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Best of the Decade: 2010-19

December 26, 2019

From the best World Series, to the best starting pitchers and more, we ranked, dissected and celebrated all the things we loved most about the Great American Pastime during the past 10 years. The following is a roundup of the decade's best:

From the best World Series, to the best starting pitchers and more, we ranked, dissected and celebrated all the things we loved most about the Great American Pastime during the past 10 years. The following is a roundup of the decade's best:

Stories of the decade
What will you remember about this decade? How will this decade live on in history? As the decade comes to a close, here is a look at 11 stories that defined it. More >

The best of the decade at every position
As the decade comes to a close, it's time to look back at baseball's best of the best from the 2010s. For fun, picked both a first and second team. We polled 73 expert voters -- MLB Network analysts and reporters, analysts and editors -- on their top choices for the players of the decade at every position. More >

The 10 most successful franchises of the decade
The title of “Team of the Decade” is a powerful one. In many ways, you can tell the story of a decade by its best team. This decade provides no such clarity. There were a total of seven champions, with 12 different teams making the World Series. More >

Games of the decade
From World Series-clinching victories to no-hitters to dramatic comebacks, all 30 teams had their share of memorable and historic games over the past decade. More >

Best player on each team
It is only natural that we look at the best players for each team this decade. It’s partly by collective statistics, partly from overall impact: When you look back on the last decade of baseball for each of these teams, these are the guys you’ll think of. More>

World Series, ranked
Every World Series is amazing. Seriously. Even the blowouts, even the sweeps, even the ones from the past that you can’t quite recollect every detail from, now that you’re thinking about it. The World Series is something that lasts forever, even if your team loses. A World Series is something you never forget … even if you might want to. More >

Best teams
Here's a look back at the 10 best individual teams of this decade. We are not looking only at World Series wins, but we are also not looking only at regular-season success. When in doubt, we’ll go with the champion … but that is never the end-all, be-all of the story. These teams are the best this decade had to offer. More >

Division and League Championship Series, ranked
It’s only when you have time and perspective to look back that you can truly understand what makes an eternal, immortal postseason series. You want the series to be close, of course, but you also want it to be lasting. That said, let's attempt to rank the best 10 postseason series of this decade (looking only at Division Series and League Championship Series). More >

Best pennant chases
When there’s a particularly exciting pennant chase, every minute without baseball feels like a waste of time. Pennant chases are all-encompassing; you spend half your time screaming for your team and the other half screaming at the scoreboard. When they’re rolling right, they’re the most fun part of the sport: Everything is connected; everything affects everything else. More >

Best individual seasons
Every player wants that one season, that one perfect season, when everything falls exactly right. It’s easier to be a great player to have that year, but sometimes you just have to be excellent and have everything land in the correct place. We all want long, sustained careers. But sometimes the one perfect season is enough. More >

Biggest Trade Deadline deals
In taking a look at the biggest Deadline trades of this decade, we tried to balance both the ultimate importance of the trade and the massive splash it made at the time it was made. But when in doubt, we went with the biggest splash. That’s what’s fun about the Deadline, after all. More >

Top free-agent deals
These are deals that worked out great for both player and team. Perhaps the player could have gotten a smidge more, or the team could have paid a scooch less. But when you get production like this, those little margins don’t really matter. Teams should pay for production. Here are players who were productive. More >

All-Star Games, ranked
The All-Star Game was still deciding home-field advantage for the World Series for most of this decade, but it is encouraging -- and perhaps telling -- that the competitiveness of the games themselves did not decrease once home-field advantage in the World Series was separated from the All-Star Game following the 2016 season; if anything, the games got a little better. More >

Top 10 starting pitchers
We once lionized starters as larger than life, swaggering stoppers, men’s men who finished what they started, who put their whole teams on their back. Now? Now we have them on constant pitch counts, we pull them when they have no-hitters and sometimes we don’t even let them start at all -- maybe they can come in after the “opener.” Who knows what a “best starting pitchers of the decade” list will look like in 2029? Will it even be possible? More >

