Can You Identify These MLB Stars From the Past Decade?

By: Daniel Yetman

He helped lead the Dodgers to the World Series in 2017 and 2018. He's so good that he led all of baseball in WAR since 2010. Three Cy Young awards and an MVP award highlight his trophy case.

Mike Trout is the best all-around player in baseball. It would be difficult to come up with a counter-argument otherwise. He finished number four in the MVP voting in 2017, and in every other season in his career, he has either won or finished second.

Cano hasn't put up a single MVP caliber season, but he's been consistently good throughout his career. Since coming into the league in 2005, he's put up a career .844 OPS, a .303 batting average and consistently more than 20 home runs per year.

Adrian Beltre came into the league as a teenager and continued to play at a high level until he was 39. He racked up 477 home runs in his career with a lifetime .819 OPS. He's a known hater of the iconic Gatorade Shower.

Votto has been a perennial MVP candidate since 2010, when he took home the award. If there's something that Votto does better than anybody, it's get on base. He's led the league in on-base percentage seven times over his thirteen years in the league.

Throughout the early half of the 2010s, nobody was hitting the ball better than Miguel Cabrera. He won back-to-back MVP awards in 2012 and 2013 and lead the league in batting average four times in a five-year span.

Cole Hamels has never taken home the Cy Young, but he's put up consistent numbers in the 14 years that he's been in the league. At the time of writing, he had put up a 160-116 career record with a 3.40 ERA.

Up until 2019, Kinsler had played his entire career in the American league. He's racked up a solid .779 OPS over 14 years in the big leagues with 255 home runs and 242 stolen bases. He's also a two-time Gold Glove winner.

Mookie Betts had a breakout year in 2016 when he hit .318 with 31 home runs. That effort was good enough to get him second in the MVP voting. However, two years later he stepped up his game again to hit .346 with 32 home runs to nab the most prestigious trophy.

Lindor has only been in the league since 2015, but he's already made a name for himself. After finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting, he went on to finish top ten in the MVP voting three years in a row. He's also hit more than 30 home runs the past two seasons.

Yelich hit 26 home runs last season en route to winning the MVP for the National League. As of June 6, he's put up MVP numbers again in his first 55 games. His 22 home runs put him on pace for 65. Can he hold on?

Bregman broke out last season with 51 doubles to lead the American League. He finished fifth in the MVP voting, ahead of his teammate and former winner Jose Altuve. Expect him to continue to improve over the next few seasons.

Arenado has hit at least 37 home runs every year since 2015. In the last four seasons, he's finished 8th, 5th, 4th, and 3rd in the MVP voting respectfully. In case that wasn't impressive enough, he's also a five-time Gold Glove winner.

Pitchers often take longer to develop than hitters. Degrom has been good since coming into the league, but in 2018--his age 30 season--he finally took home the Cy Young award. He finished with a 1.70 ERA in 32 starts and had 269Ks.

The Red Sox had one of the greatest seasons by any team in the history of the league in 2018. A large part of their success was because of this guy. In his first season with the Red Sox, he hit 43 long balls and drove in 130 runs.

Since 2013, Paul Goldschmidt has finished in the top 10 in the MVP four times, including two runner-up votes. He spent the first eight years of his career with the Diamondbacks, but now he's locked up with the Cardinals. Will he help them win another World Series?

Is there any player more beloved in St. Louis than Molina? Since 2008, he's taken home the Gold Glove award nine times. He's also finished top four in the MVP vote twice in his career. If Molina is catching, you don't have to worry about anybody stealing second.

David Price has been consistently good since 2010 when he won 19 games for the Rays. Two years later, he took home the Cy Young in a 20-win season. In 2018, he finally got a chance to prove himself as a playoff pitcher when he helped the Red Sox win the World Series.

Ryan Braun put up a line of .311/32/114 in 2011 on his way to winning the NL MVP award. He followed up that performance with 41 home runs the next season. In 2013, he missed most of the season from serving a PED related suspension.

Heyward came into the league as a 20-year-old in 2010 and has consistently put up a positive WAR since then. He does a little bit of everything, hits about 15 home runs per season, steals about 20 bases and hits about .270 in a typical season. He also has one of the deadliest arms in the league.

King Felix was one of the best pitchers on the American league from 2009 to 2015. He took home the CY Young in 2010 playing for a poor Seattle team that only game him enough run support for him to win 13 games with a 2.27 ERA.

When you look at Zobrist's career, there's no one season that stands outs. However, he's amassed a 45.2 WAR over his 14 year career. If you were to pick one season as his best, it would have to be 2009 when he hit .297 with 27 home runs.

In 2010, Bautista went from a guy no one had ever heard of to superstar almost overnight after cranking 54 dingers. Going into that season, he had never hit more than 16 home runs in a season. He would follow up with two more 40 home run seasons and a 35-homer season.

