The first full decade in Gwinnett Baseball history included numerous team and individual achievements, including two International League South Division titles, one Governors' Cup Championship Series appearance, 23 IL Midseason All-Stars, nine IL Postseason All-Stars, three IL Rookies of the Year, one IL Most Valuable Pitcher, two IL Batting Champions, one IL ERA Champion, and one IL Manager of the Year, just to name a few.
Over 400 players combined efforts to lead Gwinnett to a 700-723 record (.492) during the 2010's. With the calendar now turned to 2020, I took on the arduous task of naming a top player (or sometimes players) for each individual position covering the past 10 seasons. Please note, the players were selected based on stats from 2010-19 and do not include stats from Gwinnett's inaugural 2009 season.
Last week, I unveiled Part 1 of my Gwinnett 2010-19 All-Decade Team, focusing on catchers and infielders. The series continues this week with Part 2, focusing on outfielders, utility players, and designated hitters. Part 3, out next week, concludes with starting pitchers and relievers.
Adam Duvall (2019)
Decade Stats: .266, 20 2B, 4 3B, 32 HR, 74 R, 93 RBI, 1 SB, .966 OPS, 222 TB in 101 games
Stefan Gartrell (2011-13)
Decade Stats: .258, 63 2B, 1 3B, 54 HR, 166 R, 180 RBI, 16 SB, .801 OPS, 512 TB in 313 games
Jose Constanza (2011-14)
Decade Stats: .298, 29 2B, 13 3B, 2 HR, 205 R, 105 RBI, 88 SB, .694 OPS, 498 TB in 368 games
Two legendary home run hitters and an International League batting champion make up Gwinnett's best trio of outfielders.
Duvall re-wrote the franchise history book in 2019, setting Gwinnett single-season records in home runs (32), RBIs (93), slugging percentage (.602), and OPS (.966) on his way to the Stripers' Most Valuable Player award and International League Postseason All-Star honors. The 30-year-old batted .266 and ranked among IL leaders in slugging percentage (1st), homers (2nd), RBIs (2nd), OPS (2nd), extra-base hits (T-6th, 56), and total bases (9th, 222). The Stripers went 24-5 (.828) in 29 games with a Duvall homer, including 3-0 in his three multi-homer efforts. He matched the Gwinnett record for most consecutive games with a homer, a five-game streak from April 25-29.
Gartrell had a similar dominant season in 2011, hitting .262 with 32 doubles, 26 homers, a league-high 94 RBIs, and an .842 OPS in 123 games between Charlotte (7 games) and Gwinnett (116 games). His 26 clouts - 25 of which came with Gwinnett - were second-most in the International League, and he was named both an IL Midseason and Postseason All-Star as well as Gwinnett's Most Valuable Player. Gartrell turned in another 20-homer season in 2012, batting .251 with 55 RBIs and a .787 OPS in 122 games. He and Ernesto Mejia are the only Gwinnett players with multiple 20-homer campaigns.
Constanza owns the second-highest career average among Gwinnett hitters with at least 800 at-bats (.298) thanks to four seasons as the club's expert table-setter from 2011-14. He was an International League Midseason All-Star in 2011 and hit .312 in 86 total games, but it was his next season that etched him in Gwinnett history. In 2012, Constanza hit .314 in 88 games to capture the IL batting title, making him one of only two Gwinnett players to accomplish the feat (Barbaro Canizares also did it in 2010). He vaulted to the top of the league in hitting with a Gwinnett franchise record 22-game hitting streak from June 22 to July 19, batting a gaudy .396 in that span. Constanza played parts of two more seasons with Gwinnett, and after his final year in 2014, he ranked atop the club's career leaderboards in hits (437), runs (205), triples (13), stolen bases (88), games (368), and at-bats (1,465). Through 2019, he still leads in triples and steals.
Matt Young (2010-11)
Decade Stats: .288, 49 2B, 9 3B, 4 HR, 152 R, 59 RBI, 56 SB, 325 TB in 233 games
Young set a Gwinnett single-season record with 88 runs scored and led the International League with 39 stolen bases in 2010. He batted .300 with 33 doubles, five triples, three homers, 35 RBIs, and a .786 OPS in 134 games that season, and was named Gwinnett's "co-Fan Favorite Player" alongside Barbaro Canizares.
Ronald Acuña Jr. (2017-18)
Decade Stats: .305, 16 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 47 R, 36 RBI, 16 SB, .831 OPS, 145 TB in 77 games
Acuna became a legend in a short amount of time with Gwinnett. He made his Triple-A debut at age 19 in 2017 and was dominant against older competition, batting .344 with 14 doubles, two triples, nine homers, 38 runs scored, 33 RBIs, 11 stolen bases, and a .940 OPS in 54 games. Those eye-popping stats helped secure his selection as Baseball America 2017 Minor League Player of the Year. Acuna was sent back to Gwinnett to open 2018 and played 17 games before having his contract selected by Atlanta on April 25. He went on to win National League Rookie of the Year, hitting .293 with 26 homers, 64 RBIs, 16 steals, and a .917 OPS in 111 games with the Braves.
