The 2010s decade has officially come to a close. The past 10 years of Ducks baseball has wrapped up and a new chapter has begun to be written in the history of the franchise. The first decade of Ducks baseball from 2000-09 saw attendance records be broken, the successful start of professional baseball on Long Island and six consecutive postseason berths. Although the franchise did win its first Atlantic League Championship in 2004, the remainder of the decade saw the club have the opportunity to win a title but come up short in their quest of doing so.
However, the same cannot be said for the most recent decade. The Ducks were certainly the class of the ALPB during the 2010s. Long Island won three Atlantic League Championships, including back-to-back trophies in 2012 and 2013 and another in 2019, arguably the greatest season in franchise history. It saw the team earn Liberty Division Championships in seven of the 10 seasons and reach the postseason in eight of them. Add that with more attendance milestones being reached and dozens of player contracts being purchased by Major League Baseball and foreign professional leagues, the 2010s decade is certainly one for the record books for the Ducks and their fans.
Therefore, now is as good a time as ever to highlight the best players to wear the Ducks uniform during the decade. Given the success of the era and all impactful names that came through Central Islip, picking out just a select few is no easy task. However, our blog staff at "Quack of the Bat" did their best to determine the select few who earned a rightful place on the 2010s Ducks All-Decade Team:
CATCHER: J.R. HOUSE
House posted one of the most prolific seasons by a catcher in ALPB history. The backstop hit .305 during the incredible 2011 season with 19 home runs, 81 RBIs, 73 runs, 128 hits, 22 doubles and a .365 on-base percentage over 113 games. He also did not make a single error defensively all year, as the former Major Leaguer helped the Ducks reach the Atlantic League Championship Series.
FIRST BASE: DAVID WASHINGTON
Few players in Ducks history have showcased the power that David Washington has. He helped the Ducks reach the Atlantic League Championship Series in 2018 then returned and won it all in 2019. The former big leaguer combined to hit 47 home runs, drive in 131 runs and score 122 over 217 games during the past two seasons. He also had a flair for the dramatic, highlighted by his game-winning blast in Game Three of the 2018 ALCS.
SECOND BASE: CODY PUCKETT
Puckett was a model of consistency for the Ducks over his first three seasons in a Ducks uniform. While playing both second and third base, he played over 120 games, hit over .270 and scored over 60 runs in each. He suffered a knee injury in 2017 that ended his season early before returning to play a full season in 2018, totaling five seasons in a Ducks uniform. In that time, he helped the Flock to four playoff berths and three Liberty Division Championships.
SHORTSTOP: DAN LYONS
The Ducks all-time leader in games played with 888, Lyons became a fixture at shortstop during the decade. In eight seasons with the Flock (2011-18), he totaled 40 homers, 353 RBIs, 423 runs and 755 hits. Not to mention, he earned three Atlantic League All-Star selections (2012, 2015, 2016), the Rawlings Gold Glove Defensive Player of the Year Award (2015), two Atlantic League Championships (2012, 2013) and Championship Series MVP honors (2012).
THIRD BASE: BRYANT NELSON
“Nelly” was a key contributor to the Ducks back-to-back ALPB Championships in 2012 and 2013. He played over 120 games, collected over 70 RBIs, totaled over 135 hits, scored 72 runs, and hit 30 doubles in each season. The former Red Sox player also earned an Atlantic League All-Star nod during the 2013 season and is one of the league’s all-time greats, spending 11 seasons in the circuit between 2006 and 2016 and playing more games than anyone else (1,013).
LEFT FIELD: LEW FORD
One of the most beloved players in franchise history, Ford has fashioned a 10-year Ducks career as a player and now coach, all but one of which have come in this decade. He is the Ducks all-time hitting leader with a .320 batting average. The six-year MLB veteran has totaled 921 hits, 75 home runs, 448 RBIs and 483 runs over 751 games with the Flock. He’s been a part of three Atlantic League Championship teams, seven Liberty Division Championship squads, was the 2014 Atlantic League Player of the Year and is a three-time Atlantic League All-Star.
CENTER FIELD: KRAIG BINICK
Binick burst onto the scene in 2011 when he won the Atlantic League batting title, hitting .343 with the Ducks. He also led the league in on-base percentage (.429), stolen base percentage (.894) and stolen bases (42) that year. The Hicksville native ended up spending three seasons with the Ducks (2011-13), reaching the Atlantic League Championship Series in each and winning two titles along the way. Binick also hit .352 in 26 playoff games.
