End of an Era: The Boston Red Sox 2010's All Decade Team

By Jacob Silverman
Aug. 31, 2019

Close your eyes. The year is 2010. Barack Obama is half way through his first term of President of the United States. Disney's Toy Story 3 and Megamind are two of the highest grossing films in the world, and for most of the year, the social media site Instagram did not exist.

But where are we in sports in 2010? In sports, the San Francisco Giants are World Series Champions for the first time in 56 years. The New Orleans Saints captured their first Lombardi Trophy, and the Los Angeles Lakers have recently bested the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.

As for the Red Sox, they are three years removed from their last World Series championship (2007), and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Their starting rotation still featured Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield, and Josh Beckett. But what has happened since?

The 2010's have treated the Red Sox well, despite being relatively up and down. After all, they won their 8th and 9th World Series championships in this decade, and have won the American League East division in three of the last four seasons.

Since 2010, 131 position players have appeared in a major league game, while wearing a Red Sox uniform. Today, however, we trim that list down to nine. This is, the Boston Red Sox 2010's All-Decade Team.

Catcher:

All Decade Catcher: Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Years Active: 2010-2013

"Salty" was the Red Sox mainstay catcher for the first four seasons of the decade, logging 355 games behind home plate for the club. A World Series Champion in 2013, Jarrod lead all Red Sox catchers this decade in WAR (5.0), home runs (55), runs batted in (181), and runs scored (177), among other categories. Within his own career, Saltalamacchia posted career highs in single seasons in home runs (25, 2012), batting average (.273, 2013), and RBI's (65, 2013). Now a part time announcer for the team's broadcasting network (NESN), Salty remains a fan favorite in Red Sox nation, and cemented his legacy in club history with a walk off hit in Game 2 of the 2013 ALCS. Salty had the second longest tenure among catchers in the decade, behind only Christian Vazquez, and lead in nearly every offensive category and/or sabermatic. Add in a World Series championship, and all of these things make Jarrod Saltalamacchia the 2010's all decade catcher.

Runner Up: Christian Vazquez (2014-2019)

Notables: 2018 World Series Champion, 429 G, 3.2 WAR, .256/.305/.384/.689, 360 H

First Baseman:

All Decade First Baseman: Mike Napoli

Years Active: 2013-2015

"Nap" may not have put up the biggest numbers in his time in Boston, but he forever cemented his legacy in Red Sox nation. With countless game-winning hits and three walkoffs in his Red Sox career, Mike Napoli made his presence known in his two and a half year span with the club. Also a 2013 World Series Champion, Mike played the most games at first base for the Red Sox, appearing in 356 games. Napoli finished second among all Red Sox first baseman in WAR this decade at 7.8, and also produced the second best batting average, OBP, OPS and SLG %, recording a .242/.350/.436/.785 slash line in those areas. Napoli also finished second in home runs with 53, and second in hits at 300. He walked more than other first baseman for the Red Sox in this decade, doing so 196 times (compared to his 419 strikeouts). So while "Nap" didn't lead the Red Sox in many categories at his position this decade, no one first baseman stood out in doing so, making Mike Napoli and his many memorable moments the Red Sox first baseman of the decade.

Runner Up: Adrian Gonzalez (2011-2012)

Notables: 1x All Star, 1x Gold Glove, 1x Silver Slugger, 9.9 WAR, .321/.382/.513/.895, 42 HR, 358 H, 105/200 BB/SO.

Second Baseman:

All Decade Second Baseman: Dustin Pedroia

Years Active: 2010-2019

This one isn't close: Dustin Pedroia is your all-decade second baseman. Pedroia is the only member of the Red Sox 2010 roster still with the club. While he's only appeared in 9 total games over the last two seasons, "Pedey" was an everyday second baseman in every year prior to that, dating back to 2007. Pedroia isn't just the best second baseman of this decade for the Sox, he's probably their best to ever play the position. His numbers tower over anyone else at the position in this decade. Since 2010 alone, Pedroia has amassed a 35.9 WAR, and is the Red Sox leader in every statistic amongst second baseman in that time span. Posting a .296/.363/.432/.795 slash line, 98 home runs, 1,225 hits, 513 RBI's, 91 stolen bases, 598 runs scored, and an impressive 446/508 BB/SO, Pedroia is one of just four players to win both the 2013 and 2018 World Series with the club. He is also one of just two players in the modern era to win three World Series titles (2007, 2013, and 2018), with the Red Sox, with David Ortiz being the other. With two All Star game appearances, two top 10 MVP finishes, and three Gold Gloves since 2010, Dustin Pedroia is the second baseman of the decade for the Boston Red Sox.