Top 10 relievers
Perhaps no position in baseball has changed more over this past decade than the relief pitcher. In 2010 -- as in most of the last 30 years of baseball -- you had your closer, and everything funneled toward him. In 2019, there are still closers, but the job is much more fluid, and fragile, and then sometimes you actually start the game and they call you the “opener.” More >

Top 10 catchers
For all the talk of how much data and analysis have changed the game of baseball over these 10 years, there is no position as stubbornly resistant to being broken down statistically as catcher. The catcher is the field general, the one person who can see every bit of the action playing out in front of him, arguably the most important player on every individual pitch. More >

Top 10 first basemen
Because first base can be a catch-all position where you can still somewhat hide guys, many players play first and other positions, most notably corner outfield or designated hitter. For the sake of clarity, we looked at players who played at least 50 percent of their games at first base over the decade, according to Baseball Reference’s Play Index. More >

Top 10 second basemen
A second baseman can be a bit of anything. Some second basemen are speedsters; others provide power; others are so gifted defensively that any offense they give you is a bonus. But you know a second baseman when you see one. More >

Top 10 third basemen
Third base is, famously, the most overlooked position by Cooperstown, though there are increasing signs that such a lockdown may be loosening. One of the main reasons for that might be all the third base talent coming from this decade. Third base is tricky, because it’s a tough position to hide a great hitter but lousy fielder; it requires too much defensive skill for that. But if you’re gonna hold down that spot, you’re going to have to hit. Get you a third baseman who can do both. More >

Top 10 shortstops
You can, in many ways, track the history of baseball over the last 40 years by its shortstops. The position was once peppered with small, slap-hitting defensive specialists; any offense you got from the position was gravy. Then the era of Ozzie Smith gave way to Cal Ripken, big dudes who could hit, and then we had Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, players who could do it all. The idea of the position changes, but the importance of shortstop never does. It’s always right in the middle of everything. More >

Top 10 left fielders
Left field is often the forgotten position in MLB. You don’t need the thunder arm that you need in right, and you don’t need the speed and range of a center fielder. But you also can’t hide out there like teams will sometimes try to do with first basemen. You need a little bit of everything … without having a lot of any one thing. More >

Top 10 center fielders
Center field is the John Fogerty song, the glamour position, the one that’s so important that if you can play it well, it almost doesn’t matter how well you do anything else. But if you can hit as well as play a brilliant center field, you’re the most vital player on the field. You’re a superstar. Catcher is often considered the quarterback position, or maybe pitcher. But when it comes to glamour, there’s nothing in baseball like a center fielder. More >

Top 10 right fielders
Right field is a position with players who always seem to be holding a bigger bat at the plate than anyone else in the lineup. It’s an important defensive position, but one that values strength and power over speed and finesse. You need to be strong to play right field. You can’t really hide poor fielders like you can at other corner positions, because having a cannon out there is half the battle. You throw far, you hit far, you go far. More >

Top 10 managers
Perhaps the most indicative moment in the public perception of baseball managers this decade came in the movie "Moneyball," when Art Howe, played by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, argues that he is the manager and therefore the final authority on everything that happens in the A’s dugout and organization. Billy Beane/Brad Pitt shows up, looking handsome and charming and brilliant and wearing nice clothes and no uniform, lets him know that’s not the case anymore. More >

Top 10 farm systems
Determining the best franchises of the decade is a fairly straightforward exercise. The best farm systems of the decade don't reveal themselves in such obvious fashion. We reviewed each player who graduated to the big leagues from 2010-19 and assigned them to the organization with which they logged the most plate appearances or innings in the Minors before losing their Rookie status. The results reinforced the notion that a productive farm system correlates with big league success. More >

The Data Decade
You could have watched baseball your entire life, but if you have a curious mind, you've been able to learn more about the game in the last 10 years than you had in your whole existence up to that point.

That's data. That's why it's the Data Decade. The last decade has changed the sport in ways we're still coming to terms with, but it has also expanded our understanding of it, the better ways to win, the most efficient ways to organize your roster, the most training regimens to preserve your strength and maximize the consistency of your swing, or your throwing motion. Baseball has always been a sport that, because it is in large part played in solo, one-on-one fashion, easily lent itself to statistical study. But now we have better statistics. We have better data. And we're using it in ways that, all told, we should have been using all along. More >