- AJ Mass, Rumor Central
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The baseball playoffs are underway, as the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies seek to return to the World Series to settle the score once again in 2010, and six other teams hope to stick the proverbial monkey wrench into those plans. Before we here at ESPN.com open up our own celebratory bottles of champagne and clean out our lockers for the winter, we thought we'd take one last look back at the 2010 season and award our All-Pro honors to those deserving individuals who had the most fantasy impact in the regular season.
We're not talking about "value" picks mind you, although some of the players who made our list could have been had for a song way back on draft day. We're simply recognizing those players who put up the cumulative stats to merit their inclusion on the following list of the "best of the best" of 2010 as determined by our ESPN Player Rater.
So behold! The paragon of fantasy lineups from this just-completed season shapes up as follows:
Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins (average draft position: 12.8): While the backstop didn't quite live up to last season's stellar numbers, Mauer nevertheless returns to this list for the second straight season, with a fair replication of his 2008 numbers when he finished fourth in the AL MVP voting.
Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals (ADP: 1.1): Another returnee to the All-Pro team, Pujols got two-thirds of the National League's Triple Crown with 42 home runs and 118 RBIs. He finished first in the NL in runs scored for the fifth time since 2003.
Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays (ADP: ND): Bautista had 59 career home runs entering the 2010 season. He nearly doubled that this season with a league-best 54 blasts. Add to that a career-high .260 batting average and an AL-best 351 total bases, and this multi-positional breakout star is the obvious choice here.
Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds (ADP: 41.1): Votto had a major-league best .424 on-base percentage and provided power, leading the NL with a .600 slugging percentage. The 26-year-old, who also made his first All-Star team in 2010, should be a mainstay in the summer classic for years to come.
Robinson Cano, New York Yankees (ADP: 31.2): No Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez on this year's team. It was Cano who carried the pinstripes to the postseason with a .319 batting average, good for fifth in his league, and 73 extra-base hits, which placed the second baseman in the AL's top 10 in that category for the second straight season.
Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins (ADP: 2.4): Ramirez makes his second straight All-Pro team (see the 2009 All-Pro team), despite a down year by his standards. His Power-Speed number, a measure of home runs and stolen bases, was 25.4, good enough for fourth-best in the NL. For a shortstop, that blows the competition away.
Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies (ADP: 21.6): Bolstered by an insane final month of the season in which he hit 15 home runs and drove in 40, Tulo posted the fourth-best overall OPS in the NL (.949), hitting a career-best .315 average in the process.
Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies (ADP: 131.1): "CarGo" became a household name in 2010 thanks to his NL-best .336 batting average and major league-leading 351 total bases. Throw in his 26 stolen bases, and you'd be hard pressed to find any player who had a better season.
Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay Rays (ADP: 11.0): Crawford returns to the All-Pro team for the second straight season, thanks to his speed -- 47 steals and an AL-best 13 triples -- and his overall run production. Crawford scored 110 times and drove in 90 runs of his own, living up to the first-round hype.
Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers (ADP: 80.1): What's truly frightening about Hamilton's .359 batting average, .633 slugging percentage and 1.044 OPS -- all best in baseball in 2010 -- is that he missed nearly the entire last month of the season with bruised ribs. If not for that, he could have been more valuable, if that's even possible.
Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers (ADP: 4.9): While his 25 home runs and 103 RBIs may have seemed disappointing for those who took Braun in the first round, the truth is he earned his second straight All-Pro nod, thanks to a career-high in doubles (45) and the second-most base hits (188) in the National League.
Juan Pierre, Chicago White Sox (ADP: 139.7): Hey, stolen bases count as much as any other category, and when the White Sox were eliminated from playoff contention, Pierre made it a personal mission to set a career high with 68 thefts, 13 of them coming from Sept. 14 on. He scored 96 times, only five fewer runs than his previous two seasons combined.
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers (ADP: 11.5): The major league's best RBI man with 126, Cabrera was second in the AL with a .328 average and tied for second in runs scored with Jeter (trailing Mark Teixieria) in 2010. Plus, he walked 89 times, helping pad his AL-best .420 OBP.
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies (ADP: 11.7): Halladay is the most complete pitcher in the game today. He had nine complete games, four shutouts, more innings pitched than anyone else in the majors (250 2/3) and most importantly 21 victories this season.
Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals (ADP: 42.4): After tying for the major-league lead in wins last season with 19, Wainwright upped the ante with a 20-win campaign in 2010. His 8.3 strikeouts-per-nine-innings rate was the highest of his career as a starter, and his 1.05 WHIP was third-best in the NL.
Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners (ADP: 19.7): King Felix earns his second straight All-Pro honors, despite a 13-12 record. The Mariners scored just 14 runs in his 12 losses, but thanks to a 2.27 ERA -- the best in all of baseball -- he's a legitimate candidate for the AL Cy Young award.
Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado Rockies (ADP: 93.1): Jimenez started the year 13-1 in his first 14 starts, with the lone loss a 2-0 shutout. Even though he returned to earth a bit as the season wore on, he finished 2010 with a .704 winning percentage, best in the National League.
Roy Oswalt, Philadelphia Phillies (ADP: 167.3): Oswalt was stuck in a rut with the Houston Astros, sitting with a 6-12 record when he was traded to Philadelphia. From there, he was masterful, going 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 12 starts, and overall, his 1.03 WHIP led the NL.
Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels (ADP: 142.4): No pitcher struck out more batters in 2010 than Weaver, who fanned 233 on the year at a 9.3 K/9 rate. He finished in the top five in the AL in ERA (3.01) and WHIP (1.07).
Rafael Soriano, Tampa Bay Rays (ADP: 161.8): Soriano had more saves (45) than any other pitcher in the American League and allowed only 12 earned runs over 62 1/3 innings en route to his first ever All-Star Game and the AL East crown.
Heath Bell, San Diego Padres (ADP: 107.7): With 10 saves in September, Bell almost single handedly pitched the Padres into the postseason. His 6-1 record and 1.93 ERA to go along with the 47 total saves earned him his second-straight Rolaids Relief Award.
AJ Mass names the 2010 fantasy baseball All-Pro team as determined by ESPN's Player Rater.