Runner Up: Brock Holt (2013-2019)

Notables: 2013 and 2018 World Series Champion, 1x All Star, 7.6 WAR, .270/.340/.374/.715. 23 HR, 203 RBI, 533 H, 615 G (243 at second base).

Shortstop:

All Decade Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts

Years Active: 2013-2019

When Xander Bogaerts burst onto the scene as a late season call up in 2013, he made his presence felt, playing his way onto the postseason and World Series roster. This one, like second base, isn't even close: Xander Bogaerts is the clear cut shortstop of the decade. Bogaerts appeared in nearly four times the amount of games of any other shortstop, with 914 games played. So understandably, he lead the Red Sox in every category, like Pedroia. "The X-Man" won a World Series championship in both 2013 and 2018 with the club, and put up some staggering numbers in the process. Recording a 19.9 WAR, a .288/.350/.451/.801 slash line, 107 home runs, 503 RBI's, 1,022 hits, 542 runs scored, 53 stolen bases, and 1599 total bases, Xander Bogaerts has cemented himself as one of the best shortstops in the entire league in the last decade, never mind the Red Sox alone. A two time All-Star, three time Silver Slugger, and member of the MLB's inaugural All-MLB team in 2019, Xander Bogaerts is your shortstop of the decade.

Runner Up: Marco Scutaro (2010-2011)

Notables: 263 G, 5.1 WAR, 292 H, .284/.343/.401/.744, 91 BB/107 SO.

Third Baseman:

All Decade Third Baseman: Rafael Devers

Years Active: 2017-2019

Rafael Devers has not been in the MLB for long---just two and a half seasons. But its been enough time for him to insert himself into an elite group of players at the hot corner, many would argue that "Rafy" is a top 5 third baseman. Finishing 12th in MVP voting this season, Devers had a major breakout year in 2019, a year that looked more like his rookie campaign than his prior 2018 season. Though he's only had success in 1.5 seasons, the third base position has been a revolving door throughout the decade, with over 30 players taking a turn playing the position. Devers' 335 games played is actually tops among third baseman in the decade, making him the longest tenured third baseman in Boston during that time. A 2018 World Series Champion, Devers leads in nearly every stat among Red Sox third baseman this decade, posting a .282/.335/.501/.837 slash line, 63 home runs, 372 hits, 211 RBI's, 222 runs scored, and 661 total bases (359 of those coming in his 2019 campaign, tops in the majors). Oddly enough, the only category he didn't lead in was WAR, where he finished third at 6.6. Devers, along with Bogaerts, fill out the left side of the Red Sox infield on the all decade team, and for future years to come.

Runner Up: Kevin Youkilis (2010-2012)

Notables: 1x All Star, 9.5 WAR, .272/.379/.487/.866, 264 G, 40 HR, 256 H, 170 R, 140/206 BB/SO.

Left Field:

All Decade Left Fielder: J.D. Martinez

Years Active: 2018-2019

When the Red Sox signed J.D. to a 5 year, 110 million dollar contract during Spring Training of 2018, some fans were skeptical, but nonetheless, the club brought him in to complete a tall task: fill the shoes left in the lineup by David Ortiz. While there will never be another Big Papi, JD has flourished in Boston, proving to be the last piece of the puzzle in winning a 9th World Series championship in 2018. In just two seasons, JD has compiled some impressive numbers in Boston: a 9.7 WAR, a .317/.392/.593/.985 slash line, 79 home runs, 363 hits, 235 RBI's, 209 runs scored, a BB/SO ratio of 141/284, all through just 296 games played. He's also, as mentioned, a 2018 World Series Champion, 2x All Star, 2x Silver Slugger, and has received MVP consideration in each of his seasons in Boston, finishing 21st in voting in 2019, and 4th in 2018. And while we may be bending the rules a little bit, considering he's been a DH for most of his time in Boston, his official position is listed as outfield, as opposed to David Ortiz's position being listed as DH, and the impact JD has made has been too large to ignore, making him the All-Decade Left Fielder.

Runner Up: Andrew Benintendi (2016-2019)

Notables: 2018 World Series Champion, RoY Runner Up, 8.7 WAR, 471 G, .277/.354/.442/.796, 51 HR, 498 H, 118 2B, 259 RBI's, 52 SB.

