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Mookie, Papi among Sox's best players of '10s

@IanMBrowne
December 20, 2019

BOSTON -- The case can be made that no team has had a greater volume of impact players in the last decade than the Red Sox. From the relentless slugging of David Ortiz and J.D. Martinez to the all-around greatness of Mookie Betts to the power pitching of Chris Sale,

BOSTON -- The case can be made that no team has had a greater volume of impact players in the last decade than the Red Sox.

From the relentless slugging of David Ortiz and J.D. Martinez to the all-around greatness of Mookie Betts to the power pitching of Chris Sale, Jon Lester and Craig Kimbrel, the Fenway fans have had plenty to cheer about.

Here are the Top 10 players of the decade for the Red Sox.

1. David Ortiz
Seasons: 2003-16

The clutch slugger would have surely been on Boston’s team of the decade that spanned 2001-09, and he didn’t slow down much in the 2010s. Ortiz was marvelous over the final seven seasons of his career, slashing .292/.383/.562 with 224 homers and 700 RBIs over 957 games. He led the squad to another World Series championship in ’13 and helped nurture many of the players who formed the nucleus of the ’18 champions.

2. Mookie Betts
Seasons: 2014-present

By the time Betts was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket in late June of 2014, the decade was nearly half over. But Betts quickly developed into one of the most electrifying players in Red Sox history. He is a standout in all facets of the game. In 794 games, Betts has a line of .301/.374/.519 with 139 homers, 470 RBIs and 126 stolen bases. The gifted right fielder won the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award in '18, and he has won an AL Gold Glove Award the past four seasons.

3. Dustin Pedroia
Seasons: 2006-present

Pedroia is the only player to appear in a game for the Red Sox in every year of the decade, though injuries have made him almost a non factor the past two seasons. Still, Pedroia did enough in the first eight years of the decade to earn a prominent spot on the Top 10. In 1,031 games since 2010, Pedroia has a line of .296/.363/.432 with 98 homers an 513 RBIs. Three of the four career AL Gold Glove Awards the second baseman won were in the past decade.

4. Jon Lester
Seasons: 2006-14

The lefty was a reliable workhorse for the Red Sox, going 68-47 with a 3.63 ERA from 2010 until he was traded to Oakland on July 31, 2014. In 961 1/ innings, Lester had 899 strikeouts. Lester’s postseason run in ’13 is one of the best in club history, as he went 4-1 with a 1.56 ERA in five starts. Lester was a lock for wins and innings in his years with the Red Sox.

5. Xander Bogaerts
Seasons: 2013-present

Along with Betts, Bogaerts has been a constant force in Boston’s lineup for the second half of the decade. In his 914-game career so far, he has a sturdy slash line of .288/.350/.451 with 107 homers and 503 RBIs. Bogaerts has also done a solid job at one of the most important positions -- shortstop. His leadership is yet another quality that makes him a vital component for Boston.

6. Chris Sale
Seasons: 2017-present

The ace lefty came to the Red Sox via a blockbuster trade at the 2016 Winter Meetings and has produced some of the most electrifying performances by a Boston pitcher since Pedro Martinez. In Sale’s first 84 starts for the Red Sox, he is 35-23 with a 3.08 ERA and has piled up 763 strikeouts in 519 2/3 innings. Signed for another five seasons, Sale looks to provide more where that came from. He also has a chip on his shoulder to rebound from an inconsistent and injury-plagued '19 season.

7. Craig Kimbrel
Seasons: 2016-18

Though Kimbrel struggled during Boston’s championship October of 2018, he was a force in his three regular seasons for the Red Sox, converting 108 of 119 save opportunities. Kimbrel’s combination of fastball and knuckle curve made many opposing hitters look silly. He had 14.89 K’s per nine innings and a 2.44 ERA for the Red Sox.

8. Koji Uehara
Seasons: 2013-16

Uehara didn’t have an overpowering fastball like Kimbrel, but his results were equally dominant. The Japanese righty converted 79 of 91 save opportunities for the Red Sox, striking out 11.59 per nine innings and producing a 2.19 ERA. How dominant was Uehara in the 2013 postseason? He pitched in 13 of the team’s 16 games and allowed just one run.

9. J.D. Martinez
Seasons: 2018-present

The slugger would rank higher on this list if he had spent more of the decade in Boston. Upon arrival, Martinez has done nothing but deliver. Over two seasons, with the Red Sox, he’s slashed .317/.392/.593 with 79 homers and 235 RBIs. Martinez is the best pure right-handed hitter Boston has had since Manny Ramirez.

10. David Price
Seasons: 2016-present

The lefty has generally delivered when healthy during his first four seasons with the Red Sox. The problem is that he’s had more injuries than anyone planned. Price has a 46-24 record and a 3.84 ERA in 103 games (98 starts) for the Red Sox, and 609 strikeouts in 588 innings. The one thing Price deserves a ton of credit for is completely reversing the narrative in the postseason. In his final three starts of the 2018 playoffs, Price went 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA. Two of those outings were on short rest.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.