As we close the decade of the “Naughts”, we all do lists. We all do Top 10 lists and we all can argue about them and wonder why some people are included and others are not. As you have seen from the articles I have written in the past, I write very little about what is actually happening on the field as opposed to behind the scenes. If I do write about players or on-field activities, I back them up with statistics and, what I believe is, overwhelming evidence.
I have decided to use some more of my statistics to determine who the Top 10 Offensive Players were for the years 2000 to 2009. To do this I gathered information from eleven (11) different categories and ranked all of the players from Number 1 to Number 20. I used a point system to keep things consistent. For example, if a player was number 1 in a category, he gained 20 points. Number 2 gained 19 points and this went down the line until the Number 20 player gained one point. The statistics used for this information were the leaders for the years 2000 to 2009 in the following categories:
Runs Batted In
On Base Percentage
There are power and speed categories. There are categories to reward the high average hitters and those that consistently drive runners in. I doubt you will be surprised who is Number 1, but I think Number 2 may be one. In reverse order, here are the Top 10 Offensive Players for the years 2000 to 2009.
Number 10 – Johnny Damon 71 Points.
This two-time All-Star and two-time World Series Champion earned his way into the Top 10 by getting on base, scoring runs and using his overall speed. Damon placed 2nd overall (19 points) for runs scored, placed 6th overall (15 points) for hits, 16th overall (5 points) for total bases, 13th overall (8 points) for doubles, 7th overall (14 points) for triples) and 11th overall (10 points) for steals.
Damon’s best year overall was 2000. He led the league in scoring 136 runs and had 46 steals to also lead the league. In addition, that season he hit .327, had 214 hits, hit 42 doubles and drove in 88 runs for the Kansas City Royals. He was traded after that season to the Oakland A’s as part of a three-team deal hat also included the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays.
Number 9 – Miguel Tejada 78 Points
This six-time All-Star earned his way to the Top Ten through power and some speed. Tejada earned 12 points for placing 9th overall in runs scored, 18 points for having the 3rd most hits, 16 points for being 5th overall in total bases, 15 points for having the 6th most doubles and 17 points for placing 4th overall in runs batted in.
Tejada’s best season was his MVP season of 2002. Tejada scored over 100 runs, had over 200 hits, 30 doubles, 34 home runs and 131 runs batted in, beating out Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano in the MVP race.
Number 8 – Ichirio Suzuki 86 Points
Ichiro Suzuki is an interesting case to study for this decade. Although only playing in nine of the potential ten years, Ichiro placed 8th overall in my points system. He is a nine time All-Star and I will also estimate his point total if he played a tenth season to see if he would have scored more than 86 points. Ichiro placed 2nd overall, for 19 points, in batting average. He placed 7th overall for 14 points in runs scored. He was the overall leader in hits for the decade to earn a perfect 20 points. He hit the 6th most triples to earn 15 points and stole the 3rd most bases for 18 points.
Using his averages, Ichiro would have placed 4th in runs, 5th in triples and 2nd in stolen bases for an additional six points. This would have earned a total of 92 points and only moved him up one space in the Top 10.
In his first season in Major league Baseball (2001), Ichiro was voted the Most Valuable Player. He scored 127 runs, had 242 hits with 34 doubles, 8 triples and 8 home runs. Ichiro stole 56 bases and had a batting average of .350. In eight of the nine years he was in the league, Ichiro placed in the Top 20 of the MVP voting.
Number 7 – Lance Berkman 90 Points
Lance Berkman, five time All-Star, is the first National League player we find in the list at Number 7. He is also the first power hitter that we encountered that averaged at least 30 home runs per season for the decade.
Lance ranked tenth overall in runs and slugging percentage (22 points total), twentieth overall in hits (1 point), eighth in total bases (13 points), seventh in doubles, runs batted in and on-base percentage (42 points total) and Berkman also placed ninth in home runs (12 points).
Berkman had a couple of similar seasons, but I have chosen his 2006 season as his overall best offensive season. He scored 95 runs, had 169 nits, 29 doubles and hit 45 home runs. Berkman drove in 136 runs that season, with 98 walks and a batting average of .315. In addition, Berkman had a slugging percentage of .420 and a slugging percentage of over .600. He placed third in the Most Valuable Player voting that season. This season was also the first of four seasons in which Berkman’s salary was $14.5 million.