RIGHT FIELD: ADAM BAILEY
Bailey demonstrated great power during his two seasons with the Ducks and secured the final out of the team’s 2013 Atlantic League Championship. In 2013 and 2014, he combined to total 35 home runs, 146 RBIs, 119 runs, 277 hits and 47 doubles in 261 games. Bailey also earned a 2014 Atlantic League All-Star Game selection.
DESIGNATED HITTER: RAY NAVARRETE
The legendary #16 played the back half of his eight-year Ducks career during the decade and helped lead the Flock to two Atlantic League Championships. He also earned ALPB All-Star selections in 2010 and 2012. Navarrete set the Atlantic League record for doubles in a single-season with 50 in 2012, and one year later, hit a legendary three-run homer in Game Five of the Atlantic League Championship Series, his final game in a Ducks uniform. He closed his Ducks career as the franchise leader in hits (963), homers (137), RBIs (548), runs (599), doubles (245) and games played (863) before Dan Lyons broke the latter.
STARTING PITCHER: JOHN BROWNELL
We follow up one franchise legend with another in the great #7, John Brownell. Arguably the greatest starting pitcher in team history, he spent seven seasons with the Flock from 2012-18. In that time, he became the franchise record holder in wins (65), strikeouts (755), innings pitched (1,005) and starts (154). He also set Ducks single-season records for starts (29, 2014), complete games (7, 2013), innings pitched (202.0, 2014) and strikeouts (147, 2016). The righty earned two Atlantic League Championships as well as Championship Series MVP honors in 2013. He was also named the league’s Pitcher of the Year in 2015 and an All-Star selection in 2017.
CLOSER: LEO ROSALES
Thanks in part to Rosales’ work on the mound, the Ducks were able to capture consecutive championships in 2012 and 2013. Acquired in a 2012 trade with Camden for outfielder Reid Gorecki, he spent three seasons overall with the Flock, appearing in 54 games and posting 28 saves, a 1.98 ERA, 59 strikeouts and just 24 walks over 54.2 innings. The former big leaguer recorded the save to wrap up the 2013 Atlantic League Championship and earned an Atlantic League All-Star selection 2013 as well.
MANAGER: KEVIN BAEZ
Much of the Ducks success during the decade can be contributed to the work done by Kevin Baez as manager. From 2011-18, he guided the Flock to seven playoff appearances, six Liberty Division Championships (including two stretches of three in a row) and two Atlantic League Championships. The former Ducks infielder also managed in three Atlantic League All-Star Games during the decade (2012, 2013, 2018).
Bobby Blevins – Spent parts of five seasons with the Ducks (2012-16) and earned two Atlantic League Championships in the process. Went 15-11 with a 3.23 ERA and 212 strikeouts over 50 games (47 starts) during his first four seasons with the Flock. Turned in three quality starts during the playoffs with Long Island, including both decisive Game Five matchups in 2012.
Delta Cleary Jr. – Played three seasons with the Ducks (2015-17) and hit .297 with 139 RBIs, 172 runs, 395 hits, 52 doubles, eight triples and 91 stolen bases. Reached the playoffs each season and the Atlantic League Championship Series twice.
Amalio Diaz – Appeared in parts of four seasons with the Flock (2015-17, 2019) and was a major piece of the bullpen during each of the first three years. Recorded 34 saves and 204 strikeouts to just 44 walks over 167 innings in a Ducks uniform, compiling a 2.53 ERA. 2017 Atlantic League All-Star.
Mike Loree – Turned in arguably the best single season by a pitcher in franchise history during the 2011 season when he won the pitching Triple Crown. Led the Atlantic League with 14 wins, a 1.98 ERA and 131 strikeouts to win the league’s Pitcher of the Year honors. Had his contract purchased during the season by the Pirates, came back to pitch in the playoffs, then returned in 2012 before heading having his contract purchased again by the Chinese Professional Baseball League.
L.J. Mazzilli – Instrumental in the team’s 2019 Atlantic League Championship, leading the team in hits, RBIs, runs, total bases and doubles while ranking eighth in the Atlantic League in batting (.293) and 10th in RBIs (74). Also batted .400 with 12 hits in eight playoff games. 2019 Atlantic League All-Star.
Deibinson Romero – Earned 2019 Atlantic League Championship Series MVP honors after hitting .444 with two homers and nine RBIs during the series against Sugar Land. Batted .357 with three homers and 11 RBIs in the playoffs after joining the Ducks midseason and hitting .268 with 11 homers and 46 RBIs. 2019 Atlantic League All-Star.
Jordany Valdespin – Earned Atlantic League Player of the Year and Baseball America Independent Leagues Player of the Year honors in 2018 after leading the league in hits (154), runs (94) and triples (7).