Nelson Cruz
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Top-5 power hitters of the 2010’s

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We have already discussed the five best defensive players and the five best base runners of the past decade. Now it’s time for us to jump into the top-five power hitters of the 2010’s.

5. 1B/3B/DH Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

Cabrera started off this decade about as well as anyone could have possibly imagined. He finished second in AL MVP Award balloting in 2010 and fifth in ’11 before taking home the hardware in 2012. He won another MVP Award in 2013 as he won the Triple Crown, becoming the first player to do that since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Due to age and injuries, Cabrera waned as the decade went on. Despite that, Cabrera still ranks among the best power hitters of the past 10 years. Since 2010, Cabrera mashed 268 home runs, the eighth-most in that span of time. He registered a .544 slugging percentage, the fifth-highest mark among players with at least 3,000 plate appearances between 2010-19. If Cabrera can stay healthy, he has a chance to reach 500 career home runs in 2020, adding another incredible achievement to a Hall of Fame resume.

4. Mike Trout, Angels

Trout makes another top-five list. Shocker. Trout, who does everything well, sent 285 baseballs over fences since 2010, tied with José Bautista for the fifth-highest total. He’s only five behind teammate and future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols, and Trout didn’t even play in 2010 and hardly played in ’11. Since 2010, Trout’s .581 slugging percentage is tops among players with 3,000 PA in that time span. His .276 isolated power (slugging percentage minus batting average) is second-best behind Giancarlo Stanton (.279).

3. OF Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins/Yankees

Oh, what could have been. Stanton missed considerable time throughout the last decade due to injury, playing in 1,162 of a possible 1,620 games. Nevertheless, Stanton still ripped 308 homers, the third-highest total of the past decade. Though he only once crossed the 40-homer threshold, he made that one time count, mashing 59 taters in 2017 with the Marlins. It’s by far the highest single-season total of the 2010’s, five ahead of the 54 Bautista hit in 2010. Stanton also ranked third with a .547 slugging percentage and first with a .279 ISO. Stanton recently turned 30 years old, so he still has some time to crush some more homers. The 500 home run club is within reach if he is able to stay somewhat healthy.

2. 3B/DH Edwin Encarnación, Blue Jays/Indians/Mariners/Yankees

Encarnación has hit 30 or more home runs in eight consecutive seasons dating back to 2012. In baseball history, only 35 other players have accomplished that feat. In the 2010-19 era, the only other players even close are Trout and Nelson Cruz at six consecutive seasons. By that measure alone, we could put Encarnación first on this list. He is also one of 12 players with two 40-homer seasons in the past decade. His .255 ISO is fifth-best as well. His 335 home runs, however, rank second only behind Cruz. That’s a lot of times he “walked the parrot.”

1. DH Nelson Cruz, Rangers/Orioles/Mariners/Twins

As mentioned, Cruz registered not one, not two, but four 40-homer seasons this past decade, easily the most of any player. He was actually one off from a fifth, finishing with 39 dingers in 2017. Despite spending time with so many teams, Cruz has consistently been baseball’s best power hitter. He just reached 400 career homers, 346 of which were hit since 2010, the most in that span of time. His .256 ISO since 2010 ranks fourth behind only Stanton, Trout, and David Ortiz. As we have seen a softening on DHs when it comes to the Hall of Fame, Cruz could merit consideration when his career is over.

Honorable mention: José Bautista, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Jay Bruce, Chris Davis, Bryce Harper.

Ex-Angels employee charged in overdose death of Tyler Skaggs

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A former Angels employee has been charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in connection with last year’s overdose death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, prosecutors in Texas announced Friday.

Eric Prescott Kay was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, and made his first appearance Friday in federal court, according to Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. Kay was communications director for the Angels.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1, 2019, before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. The first game was postponed before the teams played the final three games.

Skaggs died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his system, a coroner’s report said. Prosecutors accused Kay of providing the fentanyl to Skaggs and others, who were not named.

“Tyler Skaggs’s overdose – coming, as it did, in the midst of an ascendant baseball career – should be a wake-up call: No one is immune from this deadly drug, whether sold as a powder or hidden inside an innocuous-looking tablet,” Nealy Cox said.

If convicted, Kay faces up to 20 years in prison. Federal court records do not list an attorney representing him, and an attorney who previously spoke on his behalf did not immediately return a message seeking comment.