Number 6 – Bobby Abreu 97 Points
I am very surprised that Bobby Abreu is on the list. I never really considered him a top offensive player. However, the numbers do show that Abreu deserves to be at number 6.
The two-time All-Star, Abreu is 5th overall in runs scored for the decade (16 points), 8th in hits for the decade (13 points) and 9th in total bases (12 points). Abreu excels in hitting doubles and ranks 2nd for 19 points and also ranked 10th in runs batted in for 11 points. Showing that he has speed as well as power, Abreu ranked 6th in stolen bases for 15 more points and was 10th in on-base percentage for 11 points. Abreu’s decade shows consistency throughout the decade in the ability to drive the ball mixed with speed.
Abreu’s best year of the decade was 2004 with the Phillies. With over 700 at-bats, Abreu had 173 hits, with 47 of them as doubles. He scored 118 runs, hot 30 home runs, drove in 105 runs, he also walked 117 times to help give Abreu a .428 on-base percentage to go along with his .301 batting average.
Number 5 – Vladimir Guerrero 103 Points
As we get to the Top 5 Offensive Players of the “Naughts,” the players will be in more and more of the categories. These names from Guerrero to the top are the ones that I expected to be there and as we go through each person, their offensive abilities become more and more obvious.
With a .323 batting average and 1,751 hits for the decade, Guerrero is ranked 5th for the decade in batting average and hits (16 points each). Guerrero scored 929 runs during the decade to rank him at 13th for the decade and earning him 8 points. Vlad earned over 3,000 total bases to rank him at 3rd overall (18 points). Averaging 31.5 home runs per year, Guerrero ranked 8th overall for 13 more points for his home run total and added 15 more points each for ranking 6th overall for runs batted in and in slugging percentage. Give Vlad 2 more points for the 19th highest on-base percentage for any player in the decade. Known for having a sensitive back, Guerrero could even have had better numbers for the decade if the “cranky back” that cost him over 100 games in the decade was healthy. The six time All-Star is only one of five players to score over 100 points in my system and is ranked as the 5th best Offensive Player for the years 2000 to 2009.
Guerrero won the 2004 Most Valuable Player award. The MVP scored 124 runs while getting 206 hits during the campaign. His 37 doubles, 39 home runs, 126 runs batted in and 15 stolen bases helped drive Guerrero to this award. His batting average was .337 with an on-base percentage of a near .400 and a near .600 slugging percentage.
Number 4 – Manny Ramirez 110 Points
Manny Rodriguez was once the most feared hitter in all of baseball. Anytime he walked to the plate, you knew he was going to do something to help his team. The nine time All-Star during this decade is ranked as the fourth best Offensive Player during this decade.
During the decade, Manny ranked 8th overall (13 points) with a .317 batting average and 12th overall (9 points) with 933 runs scored. His 1,562 hits and 328 doubles rank him 19th during the decade in both categories (2 points each) and with nearly 3,000 total bases, Manny earned 15 points for ranking 6th overall in that category. Manny’s 348 home runs ranked 4th during the decade (17 points) and he also drove in 1,106 runs batted in for 3rd place overall for an additional 18 points. To close his statistics, Manny ranked 3rd overall in slugging percentage and 5th in on-base percentage (34 total points).
Manny’s best season of the decade was 2004, one of the two championships he won during the decade. He batted .308, with 43 home runs and 130 runs batted in. His on-base percentage was almost .400 and slugging was .613. Manny had 175 hits, 44 doubles and walked 82 times during the season as well. Many signed a contract with the Dodgers in 2009 that made him the highest paid player in the National League.
Number 3 – Alex Rodriguez 123 Points
The man that I thought would be in first or second place was actually third overall. With the highest salary in major league baseball, Alex Rodriguez was the third best offensive player for the years 2000 to 2009. The nine-time All-Star during the decade has numerous awards for his trophy case, including his first championship won this past season.
