Former D-backs Upton, Goldschmidt rank among MLB’s best of decade
Some of the game’s top talent, a few of whom could end up in Cooperstown one day, have donned the Diamondbacks’ Sedona-red jerseys over the past decade.
Most of the decade’s best only had a short stint in the desert, but the organization boasted a couple of homegrown players that were among the top talent in the league at their positions.
This was according to columnist Will Leitch, who broke down 2010-19 in Major League Baseball, and put forth various rankings for best games, players, postseason series, teams and more.
The D-backs are featured in a few of these lists, the highest being former No. 1 overall pick Justin Upton ranking as the best left fielder of the decade.
Upton made his major league debut in 2007 and remained with the D-backs in the first three years of the decade. He’s been well-traveled since then, spending time with the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels.
Upton slashed .265/.346/.474 in the decade with 255 home runs and 798 RBIs. He made three All-Star games, won the Silver Slugger award three times and finished fourth in the MVP race in 2011.
While he ranks as the best left fielder, Upton actually spent most of his Arizona days in right field, playing in front of the cheering section once known as “Uptown.”
It’s interesting to find Upton as the top selection, with other choices including Christian Yelich, J.D. Martinez and Ryan Braun.
However, Yelich and Martinez really blossomed in the latter half of the decade, while Leitch notes Braun was tainted by a failed PED test after the 2011 season and hasn’t been the same since.
Upton may not have had the most stat-gaudy seasons of the decade like Martinez and Yelich, but he’s been a consistently solid player at the plate for the longest amount of time.
The next highest D-backs player had a much larger impact in Arizona.
Paul Goldschmidt was ranked as the second-best first baseman, just behind Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds.
The former face of the franchise in the desert made his debut with Arizona in 2011 and manned first base for the D-backs until he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals during the 2018-19 offseason.
Goldschmidt holds a .292/.391/.524 line with 243 home runs and 807 RBIs. He made seven All-Star games, was top-five in MVP voting three times, won four Silver Slugger awards and earned three Gold Gloves.
The battle between Goldschmidt and Votto for the best first baseman in the league raged on for most of the decade, and both players started an All-Star Game at first base twice in the past 10 seasons.
Goldschmidt had more home runs, more RBIs, a higher slugging percentage and more stolen bases with one fewer year played in the decade than Votto.
The face of the Cincinnati Reds got on base much more often, leading all of the National League in OBP in seven of the 10 seasons, and had similar power numbers.
This was probably one of the more difficult positions to rank due to the overall talent of the position, as other names included Miguel Cabrera, Freddie Freeman, Anthony Rizzo, Albert Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez.
OTHER D-BACKS WHO MADE THE LISTS
The rest of the D-backs players on the lists spent only a portion of the decade in Arizona, with Zack Greinke (No. 7 starting pitcher) being the longest at three years.
Fernando Rodney (No. 6 relief pitcher), Greg Holland (No. 8 relief pitcher), Jean Segura (No. 6 shortstop), Martinez (No. 6 left fielder) and Adam Jones (No. 3 centerfielder) all spent a year or less with the club.
Former D-backs manager A.J. Hinch was also listed as the sixth-best manager of the decade, but it wasn’t due to his days in Arizona.
He opened the decade with the D-backs and was fired midway through the 2010 season, compiling a record of 89-123 in just over a season in Arizona.