Sunday, May 23, 2010

Major League Baseball's 10 Most Indispensable Players in 2010

New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera follows through on a pitch to the Texas Rangers in New York
Part 10 of 10

No. 1 Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees

For all the big names and big salaries scattered across the New York Yankees roster, Mariano Rivera is the one player that it makes it all work.

Rivera is a true game changer who imposes a subtle sense of urgency in the opposite dugout. He essentially gives opponents one less inning to outscore the Bronx Bombers in the regular season— and often times two less innings in the post season.

The 40-year old right-hander has amassed 533 saves since stepping into the closer role in 1997. The man with the devastating cutter and pinpoint control has compiled a microscopic 2.24 ERA over his long career.

And, even as his age advances, Rivera continues to be "money in the bank." Since 2008, he has converted 90 out of 93 save opportunities.

So, when Joe Girardi makes the call to the 'pen to summon Rivera, confidence soars throughout his teammates and Yankees Nation that it is "game over." Without him, the entire game sets up differently.

The Honorable Mention Pack

11. Zack Greinke, Royals

12. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox

13. Derek Jeter, Yankees

14. Chase Utley, Phillies

15. Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers

16. Prince Fielder, Brewers

17. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres

18. Pablo Sandoval, Giants

19. Ryan Howard, Phillies

20. Brian McCann, Braves

21. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox

22. Ryan Braun, Brewers

23. Johan Santana, Mets

24. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

25. Aaron Hill, Blue Jays

26. Michael Young, Rangers

27. Andre Ethier, Dodgers

28. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners

29. Jason Heyward, Braves

30. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies

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