In The Year 2000: The Top 20 Major League Baseball Players of the Last Decade

Ryan NeimanContributor IIIFebruary 17, 2011

In The Year 2000: The Top 20 Major League Baseball Players of the Last Decade

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    In baseball, there are players who have a season where they appear to hit everything that comes at them, or if they are a pitcher, they keep the bats quiet all night.

    Sometimes, these are players who have career years, because they are never heard or seen from again after their sensational season.

    For them, it is too difficult to repeat the same success.

    On the contrary, there are players who completely dominate and thrive in the league for years.

    They make everything appear so easy and natural.

    For hitters, every pitch is coming at them in slow motion and their timing is perfect.

    For pitchers, they keep the opposing offense's at helm as their bats stay quiet all night.

    These are the athletes who are not labeled as "fading stars".

    These are the players who evolve into future Hall of Famers.

    During the last decade, baseball fans have been witnessed to some of the greatest baseball players to have ever worn a baseball jersey.

    Here are the top 20 major league baseball players of the last decade.

     

     

20. Miguel Cabrera

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Batting Average: .313

    Home Runs: 247

    RBI: 879

    Hits: 1,400

    Runs:  741

    OBP: .388

    SLG: .552

    162 Game Average: .313 BA, 34 HR, 120 RBI, 191 H, 101 R

     

    Miguel Cabrera is grooming to be one of the best hitters of today.  He can slam a couple balls out of the park, but he can also hit for average, too.

    He has evolved into one of the most dangerous sluggers in baseball and he is only 27.  Scary.

19. Jorge Posada

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Batting Average: .280

    Home Runs: 226

    RBI: 876

    Hits: 1,346

    Runs: 730

    OBP: .384

    SLG: .489

    162 Game Average: .275 BA, 26 HR, 100 RBI, H 154, 84 R

     

    Though Posada battled through injuries this season, he has been one of the most productive catchers in the last decade.

    Posada is number one in on-base and slugging percentage among catchers with at least 4,000 plate appearances.  

     

18. Bobby Abreu

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Batting Average: .293

    Home Runs: 236

    RBI: 1,071

    Hits: 1,867

    Runs: 1,149

    SB: 319

    OBP: .398

    SLG: .486

    162 Game Average: .296 BA, 23 HR, 101 RBI, 170 H, 109 R, 30 SB

     

    Sure, Abreu has the great offensive power numbers, but many people seem to forget Abreu is a base-stealing threat.  In the last decade, Abreu has failed to reach 20 stolen bases only once in a season.

17. C.C. Sabathia

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Wins: 157

    Loses: 88

    ERA: 3.57

    Innings Pitched: 2,127

    Strikeouts: 1,787

    Complete Games: 30

    Shutouts: 11

    162 Game Average: 17-9, 3.57 ERA, 225 IP, 189 K, three CG, one SO

     

    Sabathia has been a work-horse through his whole career, but it has not been detrimental to his production.  He continues to dominate hitters, and he is one of the most powerful pitchers of today.

16. Roy Halladay

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Wins: 160

    Loses: 79

    ERA: 3.29

    Innings Pitched: 2,134

    Strikeouts: 1,619

    Complete Games: 56

    Shutouts: 18

    No-Hitters: Two (One Perfect Game)

    162 Game Average: 18-9, 3.29 ERA, 182 K, 240 IP, seven CG, three SO

     

    Doc Halladay has been the most consistent pitcher of this decade.  He has six seasons with at least 16 wins and he has at least an ERA under 3.30.

    He is currently the leader amongst active players with the most complete games.

15. Andruw Jones

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Batting Average: .255

    Home Runs: 327

    RBI: 965

    Hits: 1,404

    Runs: 893

    OBP: .339

    SLG: .492

    162 Game Average: .256, 35 HR, 104 RBI, 151 H, 96 R

     

    Even though Jones' career rapidly took a detour, he was a feared hitter in an already dangerous Atlanta Braves offense.  From 2000 to 2007, he belted out less than 26 home runs in a season.

14. Jim Thome

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Batting Average: .272

    Home Runs: 393

    RBI: 1,045

    Hits: 1,333

    Runs: 925

    OBP: .404

    SLG: .559

    162 Game Average: .278 BA, 44 HR, 115 RBI, 147 H, 102 R,

     

    Year after year, Thome continued to hit mammoth shots over the fence.

