The past decade has seen some amazing baseball, some amazing performances and some amazing advances in the way we view and analyze the statistics that make the game so great. I thought I would have some fun and do some top ten “WAR” (Wins Above Replacement) lists for hitters, pitchers and fielders.
I am pretty sure a lot of the following names won’t create many surprises but some might stick out a bit when you go ten deep. Let’s start with the hitters, the most valuable players on most rosters as they have the ability to play and produce value to the club day in and day out if they can manage to stay reasonably healthy.
Top Ten Position Players from 2001 to 2010
*I included Fld (fielding runs) to see how much value a player derives from their defense and positional adjustment/value.
|Ichiro Suzuki||50.7||.331||.376||.430||.354||90||383 SB||126.1|
Any surprises for you when you look at this group? For me I am surprised to see Lance Berkman check in at number three and as you can see he has derived nearly all of his value with the bat, ditto A’Rod. Ichiro Suzuki is on the other end of the spectrum, gaining value with speed and defense as well as a high batting average. Scott Rolen is another guy who gets a lot of value from his stellar defense but his overall body of work is pretty impressive and an underrated guy over the past decade.
Derek Jeter got no help from his well documented poor fielding skills and though he is oft-injured Carlos Beltran has produced great value over the past ten seasons. Todd Helton might have seen a lift from his home park of Coors Field but his overall body of work is also impressive and the most valuable second basemen over the past decade Chase Utley rounds out the top ten.
Top Ten Pitchers from 2001 to 2010
Roy Halladay is a stud, plain and simple. You already know my absolute love for “Doc” if you have read any of my past work, twitter posts or baseball rants but just look at his utter and sheer brilliance over the past decade. Halladay easily outpaces CC Sabathia in overall WAR and has less innings pitched- that is incredible. Roy Halladay would also rank as the third most valuable player (WAR) in ALL of baseball, including everyday players.
It was pretty amazing to see Randy Johnson’s name so high on this list given his age and lack of overall IPs but it does show just how dominant ‘The Big Unit’ was over his career, even in the latter stages. Curt Schilling also finds himself in the top ten and he easily has the lowest total IPs on the list but just look at his K/9, BB/9 and FIP – the dude was a stud, bloody sock and all.
Top Ten Fielders from 2001-2010
Adrian Beltre is the Roy Halladay of fielding, he is consistent as they come and continues to be an above average fielder with the Texas Rangers. Andruw Jones was a marvel in centre field for the Atlanta Braves for many years and his awesome work there still allows Jones to rank so highly even though his defensive skills were seriously eroding late in the decade (and he was playing left field).
If I would’ve used the Fielding Runs in the WAR calculation to see who got the most value from their glove not much would have changed in the rankings. The top three would’ve been Andruw Jones, Ichiro Suzuki and Adrian Beltre. Nice to see Albert Pujols on this list as it shows just how valuable a player he really is and why he will likely sign the biggest contract of all time in the coming offseason.
There you have it a small snapshot of the past decade in MLB baseball and some of the names that led the way in the batter’s box, pitcher’s mound and in the field.
Can’t wait to do this again in 2021, any guesses as to who will be amongst the leaders in the three categories? Given the way he has presumably turned his career around a full 180 degrees, maybe Jose Bautista?