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Ashley Landis/Associated Press
Randy Arozarena has taken the baseball world by storm this postseason, and his offensive contributions helped lead the Tampa Bay Rays to their second World Series trip in franchise history.
Where does his performance at the plate this October rank among the standouts since 2000?
That’s the question we set out to answer, combing through the best and brightest of the last 20 years to find the greatest individual offensive performers.
Players are ranked based on their statistical production, with further consideration given to whether his team reached the World Series and won a title.
Each player only appears once, so while guys like Carlos Beltran, David Ortiz and Albert Pujols had multiple impressive postseason runs, they will only occupy one spot on the list.
We’ll start with some honorable mentions.
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Nelson CruzCharlie Riedel/Associated Press
These players put together remarkable postseason runs and received serious consideration but ultimately fell short of a spot inside the top 10 on our list:
- 2000: Derek Jeter, NYY
- 2000: Mike Piazza, NYM
- 2002: Rich Aurilia, SF
- 2002: Scott Spiezio, ANA
- 2003: Ivan Rodriguez, FLA
- 2004: Albert Pujols, STL
- 2004: Larry Walker, STL
- 2007: Manny Ramirez, BOS
- 2007: David Ortiz, BOS
- 2008: B.J. Upton, TB
- 2009: Chase Utley, PHI
- 2009: Jayson Werth, PHI
- 2010: Nelson Cruz, TEX
- 2010: Cody Ross, SF
- 2011: Nelson Cruz, TEX
- 2012: Marco Scutaro, SF
- 2013: David Ortiz, BOS
- 2017: Jose Altuve, HOU
- 2018: Steve Pearce, BOS
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David J. Phillip/Associated Press
Postseason Stats: 14 G, 64 PA, .328/.391/.724, 9 XBH (7 HR), 11 RBI, 13 R
Daniel Murphy hit .281/.322/.449 with 38 doubles, 14 home runs and 73 RBI for the New York Mets during the regular season in 2015.
While those were solid numbers, his production was largely overshadowed by deadline pickup Yoenis Cespedes and sluggers Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda, but that all changed when the postseason began.
The 30-year-old hit a home run in his first career postseason game, taking Clayton Kershaw deep in Game 1 of the NLDS, and that was only the beginning. He finished 7-for-21 with three home runs in a five-game NLDS and then exploded against the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS.
Murphy homered in every game of a four-game sweep of the Cubs, hitting .529/.556/1.294 with four home runs, six RBI and six runs scored to win NLCS MVP honors.
His bat went quiet in the World Series against the Kansas City Royals when he went 3-for-20 without an extra-base hit, but his otherworldly NLCS performance was enough to land him in the No. 10 spot.
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Ashley Landis/Associated Press
Postseason Stats: 14 G, 60 PA, .382/.433/.855, 11 XBH (7 HR), 10 RBI, 14 R
Randy Arozarena began the postseason with a small enough sample size of MLB action that he will actually still be eligible for AL Rookie of the Year honors in 2021.
He didn’t play his first game of the season until Aug. 30 after an early positive COVID-19 test and quietly went off in September with seven home runs in 69 plate appearances to solidify his place in the starting lineup.
Even with that strong final month, no one saw this coming.
The 25-year-old has put a streaky Tampa Bay offense on his back, banging out 11 extra-base hits and scoring 14 runs in 14 games to help the Rays reach the World Series.
“I don’t have any words that can describe what he’s done, what he’s meant to us this postseason,” Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters. “For him to have a bat in his hands with an opportunity for a big home run, I think it settled a lot of people in the dugout. It certainly did me.”
Until he gets rolling in the World Series, it’s hard to move him any higher on this list, but he has laid the foundation for an all-time great postseason performance and could steadily climb this list with each swing he takes in this year’s Fall Classic.
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TOM UHLMAN/Associated Press
Postseason Stats: 12 G, 56 PA, .435/.536/1.022, 11 XBH (8 HR), 14 RBI, 21 R
The Houston Astros acquired Carlos Beltran from the Kansas City Royals in a three-team, five-player deal on June 24, 2004, and he went on to post a .926 OPS with 23 home runs and 28 steals in 90 games following the trade.
