As the decade comes to a close, it seemed like an intriguing idea to reflect and take a look back at which Dodgers have been most productive over the past ten years. Keep in mind only a player’s time with the Dodgers can be counted, meaning someone like Chase Utley does not get credit for his time with Philadelphia.
Without further ado, presented to you is the Dodgers All-Decade Team of the 2010s:
Catcher – Yasmani Grandal
This one was a pretty clear-cut choice. I initially thought Russell Martin would be in this discussion, but he left in 2010, giving him only two years in Dodger blue this decade. A.J. Ellis accumulated the most games and plate appearances, but Grandal was by far the superior hitter and defender.
No bonus points for being best friends with Clayton Kershaw, either. Sorry, A.J.
Down by one…were you worried?
YAZ wasn't. ?? pic.twitter.com/FVE4DR6olm
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 23, 2016
Honorable Mentions: A.J. Ellis, Russell Martin, Austin Barnes
First base – Adrián González
The first thing to sort out here was if Cody Bellinger would be considered as an outfielder or first baseman. Given he has spent more innings in the outfield than at first base, it made more sense to leave him out there.
With Bellinger out of the picture, Adrian González was the obvious choice. With over 700 games played and nearly 3000 plate appearances, González was an icon for the Dodgers this decade and a fan favorite both on the field and off.
The 2,000th career hit.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 23, 2017
Honorable Mentions: David Freese, James Loney
Second Base – Max Muncy
Despite Max Muncy appearing in far less games than many other candidates, his offensive production was simply too impressive to ignore. His wRC+ of 146 is 43 points higher than any other second baseman, and his defense at the position has only improved over time. Iconic postseason moments such as this help as well.
Max Muncy hits an 18th inning walk-off home run in the longest World Series game ever! pic.twitter.com/TzfaMAg7ce
— Baseball Bros (@BaseballBros) October 27, 2018
Honorable Mentions: Dee Gordon, Chase Utley, Kiké Hernández, Howie Kendrick, Mark Ellis
Third base – Justin Turner
This was by far the easiest choice to make. Turner sported the highest Dodgers WAR this decade among any position player, and had postseason success to back it up. Now a huge fan favorite, Turner has morphed from a spring training invitee to a face of the franchise.
— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) October 16, 2017
Honorable Mentions: Juan Uribe, Casey Blake
Shortstop – Corey Seager
This was a two-horse race between Corey Seager and Hanley Ramirez, and the latter made it an extremely close call for me. Seager undeniably had the better stats, with 18.2 WAR opposed to Hanley’s 10.2. Although, when looking at Seager’s embarrassing postseason shortcomings, I was tempted to leave him off. However, I just couldn’t bump him out for someone who only spent 2.5 years in Dodger blue, and ruined Clayton Kershaw’s perfect game in 2014. Seager barely edges this one out.
Corey in the House. pic.twitter.com/4Ejz5nbi3U
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 4, 2019
Honorable Mentions: Hanley Ramirez, Rafael Furcal, Jamey Carroll
Outfield – Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig
With Cody Bellinger being considered an outfielder, a logjam was created that I had a very tough time sorting out. Matt Kemp was an absolute lock for the team with his 17.2 WAR, higher than any other outfielder. However, after him, there were only two spots for three players: Bellinger, Andre Ethier, and Yasiel Puig.
Any two of these three would be perfectly acceptable, but I had to weed one out, and I decided to exclude Bellinger. The rationale for this was their postseason performances. Puig and Ethier both posted a respectable 112 wRC+, while Cody’s was a shabby 49. Regular season success is great, but Bellinger consistently fell short when it mattered most. Ethier and Puig also had Bellinger beat in longevity, which was factored in. At the end of the day, leaving off Captain Clutch or the Wild Horse was just too difficult.
As Yasiel Puig gets set to make his return to Dodger Stadium tonight, let's throw it back to this classic moment:
Puig's 3-run HR in Game 7 of the 2018 NLCS to seal another trip to the World Series! pic.twitter.com/OpNxhHTvje
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) April 15, 2019
Honorable Mentions: Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson, Chris Taylor, Carl Crawford
Starting Rotation – Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Zack Greinke, Walker Buehler, Kenta Maeda
The first three here were no-brainers. Kershaw might just go down as the best pitcher of the entire decade, while Ryu and Greinke were both terrific and consistent for several years in Dodger Blue. These three were also the only starters with a WAR in the double digits. Filling out the back end of the rotation was a little more difficult.
There was a large pool of about six guys competing for these two spots, and all of them had strong cases. Although, when looking at the moments that mattered most, Buehler and Maeda stood ahead of the pack.
Buehler’s lack of longevity went against him, but his terrific starts in 2018 game 163 and 2019 NLDS game five were too incredible to ignore. As for Maeda, he had the longevity with the third most starts of the decade, as well as his big postseason contributions. For the past three years, Maeda has been absolute hell in the postseason for opposing batters out of relief.
Clayton Kershaw no hitter. pic.twitter.com/DCdJzMbN3W
— Mark Brockett (@Tuff_Overlord) December 13, 2019
Honorable Mentions: Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Alex Wood, Rich Hill
Bullpen – Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez, J.P. Howell
Kenley Jansen was the obvious choice as the closer, accumulating 301 saves this decade, 273 more than anyone else. Filling out an entire bullpen behind him would have been a headache, so I just narrowed it down to two setup guys to go along with him
The first setup man is Pedro Baez. While he had his ups and downs over the years, his overall numbers are very strong, and he has been a weapon out of the bullpen for several years now. He also has the most WAR out of the bullpen after Kenley, at 3.6.
The second setup man was a bit depressing to select. I settled on J.P. Howell, who pitched the most innings after Kenley and Baez, posted the 4th highest war, was terrific against lefties, and gave the Dodgers four strong years from 2013-2016. Admittedly, this is scraping the bottom of the barrel.
Honorable Mentions: Hong-Chih Kuo, Brandon Morrow, Ronald Belisario, Javy Guerra
That will round out the Dodgers All-Decade Team of the 2010s. Agree or disagree with anything? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. The toughest decision by far was leaving Bellinger off the roster, but the rest was pretty easy to decipher. To recap, below is the final team.
- RF Puig
- SS Seager
- CF Kemp
- 1B González
- 3B Turner
- 2B Muncy
- LF Ethier
- C Grandal