Comparing MLB’s best players at every position from the 2000s and 2010s

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Clayton Kershaw, MLB (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Comparing the best MLB players of the 2000s and 2010s: Starting pitcher

Starting pitcher: Johan Santana vs. Clayton Kershaw

I had a really hard time picking the best starting pitcher of the 2000s. Randy Johnson is the WAR leader for the decade at 51.3, amazing when we consider it was his age 36-45 seasons. Pedro Martinez also had a tremendous decade, as did Curt Schilling; Schilling only pitched until 2007, while Johnson and Martinez were both dominant in the early part of the decade but tailed off at the end of it.

Do we go with one of them, or what about Roy Halladay and Johan Santana, who were more consistent throughout the whole decade? I really agonized over this one, but in the end, I decided to go with Santana, who I felt was the most consistent pitcher throughout the decade; he was second in WAR behind Johnson. It’s hard to ignore how especially dominant Martinez was at the beginning of the decade, but the goal was to select the best pitcher over the course of all ten years.

The 2010s were much easier to decide. While Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer were both great, Clayton Kershaw has to be the guy. His 2.31 ERA for the decade blows away the competition, while he was the leader in complete games and shutouts. Though his postseason performances haven’t been quite up to par, we can’t ignore how much he dominated the decade, basically from start to finish.

So, we have two southpaws to choose from here. I think Kershaw is the relatively easy choice. I’ll admit, I’d take peak Martinez over peak Kershaw, but again, it’s about the whole body of work throughout the decade.

Advantage: Kershaw (2010s)