MLB: Unveiling the All-Underrated team of the decade

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 12: Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees looks on against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning in game one of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 12, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 12: Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees looks on against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning in game one of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 12, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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AL MVP, 2019 MLB season
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

2010s MLB All-Underrated Team

First Base: Carlos Santana

Stats for the decade: .250/.367/.450, 232 HRs, 20.9 WAR

The first base position in the 2010s saw some of the game’s best sluggers dominate the position. From the future Hall of Famers like Joey Votto, Albert Pujols, and Miguel Cabrera, to current superstars like Freddie Freeman, Anthony Rizzo, and José Abreu, there was no shortage of offensive and defensive greatness throughout the decade.

Thus, the first base position is full of household names, and Carlos Santana was not one of them. The 33-year-old has spent almost his entire career with the Cleveland Indians, where he has been one of their most consistent run producers in the last 10 years. However, with the presence of the likes of Francisco Lindor, José Ramirez, and Corey Kluber, he has remained outside the spotlight and thus has never quite gained the recognition he deserves.

Santana has been great, and even more valuable to his team than the glamor stats reveal. Santana has always been a slugger, smacking 232 home runs and driving in 766 runs in the 2010s. However, his ability to get on base is perhaps the most underrated aspect of his game. His .367 OBP ranks him 7th among active first basemen, and his 15.4% BB% is second only to Joey Votto.

Santana’s defense has been widely underrated as well. Perhaps this is because he started the decade as a catcher, where he was not particularly good defensively. However, after he made the transition to first, his defense has improved. He finished the decade with a 5.6 UZR, which indicates he was well above average.

Despite his productive play on both sides of the field, Santana has been sorely underrated. He finally made his first all-star team in 2019, where he also came away with his first silver slugger award after a career year.

Santana has quietly put together a very respectable, productive career in Cleveland. Minus the off-year he spent in Philadelphia, his play makes him the best choice for the 2010s All-Underrated team at first base.