Center Field:

All Decade Center Fielder: Jacoby Ellsbury

Years Active: 2010-2013

Despite his forgettable tenure with the New York Yankees, let's not forget what Jacoby accomplished in Boston. A 2013 World Series Champion, Ellsbury produced some monster numbers with the Sox in this decade. While many may have gone with Jackie Bradley Jr. here, that decision would be based simply off of volume and not talent. Bradley's WAR this decade is just .1 higher than Ellsbury's, despite playing in 434 more games (which equates to over 2 and half more seasons). Ellsbury's numbers in his time in Boston are impressive: over 384 games, Ellsbury produced a 14.9 WAR, a .297/.351/.458/.809 slash line, 45 home runs, 481 hits, 189 RBI's, and a remarkable 112 stolen bases. A 162 game average for Ellsbury would look like this: .297 batting average, 19 home runs, 80 RBI's, 203 hits, and 48 stolen bases, Bradley's 162 game average does not compare to that, with a batting average over 60 points lower, nearly 80 less hits, 20 less RBI's, and nearly 40 less stolen bases. In addition to winning the 2013 World Series, Ellsbury is also a 1x All Star, 1x Silver Slugger, 1x Gold Glove, and received MVP consideration in two seasons, finishing in 15th in 2013 and as the runner up in 2011. Jacoby's explosive talent and better resume of accomplishments makes him the All Decade Center Fielder.

Runner Up: Jackie Bradley Jr. (2013-2019)

Notables: 2018 World Series Champion, ALCS MVP, 1x Gold Glove, 1x All Star, 818 G, 15 WAR, 91 HR, 638 H, 354 RBI, 55 SB, 403 R.

Right Field:

All Decade Right Fielder: Mookie Betts

Years Active: 2014-2019

When the Red Sox called Mookie Betts up in 2014, it was clear he was a generational talent. That has held true, in the 5 seasons since then, with Betts receiving MVP consideration in every one of those seasons, and top 10 consideration in the last 4. This one was another no contest. Mookie Betts was the Red Sox best outfielder this decade, and it wasn't close. Finishing 1st in WAR amongst all players to wear a Red Sox uniform since 2010, Betts was arguably the Red Sox best player this decade, making right field the easiest position to decide. Let's dive into the numbers, shall we? Over the course of 6 seasons and 794 games, Betts posted a 42 WAR, a slash line of .301/.374/.519/.893, 139 home runs, 965 hits, 470 RBI's, 126 stolen bases, and 613 runs scored. His accomplishments this decade are second to none: Betts is a 2018 World Series Champion, the only MVP (2018) of the decade for the Red Sox, a batting title champion (2018), the recipient of the TSN Major League Player of the Year (2018), the 2018 Wilson Defensive Player of the Year, a 4x All Star, 4x Gold Glove winner, and 3x Silver Slugger. With all of this in mind, it doesn't even take any thought to name Mookie Betts as the Red Sox All Decade Right Fielder.

Runner Up: Daniel Nava (2010, 2012-2015)

Notables: 2013 World Series Champion, 424 G, 7.7 WAR, .267/.357/.387/.744, 23 HR, 351 H, 169 RBI's, 197 BB/300 SO.

Designated Hitter:

All Decade Designated Hitter: David Ortiz

Years Active: 2010-2016

David Ortiz is the source of the Red Sox most signature and memorable moments in their franchise history. He was the powerhouse that led them to a World Series title in 2013, like he did in 2004 and 2007. He is also the only player on this list to have their number retired, and have a street named after them in the town of Boston. David Ortiz, although retired, still remains the face of Red Sox baseball. His impact on this team looms much larger than this decade, and much larger than this century: he's arguably the best player in the history of their franchise. We don't have to go over his numbers from this decade, but let's do it anyway. Over the course of 7 seasons and 957 games, David Ortiz posted a WAR of 25.3, a .292/.383/.562/.945 slash line, 224 home runs, 1014 hits, 252 doubles, 700 RBI's, 530 runs scored, and a BB/SO ratio of 524/643. In this decade, Ortiz was a 5x All Star, the most of any player for the Red Sox, and that is only half of his cumulative total. He was also a 3x Silver Slugger this decade, and received top 10 MVP consideration in two seasons: 2013 and 2016, where he finished in 10th and 6th. Ortiz also generated the Red Sox most memorable moment of the decade in 2013, when he hit a grand slam off Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit in the 8th inning of Game 2 of the ALCS. The Red Sox would eventually win this series, and go onto to win the 2013 World Series, where Ortiz was named MVP, in large part due to his unprecedented .688 batting average during that series. There's no more explaining to do, David Ortiz is the DH of the decade.

