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

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Alex Rodriguez, MLB (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) /

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

Third base: Alex Rodriguez vs. Adrian Beltre

As mentioned in the previous slide, we’re going to consider Alex Rodriguez as a third baseman because he spent more seasons there than he did at shortstop. And he’s got to be the choice for top third baseman of the 2000s; his 77.7 WAR for the decade blows away the rest of the competition. He’s the decade leader at the position in hits, runs, home runs, RBIs, and OPS.

That being said, it’s hard for me to leave Chipper Jones off this list. He, too, had a tremendous decade, posting a 50.6 WAR and a .960 OPS. We also can’t forget about Scott Rolen, whose WAR for the decade (48.3) rivals that of Jones.

The 2010s at third base is a little closer, but I think we have to go with Adrian Beltre. Beltre actually ranks fourth in WAR among third basemen during the 2000s (40.6), while he’s the leader of the 2010s at 49.0. Beltre greatly improved his OPS in his 30s, in the 2010s, over his OPS in his 20s, in the 2000s, from .783 to .872. And he was a tremendous defensive player, winning a total of five Gold Glove Awards, three of them in the 2010s.

Evan Longoria and Josh Donaldson are among the best of the rest, as is Nolan Arenado, who is fourth in WAR despite not starting until 2013. Had he played the whole decade, he’d at least be very close to Beltre.

Beltre was a tremendous player, an easy Hall of Fame choice and a guy that still doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. But there’s just no comparison to what Rodriguez did in the 2000s.

Advantage: Rodriguez (2000s)