numbers he has put up in the last couple years is even better.

    He helped the Rangers to a World Series appearance last year and hit a whopping 32 homers with a very high average as well.

6. Ryan Braun, OF, Milwuakee Brewers

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    Braun hit 25 homers last year and batted over .300, so that alone should make him elite.

    At 27, he isn't even in his prime yet, so Braun's numbers will rise. He is in a good lineup right now that should give him a good chance to perform.

5. Jason Heyward, OF, Atlanta Braves

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    The "Jay Hey Kid," as some are starting to refer to him as, was yet another player that had huge hype coming into the majors.

    In his first at bat, he crushed a ball into the stands. He continued to play very well until he was injured, which took some momentum out from under him.

    If he can avoid injury, Heyward, 21, will easily make this list at where I have him now.

4. Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays

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    Longoria is another great all-around player. He can hit, run and is great on defense.

    He is becoming the leader of Rays with Crawford gone, and is still only 25 years old. He should be an All-Star every single year.

3. Hanley Ramirez, SS, Florida Marlins

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    Hanley Ramirez is already one of the best players in the majors, if not the best. He is lightning-quick and can hit the ball with ease.

    Still a youngster at 27, he will be considered the best shortstop of the decade.

2. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers

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    Miguel Cabrera has come a long way since his days on the Marlins. He is now one of the best players in baseball and is a consistent all-star.

    MCab is still 27 and should put up huge numbers for a long time.

1. Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals

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    Here it is. No. 1, Albert Pujols.

    The only reason this wasn't an automatic choice for me was his age. He is 31, and will probably play most of the decade.

    Last year, he put up MVP-type numbers, although he didn't win the award. Pujols will continue to put up those numbers and will be considered the best player of the decade when the time comes.