A-Rod does not usually hit for a high batting average and that is a reason why he did not rank higher. He ranked 19th overall for batting average (2 points) with a .304 batting average for the decade. Just ten points higher in his batting average may have moved his up to second overall on the decade list. He is the overall leader in home runs, runs batted in, runs scored and total bases (20 points each), while placing 7th overall (14 points) in hits. He is 4th overall in slugging percentage (17 points) and earned 10 points by placing 11th in on-base percentage. He is the leader in four of our eleven categories.
Although he has won three Most Valuable Player awards, his best season of the decade was 2007. During that season, he hit 54 home runs and drove in 156 runs batted in. He scored 143 runs with 183 base hits. He walked 95 times and had a .314 batting average, .422 on-base percentage and a .645 slugging percentage. This was considered one of the top offensive seasons of the decade 2000 to 2009. A-Rod led the American League in four of the major offensive categories during the 2007 baseball season.
Number 2 – Todd Helton 129 Points
The surprise of the Top Ten, Todd Helton is the 2nd ranked Offensive Player for the years 2000 to 2009. Even though he is so highly ranked, he has not been an All-Star since 2004 after being an All-Star five straight times. In 2007, Helton had the top salary in the National League. Three years later, the same salary is ninth ranked ($16.6 million).
Helton ranked third overall in batting average for the decade (18 points), only 3/1000th behind the leader. He ranks 6th in runs (15 points), 4th in hits and total bases (17 points each) and was the leader in doubles for the decade (20 points). He ranked 12th in runs batted in (9 points) , 7th in slugging percentage (14 points) and he was 2nd overall in on-base percentage (19 points). For a non All-Star for half the decade, Helton has many impressive statistics during these years.
His 2000 season was the best for Helton during the decade. He batted .372, with 216 hits, 47 home runs and driving in 147 runs. He had 59 doubles, 103 walks, a .463 o-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .698. He led the National League in six of the top offensive categories.
Congratulations to Todd Helton, the second ranked Offensive Player of the Decade 2000 to 2009, according to my system.
And the top player is…
Number 1 – Albert Pujols 160 Points
In only nine seasons, Pujols has easily proven himself to be the best Offensive Player of the Decade. Pujols was an All-Star in eight seasons and only finished lower than fourth in the MVP voting once (in 2000 he finished 9th overall in the vote). In fact, Pujols is only the 4th player to win the “Decade Triple Crown” as won that distinction for the National League for the years 2000 to 2009, joining Ted Williams, Rogers Hornsby and Honus Wagner in an exclusive category.
Pujols had the top batting average (20 points) for the decade and had the fourth highest total of runs scored (17 points). He was ninth overall in hits (12 points) and was second in total bases (19 points) to only A-Rod. He was third in doubles, home runs and on-base percentage for the decade (54 total points) and second in runs batted in and slugging percentage (38 total points). Pujols dominated the decade and his statistics are far and beyond the best in the decade for any player in the major leagues.
Pujols best season was probably this past 2009 season, in which he was the MVP award unanimously. He batted .327, with 47 home runs and 135 runs batted in. He scored 124 runs, had 186 hits, 45 doubles and walked 115 times. His on-base percentage was .443 and his slugging percentage was .658. Pujols led the National League in runs, home runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage last year.
Other notable players and their place and gained points for their statistics for the decade:
11th Place – Barry Bonds (70 Points)
12th Place – Derek Jeter (67 Points)
13th Place – Jimmy Rollins (64 Points)
18th Place – David Ortiz (50 Points)
29th Place – Jason Giambi (29 Points)
30th Place – Joe Mauer (29 Points)
35th Place – Sammy Sosa (19 Points)
In addition, here are the top individual statistical years for the various categories during the years 2000 to 2009:
Batting Average – Ichiro Suzuki 0.372 (2004)
Runs – Jeff Bagwell 152 (2000)
Hits – Ichiro Suzuki 262 (2004)
Total Bases – Sammy Sosa 425 (2001)
Doubles – Todd Helton 59 (2000)
Triples – Curtis Granderson 23 (2007)
Home Runs – Barry Bonds 73 (2001)
Runs Batted In – Sammy Sosa 160 (2001)
Stolen Bases – Jose Reyes 78 (2007)
Slugging Percentage – Barry Bonds 0.863 (2001)
On-Base Percentage – Barry Bonds 0.609 (2004)