The Astros were just 38-34 at the time of the trade, and went 54-36 the rest of the way to snag a wild-card berth on the strength of Beltran’s contributions.
He continued swinging a hot bat in the NLDS, going 10-for-22 with four home runs and nine RBI in a five-game series with the Atlanta Braves.
He followed that up with a 10-for-24 showing that included four more home runs in a seven-game NLCS showdown with the St. Louis Cardinals, but the Astros lost a hard-fought series and Beltran didn’t have a chance to further build his postseason body of work.
There’s a good chance he would have wound up No. 1 on this list with another week’s worth of games the way he was swinging it, but it’s hard to rank him above guys whose contributions included the World Series.
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Eric Gay/Associated Press
Postseason Stats: 15 G, 68 PA, .365/.500/.808, 11 XBH (6 HR), 18 RBI, 15 R
In his first four trips to the postseason in a New York Yankees uniform, Alex Rodriguez hit .245 with four home runs in 113 plate appearances.
The Yankees failed to reach the World Series in each of those four playoff runs.
That monkey was finally removed from his back during the 2009 postseason when he hit over .400 in the ALDS and ALCS before posting a .973 OPS with three doubles, one home run and six RBI in six games against the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.
“I think he’s exorcised a lot of demons,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters after the Yankees finished off the Phillies.
He struggled once again in subsequent playoff runs, but it was more easily forgiven after he led the team to a title during the 2009 season.
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David J. Phillip/Associated Press
Postseason Stats: 16 G, 70 PA, .364/.386/.712, 11 XBH (6 HR), 13 RBI, 9 R
Terrific starting pitching and a deep bullpen were the foundation of the San Francisco Giants roster during their three World Series titles in five years.
However, those playoff runs were not without their memorable offensive performances, and Pablo Sandoval made his mark in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series when he slugged three home runs.
He took Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander deep twice and then homered again off reliever Al Alburquerque in his third plate appearances before capping things off with a single off Jose Valverde in his fourth and final at-bat.
That set the tone for a sweep of a heavily favored Tigers team, with Sandoval going 8-for-16 in the four games to win World Series MVP honors.
In 16 total games that postseason, Sandoval had seven multi-hit games and 14 games with at least one hit, teaming with No. 2 hitter Marco Scutaro to shoulder the offensive load.
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TED S. WARREN/Associated Press
Postseason Stats: 16 G, 69 PA, .344/.420/.770, 11 XBH (7 HR), 13 RBI, 15 R
At his peak, Troy Glaus was one of the most feared sluggers in baseball.
During the three-year span from 2000 to 2002, he posted a 132 OPS+ while averaging 33 doubles, 39 home runs and 107 RBI, earning a pair of All-Star selections and winning two Silver Slugger Awards in the process.
His contributions in 2002 helped lead the Angels to a 99-win season and and a wild-card berth, kicking off an unlikely postseason run that ended in a World Series title.
He hit .314/.385/.714 with four home runs against the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins in the ALDS and ALCS, respectively, and then took things up a notch in the World Series.
His two home runs in Game 1 of the World Series set the tone, and then he went deep again in Game 4, finishing the Fall Classic with a .385/.467/.846 line that also included three doubles and eight RBI in seven games to take home MVP honors.
Few players in baseball could go toe-to-toe with Barry Bonds at his peak in the early 2000s, but Glaus did just that to lead the Angels past Bonds and the San Francisco Giants in 2002.
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Eric Gay/Associated Press
Postseason Stats: 18 G, 82 PA, .353/.463/.691, 13 XBH (5 HR), 16 RBI, 15 R
Albert Pujols has a stellar postseason track record with a .323/.431/.599 line in 334 career plate appearances, tallying 18 doubles, 19 home runs and 54 RBI in 77 games.
