Best, worst MLB players this decade (so far)

Best, worst MLB players this decade (so far)

Chin Music Baseball

Best, worst MLB players this decade (so far)

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Oct 28, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) reacts after Boston Red Sox first baseman Steve Pearce (25) hit a two run home run in the first inning in game five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Best Starting Pitchers

This Also Wasn’t a Surprise

This decade has been full of terrific hurlers and pitcher performances. But similar to Trout being at the top of the position player board, it’s not at all shocking to see Clayton Kershaw pacing the starting pitchers. While this group owns quite a bit of hardware when it comes to Cy Young awards, Kershaw has distinguished himself with three of those to go along with an MVP award.

After taking home the Cy Young award in 2011, that began a streak of seven consecutive seasons in which he finished in the top five (only one of those instances came outside the top three).

Owning the title of “best starting pitcher this decade” is all but locked up unless he has a terrible 2019 and Max Scherzer somehow gets to yet another level. The challenge ahead of Kershaw is to stay on the mound consistently. He enjoyed six straight years of at least 198 innings pitched between 2010 and 2015 before failing to toss more than 175 in each of the past three years.

A Pair of Teammates in a Similar But Different Place

Cole Hamels and Jon Lester aren’t the only pair of teammates on this list (shout out to David Price and Chris Sale), but they caught my eye because of where they’re at in their respective careers.

Both are veteran left-handers nearing the end of their respective long-term deals. Lester has remained productive throughout his tenure with the Chicago Cubs, but his fWAR has consistently gone down since hitting a career-high 5.6 mark in 2014. Hamels was struggling quite a bit with the Texas Rangers before getting traded to Chicago, where he turned things around dramatically — in just 76.1 frames with the club, his 1.5 fWAR nearly matched Lester’s season-long total (1.7).

Lester is under contract through 2020 (along with an option for 2021), so he has a little more security than Hamels, who can become a free agent at season’s end.

On the fringe: Madison Bumgarner (30.7), Stephen Strasburg (30.7), Gio Gonzalez (29.6), CC Sabathia (27.1), Adam Wainwright (27.1).

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