Mookie Betts leads the pack among right fielders in the 2010s. I gave him the nod over the gentlemen below because Betts has played at an extremely high level since his debut and has simply brought a lot of value to his teams in a short period of time. He has posted at least 6 rWAR in every full season he has played, and he has played between 250 and 400 fewer games than the other guys in this section. Betts is the owner of a .301/.374/.519 career triple-slash and brought the coveted power-speed combo to the Red Sox for the first six years of his career, launching 139 home runs and stealing 126 bags in that time frame. The one-time MVP will now suit up in Chavez Ravine for the Dodgers and look to get this next decade started right. Worth noting, of course, is that he’ll be there for the next 12 years on the heels of a $365 million extension.
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Fangraphs and Baseball Reference agree on the top four left fielders of the past decade though they don’t quite agree on the order. This brings us to a debate of elite quality versus very high quantity; WAR is a counting stat so if you play more games at a high level, you end up with a higher WAR. Still, though, playing fewer games at an elite level is incredibly valuable. I’ll settle the debate.
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What makes picking the top shortstop of the past decade so difficult is that there isn’t even a WAR consensus between the two websites; Baseball Reference has Andrelton Simmons as the top shortstop of the 2010s but Fangraphs hands Troy Tulowitzki that honor. I actually think that neither of the above was the top shortstop of the decade—it was Francisco Lindor.
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Any conversation about third basemen in the 2010s should start with the one and only Adrian Beltre. Depending on who you ask, the margin by which Beltre was the best varies but both Baseball Reference and Fangraphs agree that he was the most valuable third baseman in the decade. Aside from his on-field antics…
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Robinson Cano outplayed his competition at second base by so much over the past decade that he gets his own heading. Prior to his suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, he was nearly a lock for the Hall of Fame. Before his 2018 suspension, Cano had accrued 64.4 rWAR, a .305/.354/.494 triple-slash, and 2376 hits in 13 seasons. The suspension put a damper on his Hall of Fame chances but it doesn’t change the fact that he was far and away the best second baseman of the decade.
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An evaluation of a first baseman’s performance starts and ends with offensive production; first basemen do not get high marks for defense and their defense rarely ever makes enough of a difference to matter to the team, so this is solely a bat-first position.
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The whole sitting-around-and-doing-nothing thing has gotten me thinking about a handful of things related to baseball and the coronavirus, though. I’m going to run through some thoughts and discussions I’ve had over the past few weeks and if you disagree with any of it, my Twitter handle is @metsfanmax. Please let me know if you think I’m dead wrong—I’d love nothing more than to talk baseball with you right now.
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Cody Bellinger headlines the list of Top 25 Players Under 25 entering the 2020 season.
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I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. Mike Trout, the best player in the history of baseball, is underrated.
The seven-time All-Star selection, two-time MVP, and six-time Silver Slugger is underrated.
Mike Trout is the highest-paid player in the game of baseball. He just inked a 12-year, $430MM contract extension. That money doesn’t do justice to just how good he’s been.
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