Travis Demeritte (2019)
Decade Stats: .286, 28 2B, 2 3B, 20 HR, 68 R, 73 RBI, 4 SB, .944 OPS, 189 TB in 96 games
Demeritte put together an offensive season that ranks among the best in Gwinnett history in 2019. The Winder-Barrow High School product hit .286 with 28 doubles, two triples, 20 homers, 68 runs, 73 RBIs, and a .944 OPS in 96 games. He was selected to the International League Midseason All-Star team and Triple-A Home Run Derby after hitting .301 (8th in IL) with 18 homers, 63 RBIs, and a 1.005 OPS in 80 first-half games. His breakout season included 10 homers in May (tying Gwinnett's single-month record for homers) and a 36-game on-base streak from April 24-June 4 that was second-longest in the IL. If not for a trade deadline deal to the Detroit Tigers on July 31, Demeritte may have challenged several Gwinnett single-season records.
Rafael Ortega (2019)
Decade Stats: .285, 34 2B, 3 3B, 21 HR, 83 R, 58 RBI, 14 SB, .898 OPS, 226 TB in 111 games
In a crowded outfield that included Duvall and Demeritte, Ortega still found a way to earn Gwinnett's Player of the Year award from the Atlanta Braves in 2019. Prior to having his contract selected on August 13, he batted .285 with 34 doubles, three triples, 21 homers, 83 runs scored, 58 RBIs, 14 stolen bases, and an .898 OPS in 111 games with the Stripers. At the time of his Major League call-up, he led the International League in runs, doubles, and extra-base hits (58), and ranked second in total bases (226). Ortega finished just short of several Gwinnett single-season records, including doubles (one shy of Freddie Freeman's 35 in 2010 and Ernesto Mejia's 35 in 2013), walks (three shy of Wes Timmons' 62 in 2009), runs (five shy of Matt Young's 88 in 2010), and total bases (38 shy of Mauro Gomez's 264 in 2011).
Utility:Video: Gwinnett's Gosselin crushes three-run homerPhil Gosselin (2013-14, 2018)Decade Stats: .295, 51 2B, 8 3B, 12 HR, 113 R, 82 RBI, 7 SB, .757 OPS, 358 TB in 235 games
Gosselin's .344 average in 2014 wasn't quite enough to win the International League batting title - he finished second to Syracuse's Steven Souza Jr.
(.350) - but it does stand as the highest single-season average in Gwinnett history. The Bryn Mawr, PA native ranked among IL leaders in hits (1st, 130), total bases (2nd, 184), doubles (T-2nd, 29), triples (T-3rd, 5), OPS (4th, .866), runs (T-4th, 58), extra-base hits (T-4th, 39), on-base percentage (5th, .379), and slugging percentage (7th, .487) as of July 26, 2014, the day he was recalled by Atlanta. Despite being in the Majors for the season's final month, Gosselin still had the numbers to earn him an IL Postseason All-Star award as the league's top "Utility" player. He was selected after receiving votes at second base, shortstop, third base, outfield, and designated hitter. Through 2019, Gosselin's .295 career average is third-highest among Gwinnett hitters with at least 800 at-bats.
Honorable Mention: Joey Terdoslavich (2012-15)Decade Stats: .264, 57 2B, 3 3B, 41 HR, 152 R, 163 RBI, 8 SB, .760 OPS, .494 TB in 316 games
Terdoslavich came to Gwinnett as a 23-year-old third baseman in 2012, moved to the outfield in 2013, and eventually landed at first base in 2014. His breakout offensive season came in 2013, when he batted .318 with 24 doubles, one triple, 18 homers, 48 runs scored, 58 RBIs, and a .926 OPS in 85 games to earn both International League Midseason and Postseason All-Star accolades, selection to the MLB All-Star Futures Game, and Gwinnett's Most Valuable Player award. All of his stats were compiled prior to Atlanta selecting his contract for the first time on July 4, and at the time he ranked among IL leaders in hits (1st, 102), extra-base hits (1st, 43), total bases (2nd, 182), slugging percentage (3rd, .567), RBIs (T-4th), homers (T-4th), batting (5th), OPS (5th), doubles (T-6th), and runs scored (T-6th). Terdoslavich had another productive season with Gwinnett in 2014, hitting .256 with 15 homers and 61 RBIs in 136 games.
Designated Hitter:Barbaro Canizares (2010)Decade Stats: .341, 28 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 58 R, 77 RBI, 2 SB, .907 OPS, 214 TB in 126 games
Canizares had already established himself as one of the International League's most dangerous hitters with a Midseason All-Star selection in 2008 and both Midseason and Postseason All-Star awards in 2009. Still, he returned to Gwinnett for a third full Triple-A season in 2010. The Havana, Cuba native proceeded to turn in his best year yet, winning the IL batting title and repeating as IL Midseason and Postseason All-Star. His .341 average was 22 points higher than the next closest hitter, and he tallied 28 doubles, one triple, 13 homer, 58 runs, 77 RBIs, and a .907 OPS in 126 games. Canizares' .341 mark is second-highest in Gwinnett single-season history behind Phil Gosselin's .344 average in 2014, and his 47 hits with runners in scoring position is still a Gwinnett single-season record.
Honorable Mention: Cedric Hunter (2015)Decade Stats: .283, 21 2B, 4 3B, 12 HR, 52 R, 77 RBI, 11 SB, .751 OPS, 199 TB in 138 games (42 at DH)
In a 2015 season that saw Gwinnett hit a franchise-low and International League-low 50 home runs, Hunter had a team-high 12 long-balls. The Decatur, GA native batted .283 with 21 doubles, four triples, 52 runs scored, 77 RBIs (6th in IL), 11 stolen bases, and a .751 OPS in 138 games, earning Gwinnett's Most Valuable Player award. Hunter posted the IL's longest hitting streak that year, a 21-game span from August 6-27 that fell one game short of matching the Gwinnett record (Jose Constanza, 22 games from June 22-July 19, 2012).