In The Year 2000: The Top 20 Major League Baseball Players of the Last Decade
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
Batting Average: .313
Home Runs: 247
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
Batting Average: .280
Home Runs: 226
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
Batting Average: .293
Home Runs: 236
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
Innings Pitched: 2,127
Complete Games: 30
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
Innings Pitched: 2,134
Complete Games: 56
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
Batting Average: .255
Home Runs: 327
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
Batting Average: .272
Home Runs: 393
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
Batting Average: .321
Home Runs: 344
Stolen Bases: 151
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
Batting Average: .308
Home Runs: 283
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
Batting Average: .282
Home Runs: 339
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
Innings Pitched: 1454.1
Complete Games: Three
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
Batting Average: .316
Home Runs: 357
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.
Batting Average: .281
Home Runs: 258
Stolen Bases: 259
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
Innings Pitched: 1885.1
Complete Games: 32
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
Batting Average: .312
Home Runs: 171
Stolen Bases: 237
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
Batting Average: .331
Home Runs: 90
Stolen Bases: 383
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
Innings Pitched: 773.1
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
Batting Average: .301
Home Runs: 465
Stolen Bases: 183
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
Batting Average: .322
Home Runs: 317
Intentional Walks: 390
Hit By Pitch: 53
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
Batting Average: .331
Home Runs: 408
162 Game Average: .331 BA, 42 HR, 128 RBI, 198 H, 123 R, 44 2B
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.