    Even though his numbers have been consistent throughout the years, it's hard to believe there has not been a single team in the last decade who wants to hold onto this guy.

13. Vladimir Guerrero

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    Travis Lindquist/Getty Images

    Batting Average: .321

    Home Runs: 344

    RBI: 1,152

    Hits: 1,929

    Runs: 1,012

    Stolen Bases: 151

    OBP: .387

    SLG: .562

    162 Game Average: .320 BA, 36 HR, 118 RBI, 197 H, 104 R,  16 SB

     

    His swing may be unorthodox, and he may make you cringe at the pitches he reaches out for, but man, he can hit some moon shots.

12. Chipper Jones

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Batting Average: .308

    Home Runs: 283

    RBI: 967

    Hits: 1,619

    Runs: 963

    OBP: .411

    SLG: .540

    162 Game Average: .306 BA, 31 HR, 106 RBI, 177 H, 105 R

     

    Chipper Jones has had a remarkable career for 16 seasons in the same uniform with the Atlanta Braves. He has been a hitting machine for the Braves, and he should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

     

11. David Ortiz

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    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Batting Average: .282

    Home Runs: 339

    RBI: 1,118

    Hits: 1,505

    Runs: 917

    OBP: .377

    SLG: .551

    162 Game Average: .281 BA, 40 HR, 127 RBI, 167 H, 103 R

     

    The Minnesota Twins gave up on David Ortiz, and it could back to haunt them.

    Ortiz carried the Boston Red Sox to two World Series rings, and he evolved into one of the game's most clutch hitters.

10. Roger Clemens

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Wins: 107

    Loses: 50

    ERA: 3.34

    Strikeouts: 1,356

    Innings Pitched: 1454.1

    Complete Games: Three

    Shutouts: One

    162 Game Average: 16-8, 3.30 ERA, 203 K, 217 IP, one CG, one SO

     

    With suspicion of using performance enhancing drugs and his arrogance against Congress during the Mitchell Report, there really isn't anything we can do to help repair Clemens image.

    But, if you put that aside for a moment, and you examine the numbers he put up during the last decade, HGH or no HGH, he could still blow pitches by hitters.

09. Manny Ramirez

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Batting Average: .316

    Home Runs: 357

    RBI: 1,148

    Hits: 1,641

    Runs:971

    OBP:.418

    SLG:.592

    162 Game Average: .313 BA, 40 HR, 129 RBI, 184 H, 109 R

     

    Underneath his luscious hair and the heavy smog of suspicion of using performance enhancing drugs, there is a true and genuine hitter.  Despite his too many "Manny being Manny" incidents, he is a lethal weapon every time he is standing at home plate.

08.Carlos Beltran

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Batting Average: .281

    Home Runs: 258

    RBI: 947

    Hits: 1,551

    Runs: 982

    Stolen Bases: 259

    OBP: .362

    SLG: .499

    162 Game Average: .280 BA, 29 HR, 106 RBI, 173 H, 110 R, 29 SB

     

    Injuries have derailed the underrated slugger last two seasons, but when he is healthy, he can be one of the fiercest hitters in the game.

07. Randy Johnson

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    Wins: 143

    Loses: 78

    ERA:  3.34

    Innings Pitched: 1885.1

    Strikeouts: 2182

    Complete Games: 32

    Shutouts:12

    No-Hitters: One (Perfect Game)

    162 Game Average: 18-10, 3.29 ERA, 227 IP, 262 K, four CG, one SO

     

    Randy Johnson was a fire ball hurler, as he constantly sat down hitters. He won the ERA crown twice and he won a World Series MVP in this decade.

06. Derek Jeter

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    Batting Average: .312

    Home Runs: 171

    RBI: 794

    Hits: 2,119

    Runs: 1,199

    Stolen Bases: 237

    OBP: .383

    SLG: .448

    162 Game Average: .314 BA, 17 HR, 78 RBI, 208 H, 118 R, 24 SB

     

    Today, when you think of the New York Yankees, you think of Derek Jeter.  For the last decade, lost among the steroid suspicion were players who used their own talents to bring them to new levels.  Jeter was one of those players who was just naturally talented, and his heroics in the postseason brought his stature to greater heights.

