All-Decade Team: The 2000s

Today I’m starting a fun series, looking at all-decade teams using both fWAR and rWAR.  Players are decided on total and rate of production throughout the decade.  I will provide a starting lineup, rotation, and main bullpen arms, and then name the players who just missed the cut.  Players who played multiple positions during the decade will be put only at positions where they had at least 3000 innings in that span.  The 2000-2009 team is the first to be unveiled.

C- Jorge Posada
Posada makes it on longevity with good production, having accumulated about 40 WAR.   Joe Mauer lost out on too many PA, starting his career in 2004, and Ivan Rodriguez did not produce as well offensively.  His .283/.386/.492 slashline, good for a 130 wRC+, was only topped by Mauer for catchers.  I was surprised to see such a high OBP, which was where Pudge lagged behind Posada.  I’ll give an honorable mention to Jason Kendall for logging over 12000 innings behind the plate, over 2000 more than Posada, who was second.

1B- Albert Pujols
As the best player of the last decade, this should surprise no one.  Despite debuting in 2001, he accumulated about 75 WAR, tied for the best at all positions.  His 169 wRC+ (.334/.427/.628) and great defense make him the easy choice here.  Todd Helton provided just over 50 WAR, losing ground because of Coors Field and his ISO.  Lance Berkman also provided around 50 WAR, moving between first base and all three outfield positions.

2B- Chase Utley
Having the fewest PA of any position player on the team, Utley makes up for the lack of playing time with a great all-around game.   Both he and Jeff Kent produced just shy of 40 WAR, but Utley gets the nod for doing it in 1500 less PA.  Placido Polanco was just off the pace, coming in around 35 WAR.

3B- Chipper Jones
In a very close race around 50 WAR, Chipper comes out just ahead of Scott Rolen.  Rolen was the much better defender, but a 23-point deficit in wRC+ (147-124) is too much to make up.  It also doesn’t hurt that I’m a huge Braves fan and wouldn’t dare leave Chipper off this list.

SS- Alex Rodriguez
While he played about 2000 more innings at third base, A-Rod gets the nod at shortstop, due to Derek Jeter losing out to Chipper.  Joining Pujols at 75 WAR, Rodriguez produced eight 6-win seasons in the decade, including five of which exceeded eight wins.  Jeter fell a bit short of 50 WAR and Miguel Tejada was the only other shortstop to eclipse 30 WAR.

LF- Barry Bonds
Despite having only 4000 PA, Bonds accumulated over 60 WAR, most of which was done by 2004.  While we’re 99.9999% sure he had some help, the numbers he put up are still beyond explanation.  His .322/.517/.724 slashline was good for a 204 wRC+, miles ahead of Pujols.  It would have been interesting to see how long he could have played if teams would have not shied away from him.  Berkman gets some mention here, along with Manny Ramirez accruing just over 40 WAR.

CF- Carlos Beltran
Providing about 50 WAR, Beltran gets the nod in center field.  Jim Edmonds produced at a better rate, but his 1300 PA deficit was just too much to overtake Beltran.  Andruw Jones ranged his way to around 45 WAR, and Mike Cameron also used defense to nearly compile 40 WAR.

RF- Ichiro Suzuki
Another 2001 debut player, Ichiro’s 50 WAR edges out a couple close competitors.  Nowhere near a traditional corner bat, he shows how a BABIP and defense emphasis can still work in non-premium defensive positions.  Both Vladimir Guerrero and Bobby Abreu managed around 45 WAR.  Considered an overrated player by much of the mainstream media, J.D. Drew amassed around 40 WAR in just shy of 5000 PA.

SP- Randy Johnson, Roy Halladay, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Johan Santana
Johnson and Halladay are the two clear-cut aces here, accumulating around 50 WAR each.  Johnson gets the nod as the ace for his four-year Cy Young run.  Pedro gets the nod at #3 for having the lowest IP/WAR rate of any starter over the decade, while Schilling wasn’t far behind.  Each of them ended up just shy of 45 WAR.  The final spot had many contenders, but Santana gets the spot due to two factors.  First, he had the fewest IP of the remaining candidates, giving him the best rate.  Second, he outperformed his peripherals, and since a lower ERA is more valuable than a lower FIP, he gets the advantage there.  The other pitchers in consideration were Javier Vazquez, Roy Oswalt, CC Sabathia, Mark Buehrle, Tim Hudson, and Mike Mussina.

RP- Mariano Rivera, Joe Nathan, Billy Wagner, Francisco Rodriguez
Rivera not only laps any reliever on this list, but he rated 12th in rWAR for ALL pitchers over the decade, despite having less than half the IP of any pitcher ahead of him.  Rivera was worth about 30 WAR, while Nathan was next around 20 WAR.  Wagner and K-Rod round out the bullpen around 17 WAR.  Some notable omissions include Trevor Hoffman, Jonathan Papelbon, and Francisco Cordero.  Hoffman had 363 saves in the decade, but he did not dominate hitters like those on the list.  Papelbon actually had rates slightly better than Rivera, but with only four years in the majors, he did not get the innings to make the list.  Cordero matched Wagner’s totals, but had a few more innings to help.

In review:

CF Carlos Beltran
SS Alex Rodriguez
LF Barry Bonds
1B Albert Pujols
3B Chipper Jones
2B Chase Utley
C Jorge Posada
RF Ichiro Suzuki
P Randy Johnson

I think I could work with that…


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