You only have to glance at Giancarlo to know what type of hitter he is. He's built to hit home runs and that's exactly what he does. In 2017, one of the few seasons where he stayed healthy, he hit a career-high 59 home runs with the Marlins. He's coming off his fifth season with more than 30 home runs in 2018.

Bumgarner has pitched the league since 2009. It seems like he's been around forever, but going into 2019, he's still only 29 years old. In his 11-year career, he's racked up a lifetime 3.08 ERA. He's also finished top 10 in the Cy Young voting four times.

Adam Jones has put up consistent numbers over his 14-year career. In his prime years, he averaged about 30 home runs, a .285 batting average, and 15 stolen bases a year. He's been voted an All-Star five times over the last 10 years

Justin Upton came into the league as a teenager in 2007. Last season was Justin's 12th in the league and he had one of his best power showings. He hit 30 home runs, just five shy of his lifetime best. He's still only 31, so he could still be around for a long time.

Freddie Freeman is consistently one of the best hitters in the National League. In 2018, he finished fourth in the MVP vote in a season in which he recorded 23 home runs, 10 stolen bases, and an .892 OPS. The last time he had an OPS under .800 was 2012.

Matt Carpenter combined some vegetables from Adam Wainwright's garden into his salsa before a series against the Cubs in 2018. He ended up hitting 12 straight extra-base hits, which has led to some of his Cardinals teammates swearing by the stuff.

Nelson Cruz didn't become a regular until 2009 for the Rangers. However, since his 28th birthday, he's lit the league on fire. He's had five straight seasons with more than 30 home runs. The 38-year-old is still hitting well over an .800 OPS in the beginning stages of 2019.

In the beginning half of the 2010s, almost nobody was hitting the ball better than Cutch. He claimed the MVP in 2013 with the Pirates while hitting .317 with 21 home runs and 27 stolen bases. His numbers have dropped off since then, but he's still coming off .a .792 OPS season.

Josh Donaldson broke out in his age 29 season with the Blue Jays. He's coming off an injury-plagued 2018 season where he hit a .801 OPS. From 2015 to 2017 his lowest OPS was .939. Will he be able to regain his MVP form?

Alex Gordon does a little bit of everything. He's a six-time Gold Glove winner in the outfield with a lifetime .758 OPS. He was also voted an All-star in three straight seasons from 2013 to 2015. He also helped American win a World University championship in 2004.

Cueto has played all but half a year in the National League. He's put up some impressive numbers in his career including a league-leading 242 home runs in 2014, a year in which he won 20 games. Through 11 seasons, he has a lifetime 3.33 ERA.

It only took two seasons before Machado won his first Gold Glove in 2013. He's gone on to become a four time All-Star with a career .817 OPS. He had one of his best seasons to date in 2018 with a .905 OPS and 37 home runs.

Kluber didn't become a regular in the Indians rotation until 2013, but it didn't take him long to win his first Cy Young award in 2014. He has a lifetime 3.16 ERA in his nine-year career and is coming off a 20-win season.

Gardner has been with the Yankees since their last World Series in 2009. He's known for his speed more than his bat, and he's had more than 20 stolen bases in seven seasons. He's starting to slow down with age, but has still kept a starting job with the Yankees.

Altuve has hit over .300 in five straight seasons. In three of those seasons, he hit higher than .330. He's always a threat to steal when the opposing pitcher stops keeping an eye on him. He set a career high 56 stolen bases in 2014.

Buster Posey has checked off almost every box he's been eligible for. In 2010, he won the Rookie of Year award and two years later he won the NL MVP. In 2016, he added Gold Glove to the list.

Mad Max has taken home three Cy Young awards, including at least one in each league. In 2018, he threw exactly 300 strikeouts for the first time in his career. The last time a pitcher not named Max Scherzer led the NL in strikeouts was 2015.

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Image: Wiki Commons by Keith Allison

About This Quiz

Can you still remember who the biggest stars in baseball were in 2010? During that season, Josh Hamilton was hitting closer to .400 than .300, Miguel Cabrera hadn't yet hit the triple crown, and Robinson Cano was still a Yankee. 

In the National League, Albert Pujols and Joey Votto were running away with the MVP race while the late Roy Halladay solidified another CY Young season with a 21-win campaign. 

Baseball has a high turnover rate. For each player who lasts 20 years in the big leagues, there are 10 more who only play for a handful of seasons before fading away. 

2010 may not feel like it was that long ago, but how many players are still around nine years later? Of the 27 guys who received an MVP vote in the National League that year, only 11 are still active in the Major Leagues. With the exception of Joey Votto and Buster Posey, none of the guys are among the elite anymore. 

Do you think the stars of the past decade are fresh enough in your head to score 40/40 on this quiz? If you think your memory is as sharp as Clayton Kershaw's Eephus pitch, click begin and let's get started!

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