05. Ichiro Suzuki

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    Batting Average: .331

    Home Runs: 90

    RBI: 558

    Hits: 2,244

    Runs: 1,047

    Stolen Bases: 383

    Triples: 71

    OBP: .376

    SLG: .430

    162 Game Average: .331 BA, nine HR, 57 RBI, 229 H, 107 R, 39 SB

     

    It's been truly remarkable what Ichrio has done since his talents where imported from Japan.  He is the only player today who is recognized by one name, he has recorded the most the hits by any player in the last decade, and he has appeared in the  All-Star every year since his debut.

    Oh, he also won the Rookie of the Year and MVP award in the same year.  No biggie.

     

04. Mariano Rivera

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    Wins: 48

    Losses: 42

    ERA: 2.06

    Innings Pitched: 773.1

    Saves: 430

    Strikeouts: 714

    162 Game Average:  5-5, 2.23 ERA, 42 SV, 75 IP, 69 SO

     

    Enter the Sandman.

    Rivera immediately strikes fear into hitters, as he has been the most efficient closer in the last decade. It's rare to hear Rivera blew a save over the airwaves because he was usually automatic.

    If a team had any thought of mounting a comeback, it was quickly dissolved once Super Mariano stepped to the mound.

    He has been even more impressive when it has mattered the most: playoffs.

    Through his playoff career, he is 4-1 with 29 saves and 64 strikeouts to accompany his staggering ERA 0.71.

03. Alex Rodriguez

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    Batting Average: .301

    Home Runs: 465

    RBI: 1,368

    Hits: 1,881

    Runs: 1,264

    Stolen Bases: 183

    Doubles: 314

    OBP: .396

    SLG: .580

    162 Game Average: .301 BA, 46 HR, 135 RBI, 185 H, 124 R, 18 SB

     

    Many wonder what A-Rod's numbers would have looked like if he never took steroids.

    Many wonder what it is like to be on the Moon.

    For both, it's impossible to imagine.

    For A-Rod, we have to get pass the accusations and we just have to look at the bottom-line: his stats.

    His numbers that are presented are Hall of Fame worthy and this does not even include his whole career.

    Does anything else need to be said?

02. Barry Bonds

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Batting Average: .322

    Home Runs: 317

    RBI:687

    Hits: 925

    Runs: 772

    Walks: 1128

    Intentional Walks: 390

    Hit By Pitch: 53

    OBP: .517

    SLG: .724

    162 Game Average: .322 BA, 52 HR, 115 RBI, 152 H, 127 R, 185 BB, 64 IB

     

    We all know what Barry Bonds did.

    And if you compare Bonds' offensive stats compared to other players in the last decade, he is less impressive.

    However, how do you allow a guy to hit when you take the bat out of his hands so many times?

    At the end of his career, Bonds was the all-time leader in walks with 2,558.

    If he had not been walked 177 times in 2001, he would have slugged out 80-90 home runs instead of his 73.  That's once for every three at bats.

    Pitchers pitched around him and coaches did not want to pitch to him.

    Both wanted to take Bonds completely out of the equation.

    You have to be doing something right to earn that kind of respect.

    It is unimaginable what type of season and even his final career stats would have been if he had not been given a free pass so many times.

01. Albert Pujols

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Batting Average: .331

    Home Runs: 408

    RBI: 1,230

    Hits: 1,900

    Runs: 1,186

    Doubles: 426

    OBP: .426

    SLG: .624

    162 Game Average: .331 BA, 42 HR, 128 RBI, 198 H, 123 R, 44 2B

     

    Prince Albert.

    Phat Albert.

    The Machine.

    Call the three-time MVP whatever you want, but he is the best player of this decade.

    It's eye-boggling the numbers he has been able to produce every single season.

    He has been on streaks where he looks absolutely un-human, as every pitch appears to be a "beachball" for him.

    What strikes me the most is his lack of swinging and missing, which is common for most sluggers.

    Pujols has never struck out 100 times in a season.

    To say he has one of the best eyes in the game is an understatement.

    Pujols is only 31 and he does not have any signs of slowing down.

    It wouldn't be surprising to see him dominant again in the next decade.