First Base: Adrian Gonzalez
Adrian Gonzalez‘s tenure in Boston is often viewed with disdain for reasons that are a bit unfair. Much of this stems from being a part of a 2011 team that suffered a soul-crushing September collapse. Gonzalez was also the centerpiece of a blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers that helped reset the franchise by shedding several overpaid, disgruntled players.
Many wrongly assumed that escaping San Diego’s pitcher-friendly park would result in an even greater power surge from the former 40-homer slugger. That left those fans disappointed when his home run totals actually declined with the move to Fenway Park.
That doesn’t mean he was unproductive. In his only full season with the Red Sox, Gonzalez led the league with 213 hits while batting .338/.410/.548 with 27 home runs and 117 RBI. He was named an All-Star, won the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards at his position and finished seventh on the AL MVP ballot. No other Red Sox first baseman has come close to matching that production this decade.
Gonzalez was in the midst of another productive season when he was traded in an August waiver deal with the Dodgers.
He didn’t spend much time in Boston but he produced 8.5 fWAR in parts of two seasons, narrowly topping Kevin Youkilis (8.0 fWAR) for the best among Red Sox first basemen this decade.
Youk’s best years were in the prior decade when he was a part of two championship teams. He began this decade with a couple of productive seasons, including an All-Star campaign in 2011. That wasn’t enough to top what Gonzalez produced though and Youkilis fell off a cliff in 2012 before he was traded to Chicago at the deadline.
Mitch Moreland was an All-Star in 2018. He’s a strong defensive player and his penchant for hitting doubles made Mitchy Two-Bags a fan-favorite in Boston. He struggled to stay on the field while battling an assortment of injuries and his peak wasn’t close to what we’ve seen from Gonzalez or Youkilis. Moreland’s 2.2 fWAR over the last three years is only about a quarter of what those other two first basemen produced in fewer games.