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

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Robinson Cano, MLB (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Comparing the best MLB players of the 2000s and 2010s: Second base

Second base: Jeff Kent vs. Robinson Cano

Choosing the best second baseman of the 2000s is tricky, as there are no clear standouts. The WAR leader, Chase Utley at 42.2, didn’t start play until 2003. Placido Polanco comes in second, while Jeff Kent was third. Polanco was a nice player, and probably underrated, but he wasn’t the impact player that Utley or Kent was.

Comparing the two: Kent had five seasons of at least 100 RBIs, while Utley had four. Kent had seven 20-homer seasons; Utley had five. Kent had the higher batting average; Utley had the higher OPS. Utley was the better defender, and had they played the same amount of time, that would give him the clear edge. However, Utley played in nearly 400 fewer games than Kent did, and therefore, Kent gets a slight edge.

As for the 2010s, Robinson Cano is the WAR leader by a wide margin. He is the decade’s leader in hits, doubles, home runs, and RBIs and appears to be an easy choice. Ian Kinsler, Jose Altuve, and Dustin Pedroia make up the “best of the rest” at this position. Altuve came on strong in the second half of the decade and ended up leading the league in hits four times and batting average three times. However, Cano, from start to finish, was the strongest player.

Both Kent and Cano batted .300 for their respective decades, while Kent has the edge in OPS — again, in a more friendly hitting environment, particularly in the first half of the decade, when Kent did most of his damage. Cano still managed to collect more doubles, home runs, and RBIs in the 2010s than Kent did in the 2000s. We have to give the edge to Cano here.

Advantage: Cano (2010s)