The Teen Years

We are now exactly one-third through the 2013 regular season (811 MLB games played, out of 2,430 scheduled for the season).  That also means we are one-third through the decade of baseball that began with the 2010 season and runs through the 2019 season.  After the jump are the Top 10 everyday player WAR totals accumulated from 2010 through last night, the first one-third of the “teens” decade.

1. Miguel Cabrera 24.5
2. Robinson Cano 24.2
T3. Joey Votto and Ryan Braun 22.7
5. Adrian Beltre 22.3
6. Jose Bautista 20.8
7. Evan Longoria 20.3
8. Ben Zobrist 19.8
9. Dustin Pedroia 19.4
10. Andrew McCutchen 18.8

At least for now, Albert Pujols has fallen out of the top 10 — he currently sits 11th.

Now, the top 8 in pitching WAR, 2010 through last night:

1. Justin Verlander 21.8
2. Clayton Kershaw 21.7
3. Cliff Lee 20.9
4. Felix Hernandez 18.5
5. Roy Halladay 17.0
6. Jered Weaver 16.8
T7. Cole Hamels and C.C. Sabathia 16.6

I wonder how many of the guys on the 2010-2013 lists will also be there on the full 2010-2019 lists, after the remaining two-thirds of this current decade are in the books.

Lets look at what happened in the previous decade, comparing where things stood after the fourth year of the decade to where they stood after the full decade was complete.  The top 10 in WAR for everyday players over the full decade 2000-2009 were, in order: A-Rod, Pujols, Bonds, Helton, Beltran, Ichiro, Chipper, Rolen, Berkman and Abreu (Jeter, in case you’re wondering, was 11th).  If you had looked at the top 10 for 2000-2003, how many of those guys also ended up as top 10 for the 2000-2009 decade as a whole?  Four of them: Bonds, A-Rod, Helton and Abreu. Six guys (Giambi, Edmonds, Andruw, Sosa, Delgado and Thome) were top 10 through 2003, but didn’t make it on to the full decade top 10.

The top 8 in pitching WAR over the full decade 2000-2009: Randy Johnson, Schilling, Santana, Pedro, Halladay (the only one to also show up in the 2010-2013 list), Oswalt, Vasquez and Buehrle.  If you look at the top 8 for 2000 through 2003, half of these guys — Johnson, Schilling, Pedro and Vasquez — were there as well (along with Hudson, Mussina, Zito and Bartolo Colon).

That result — about half the guys — seems like a reasonable guide to how many of the players now on the current decade top WAR lists, through the first third of the current ten-year sequence, will still be there at the end of the full decade.  Time will tell.

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bstar
bstar
9 years ago

I’ve got my money on Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Manny Machado being on the all-decade list.

Hartvig
Hartvig
9 years ago
Reply to  bstar

In spite of his current struggles I would also consider one Giancarlo “Don’t call me Mike” Stanton as well.

bstar
bstar
9 years ago

Since we’re already into our fourth year of this decade, I tried to find a position player in the live-ball era who debuted that late in their respective decade and still placed in the top ten in WAR. The only player I found was Lou Gehrig, who debuted in 1923 and finished #10 in WAR for the ’20s. There are only a small handful of others who debuted in the third year of their decade and placed in the top 10 in WAR: -Wade Boggs, debuted in 1982, #2 in WAR for the ’80s -Mike Schmidt, debuted in 1972, #7… Read more »

John Autin
Editor
9 years ago
Reply to  bstar

Give that man a blog!

bstar
bstar
9 years ago
Reply to  bstar

Thanks, guys!

Correction: Jack Morris didn’t lead the 80’s in pitcher WAR (sorry, Mr. Stieb). He led in wins.

John Autin
Editor
9 years ago

birtelcom, now I’m curious to see if any of the full-decade elite (top 2 or 3 from each side) were longtime teammates, as Cabrera/Verlander.

John Autin
Editor
9 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

Hitter/pitcher teammates who were among a decade’s top 4 in WAR and together at least 4 years in the decade: None in the Oughts, Teens or Twenties. (Frisch and Alexander were together 3 years on the Cards, 1927-29. 1930s — Grove #1 and Foxx #2; Gehrig #1 and Gomez #4; Hubbell #2 and Ott #3. (Highest Cardinal pair was Dean #4 and Medwick #12.) 1940s — Boudreau #2 and Feller #2 (plus Gordon #4 for 1947-49); Musial #3 and Brecheen #4. 1950s — None. (Roberts #1 and Ashburn #6 came closest.) 1960s — Mays #1 and Marichal #1. 1970s —… Read more »

mike
mike
9 years ago

I guess I’ve overlooked Ben Zobrist for awhile. I can’t believe he’s number 8 on that list. Is he that good, or does this indicate a relatively poor pool of second basemen in the game?

Was there anyone who was, surprisingly, on the list for the first third of the 2000’s that made the list for the whole decade? I can’t recall if Abreu would’ve flown under the radar, though his first three years of the 2000s seem better than Zobrists start to the teens.

RJ
RJ
9 years ago
Reply to  mike

Whilst you wouldn’t say no to a 20 HR per year utility man with a decent BA/OBP, the real reason he’s on that list is because bWAR loves his defence. What’s remarkable is that “the Teen years” don’t even include his 2009 season, where b-ref reckons he was tops in WAR for position players.

However, if you tried telling someone that Zobrist 2011 (.269/.353/.469/.822, 276 total bases) was more valuable than, say, Albert Pujols 2003 (.359/.439/.667/1.106, 394 total bases), they might be entitled to scoff.

mosc
mosc
9 years ago
Reply to  mike

DWAR likes position switching too much. Play multiple positions even at an average level and your DWAR will skyrocket. Bautista is a bad right fielder and a terrible third basemen but still managed positive dwar because he played both positions.

BryanM
BryanM
9 years ago
Reply to  mosc

Skyrocket? Bautista has negative 4.4 career DWAR on BRef , which sees him as a below average defender. He plays LF a lot of the time , and he’s OK out there, The Jays would rather he never played 3b , but the fact that he can get by for a game or two has positive value. When you’re carrying 12 pitchers on a 25 man roster and injuries or ejections happen.

bstar
bstar
9 years ago
Reply to  mosc

Sorry, mosc, but that’s just flat-out wrong.

If a player switches back and forth between two positions that have a negative positional adjustment and plays both of them at an average level, he’s going to have negative dWAR.

So Bautista isn’t benefiting from switching positions (if he’s benefiting at all). It’s simply the fact that one of the positions he’s played in his career is a tough one to man.

And, FWIW, the only reason Bautista’s dWAR isn’t more negative is because of the +30 runs from his arm in the outfield.