Center Field: Jacoby Ellsbury
Jacoby Ellsbury will go down in history as one of the worst free-agent signings that the New York Yankees ever made but he earned that lucrative contract based on what he did during the first few years of the decade in Boston.
Ellsbury had a career-year in 2011 when he hit .321 with a .928 OPS, 32 home runs and 39 steals to finish as the runner-up in the AL MVP race. He also won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award that season.
That year would end up being Ellsbury’s only All-Star campaign. He never again hit more than 16 homers in a single season or finished higher than 15th in MVP voting.
His last year in Boston was another strong season. Ellsbury hit .298 and tallied a league-leading 52 stolen bases in 2013 while setting the table at the top of a lineup that would capture a World Series title.
Ellsbury’s career has gone in the tank since moving to the Bronx. Injuries sapped his production and he hasn’t seen the field since 2017 despite collecting paychecks from the Yankees.
His production with the Red Sox to begin the decade makes him an easy choice for this list though. Jackie Bradley Jr. is the only one who comes close thanks to his stellar defense. He did have one All-Star season but Bradley’s peak wasn’t anything close to what we saw from Ellsbury in 2011. Ellsbury’s 14.8 fWAR with the Red Sox this decade tops Bradley’s 13.5 fWAR despite that JBJ has played more than twice as many games with the club during that span.