He hit four home runs during the 2004 NLCS to lead the St. Louis Cardinals past the Houston Astros and win MVP honors, and he was also instrumental in the team’s 2006 World Series title.
However, it’s his 2011 postseason run that gets the nod for his spot in these rankings.
After a relatively quiet NLDS, Pujols had a huge series against the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLCS, going 11-for-23 with four doubles, two home runs and nine RBI in six games to lead the Cardinals to the World Series.
He ultimately took a backseat to David Freese in the Fall Classic—more on him in a bit—but not before he penciled his name into the record books with a three-homer performance in Game 3 against the Texas Rangers.
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KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/Associated Press
Postseason Stats: 17 G, 74 PA, .356/.581/.978, 11 XBH (8 HR), 16 RBI, 18 R
Barry Bonds made the postseason just four times in his 15 seasons with the San Francisco Giants, failing to advance beyond the NLDS in three of those playoff runs.
The 2002 season was the lone exception.
On the heels of his 73-homer season in 2001, Bonds hit .370/.582/.799 with 49 home runs and 110 RBI, drawing a staggering 198 intentional walks in 612 plate appearances.
He walked 27 more times in 74 trips to the plate in October, and when teams did decide to pitch to him, he made them regret it time and again.
In 10 games in the NLDS and NLCS, he posted a .500 on-base percentage with four home runs and 10 RBI, and he kicked off his first and only trip to the World Series by homering in each of the first three games.
After he was issued three intentional walks in Game 4, he went 3-for-4 with two doubles in Game 5 and then homered again in Game 6 for his eighth long ball of the playoffs.
The Giants came up short in the end, losing a thrilling Game 7, but Bonds made his mark in his one and only deep postseason run during his time with the Giants.
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AMY SANCETTA/Associated Press
Postseason Stats: 14 G, 68 PA, .400/.515/.764, 9 XBH (5 HR), 19 RBI, 13 R
The Boston Red Sox authored the greatest comeback in MLB postseason history in 2004 when they came back from down 3-0 to the rival New York Yankees, winning four straight games to advance to the World Series where they swept the St. Louis Cardinals.
David Ortiz was at the center of that comeback.
He delivered the walk-off home run in the 12th inning in Game 4, and then he hit a solo home run to spark a comeback in the eighth inning of Game 5 before walking it off again with an RBI single in the bottom of the 14th inning.
He finished the ALCS at 12-for-31 with three home runs and 11 RBI in seven games to win MVP honors and capped off his memorable postseason with one home run and four RBI in four games in the World Series.
There were multiple postseason performances to choose from for Big Papi, who hit .289/.404/.543 with 22 doubles, 17 home runs and 61 RBI in 85 playoff games in his career.
Nothing tops his 2004 performance, though.
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Eric Gay/Associated Press
Postseason Stats: 18 G, 71 PA, .397/.465/.794, 14 XBH (5 HR), 21 RBI, 12 R
At 28 years old, David Freese topped 300 plate appearances at the MLB level for the first time in his career, staking claim to the starting third base job for the team’s playoff run.
On a stacked roster that included Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday, Allen Craig and Yadier Molina, Freese spent the postseason hitting sixth in the batting order.
After going 5-for-18 with two doubles, one home run and five RBI in the NLDS, he won NLCS (12-for-22, 3 HR, 9 RBI) and World Series MVP (8-for-23, 5 XBH, 7 RBI), delivering some of the most memorable moments in recent postseason memory along the way.
With the St. Louis Cardinals facing elimination with two outs in the bottom of the ninth of Game 6 of the World Series, he laced a two-run triple to send things to extra innings before delivering the walk-off home run in the 11th inning to extend the series.
After the Texas Rangers struck for two runs in the top of the first inning in Game 7, Freese evened the score in the bottom of the inning with a two-run double, and the Cardinals went on to win the game and the title.
With 21 RBI in 18 games, Freese holds the record for a single postseason, and he will forever be remembered for saving the Cardinals from the brink and helping deliver a title.
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.