Runner Up: Hanley Ramirez (2015-2018)

Notables: 2018 World Series Champion, 429 G, 1.5 WAR, .260/.326/.450/.777, 78 HR, 422 H, 255 RBI's, 223 R.

Pitching Staff

For pitchers, since there is a much more extensive roster, we will not do breakdowns of each player, and there will be no runner ups. Instead, we will just list their names, and some of their notables.

Starting Pitchers

1. Chris Sale

Years Active: 2017-2019

Notables: 2018 World Series Champion, 2x All Star, 2 Top 5 Cy Young Finishes, 1 Top 10 MVP Finish, 84 G, 519.2 IP, 15.1 WAR, 35-23, 3.08 ERA, 2.57 FIP, 763 K/114 BB.

2. Jon Lester

Years Active: 2010-2014

Notables: 2013 World Series Champion, 3x All Star, 2 Top 5 Cy Young Finishes, 161 G, 1038 IP, 17.5 WAR, 74-51, 3.54 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 970 K/341 BB.

3. Rick Porcello

Years Active: 2015-2019

Notables: 2018 World Series Champion, 2016 Cy Young Winner, 159 G, 964 IP, 9.4 WAR, 73-55, 4.43 ERA, 4.15 FIP, 852 K/211 BB.

4. David Price

Years Active: 2016-2019

Notables: 2018 World Series Champion, 103 G, 588 IP, 10.8 WAR, 150-80, 3.84 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 609 K/156 BB.

5. Clay Buchholz

Years Active: 2010-2016

Notables: 2013 World Series Champion, 2x All Star, 1 Top 10 Cy Young Finish, 170 G, 977 IP, 13.7 WAR, 69-47, 3.78 ERA, 3.95 FIP, 737 K/330 BB.

Bullpen

Closer

All Decade Closer: Koji Uehara

Years Active: 2013-2016

Notables: 2013 World Series Champion, ALCS MVP, 1x All Star, 1 Top 10 Cy Young Finish, 1 Top 20 MVP Finish, 230 G, 226 IP, 7.4 WAR, 14-13, 79/91 SV, 2.19 ERA, 2.57 FIP, 291/37 K/BB, 0.59 Postseason ERA.

Everyone Else, AKA The Rest of the Bullpen (We'll Include Other Closers, Too)

1. Craig Kimbrel

Years Active: 2016-2018

Notables: 2018 World Series Champion, 3x All Star, 1 Top 10 Cy Young Finish, 187 G, 184.1 IP, 6.7 WAR, 12-7, 108/119 SV, 2.44 ERA, 2.43 FIP, 305/75 K/BB, 5.14 Postseason ERA.

2. Brandon Workman

Years Active: 2013-2019

Notables: 2013 and 2018 World Series Champion, 188 G (18 GS), 281.1 IP, 3.3 WAR, 24-16, 16/22 SV, 3.74 ERA, 3.79 FIP, 295/123 K/BB, 4.66 Postseason ERA.

3. Jonathan Papelbon

Years Active: 2010-2011

Notables: 128 G, 131.1 IP, 1.7 WAR, 9-8, 68/79 SV, 3.43 ERA, 2.54 FIP, 163/38 K/BB.

4. Junichi Tazawa

Years Active: 2011-2016

Notables: 2013 World Series Champion, 296 G, 286.2 IP, 0.7 WAR, 15-17, 4/26 SV, 3.23 ERA, 3.11 FIP, 295/62 K/BB, 1.23 Postseason ERA.

5. Matt Barnes

Years Active: 2014-2019

Notables: 2018 World Series Champion, 301 G (2 GS), 314.1 IP, 3.2 WAR, 25-18, 6/20 SV, 4.07 ERA, 3.54 FIP, 407/145 K/BB, 0.87 Postseason ERA.

6. Joe Kelly

Years Active: 2014-2018

Notables: 2018 World Series Champion, 182 G (41 GS), 359.1 IP, 2.9 WAR, 26-11, 3/20 SV, 4.33 ERA, 4.05 FIP, 319/164 K/BB, 0.52 Postseason ERA.

So there you have it---the 2010's Boston Red Sox All Decade Team. With this decade in the rear-view mirror, we'll close it out by looking at the team achievements the Red Sox made over the last 10 years:

2 World Series: 2013 and 2018

Best Season in Franchise History: 2018, 108-54.

4 AL East Titles: 2013, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Here's to the next 10 years!