TEN YEARS OF MLB SERVICE IS THE HOLY GRAIL FOR PLAYERS. THROUGHOUT BASEBALL HISTORY, FEWER THAN 10 PERCENT OF PLAYERS HAVE POSSESSED THE COMBINATION OF TALENT, HEALTH, RESILIENCE, PERSEVERANCE AND GOOD FORTUNE TO ACHIEVE THE FEAT.
THIS YEAR, THE MLBPA WILL BE RECOGNIZING THE NEWEST MEMBERS OF THE FRATERNITY, STARTING WITH THE PLAYERS WHO PASSED 10 YEARS OF SERVICE TIME IN APRIL & MAY.
Gerrit Cole has made five All-Star teams as a starting pitcher over 11 major league seasons with the Pirates, Astros and Yankees. He has finished among the top five in Cy Young Award balloting five times. A Southern California native, Cole starred in college at UCLA and signed with Pittsburgh as the top overall pick in the 2011 draft. Cole recently became the 87th pitcher in MLB history and the ninth active pitcher to log 2,000 career strikeouts. Only Chris Sale and Pedro Martinez needed fewer innings to reach the milestone.
Marcell Ozuna is a .267 hitter with 207 home runs over 11 seasons as an outfielder with the Marlins, Cardinals and Braves. Ozuna turned pro out of his native Dominican Republic at age 17 and made his major league debut with Miami in 2013. He is a two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner and won a Gold Glove with the Marlins in 2017. Ozuna led the National League with 18 homers, 56 RBIs and 145 total bases during the Covid-shortened 2020 season and finished sixth in NL MVP balloting.
Anthony Rendon, born and raised in Houston, was an All-American at Rice University before signing with Washington as the sixth overall pick in the 2011 draft. He is a .285 career hitter with two Silver Slugger Awards and four top 10 Most Valuable Player finishes over parts of 11 seasons with the Nationals and Angels. In 2019, Rendon led the NL with 44 doubles and 126 RBIs and finished third in NL MVP voting. He hit .328 with three home runs in the postseason to help lead the Nationals to a World Championship.
Alex Wood, a North Carolina native and University of Georgia Bulldog, signed with the Braves as a second-round draft pick in 2012. He broke into the big leagues with Atlanta a year later and has since pitched for the Dodgers, Reds and Giants. Wood’s best season came in 2017, when he went 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA for the Dodgers, made the National League All-Star team and finished ninth in Cy Young Award balloting. He notched his 1,000th career strikeout against his former team, the Braves, on June 23, 2022.
Nolan Arenado, a Southern California native, ranks among the most decorated and accomplished third basemen in baseball history at age 32. He is a seven-time All-Star with five Silver Slugger Awards and six top 10 MVP finishes for the Rockies and Cardinals. Arenado’s 10 career Gold Gloves tie him with Mike Schmidt for second most at his position behind Brooks Robinson’s 16. He is one of only eight players with 300 home runs and 10 or more Gold Gloves.
Avisail Garcia, a Venezuela native, broke into the big leagues with the Tigers in 2012 and made a World Series appearance at age 21. He has since played for the White Sox, Rays, Brewers and Marlins. Garcia hit .330 with an .885 OPS for Chicago in 2017 and made the American League’s All-Star outfield. His best power production came in 2021, when he hit 29 homers and drove in 86 runs for Milwaukee.
Starling Marte is a two-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winning outfielder over parts of 12 seasons with the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Marlins, Athletics and Mets. In 2012, Marte became the first graduate of Pittsburgh’s Latin American complex in the Dominican Republic to reach the majors. He is one of 31 players in MLB history to hit a home run on the first pitch of his first career at-bat. Marte ranks second to Elvis Andrus among active big leaguers with 322 stolen bases.
Will Smith, a product of Newnan, Ga., and Gulf Coast State College, signed with the Angels as a seventh-round draft pick in 2008. He has logged 523 career appearances -- all but 17 in relief -- with the Royals, Brewers, Giants, Braves, Astros and Rangers. Smith recorded 34 saves with San Francisco and made the NL All-Star team in 2019. Two years later, he notched a career-high 37 saves for Atlanta. He has a stellar 1.47 ERA in 20 career postseason appearances.