While many will say the Patriots attributed the most to Boston’s last decade of championship success, it would be unfair to exclude the Red Sox from the conversation. Since 2013, they have made it to the postseason four times and won two championships. The Red Sox’ success in recent years has been a testament to the organization’s high standards throughout the organization. While offensive superstars like Mookie Betts, David Ortiz, and others undoubtedly played a large part in the success of the team, it is the starting pitching in Boston that served as a major role in the team’s decade of dominance.
In this list, we’ll be breaking down the Boston Red Sox top five starters of the last decade. Before we begin, it’s important to note that this list is entirely subjective and is made at the discretion of the publisher. Secondly, the ranking of these players is based on their performances since 2010. Lastly, these rankings are based only on the players’ time in Boston.
*Honorable Mentions- Josh Beckett, Eduardo Rodriguez, John Lackey
5). Earning the number five spot on our list is David Price. In the winter of 2015, Price became a member of the Boston Red Sox, signing a deal worth $217 million over seven years. The contract at the time made the former Cy Young award winner the highest-paid pitcher in the league. Many fans of the team and people around the country for that matter were shocked by Price’s payday. Sure, Price had established himself as a solid starting option through his years with Tampa Bay, but the Red Sox needed an ace.
Over his four seasons with Boston, David Price has posted solid numbers. As of today, he is averaging an ERA of 3.81 in Boston, with a winning percentage of .657% (46-24) as a starter. Since coming to Boston in 2016, David Price has managed to put up winning records in four consecutive seasons. Price’s two most memorable seasons have come in 2016 and 2018, in which he eclipsed the 15 win plateau in both seasons. The 34-year-old also helped guide the team to a World Series victory in 2018.
4). Clay Buchholz- Okay, let’s clear the air. There’s no question that Clay Buchholz is remembered as a very, very polarizing figure in Red Sox folk lore. Walk into any Boston home, restaurant,hospital, etc. and ask what someone thinks when they hear the name “Clay Buchholz”, and you’re bound to get a different response each time. Could it be possible that Buchholz isundeserving of the negative stigma that surrounds him?
Based on his name making the number four spot on the list, I’m sure you’ve figured outthat our answer is “yes.”
Plagued by throwing a no-hitter in his rookie season, the expectations for Buchholz in a Red Sox uniform early on were to the moon. When the young pitcher failed to meet these expectations in his first few seasons, he was subjected to heavy ridicule. However, the start of the decade turned a new leaf for Buchholz. 2010 was a breakout year for the right-hander, as he finished the year with a 17-7 record, coming in second behind only Jon Lester. In his seven seasons with the Sox from 2010-16, Buchholz averaged an impressive 3.64 ERA and a record of 69-47 (.595 win%). The true culmination of Buchholz’s work came in 2013 when he went 12-1, with a 1.74 ERA.
Buchholz may not be the greatest Boston pitcher in recent memory, but he played an integral role in landing the Sox their first championship of the decade and certainly deserves recognition for that.
3). Coming in on the number three spot on our list is Rick Porcello. After playing the first six years of his career with Detroit, Porcello signed with the Red Sox in 2015. While his numbers were nothing to write home about, those inside the organization were hopeful that Porcello would improve in the Sox system.
After a disastrous 2015 campaign, Porcello skyrocketed his career with a Cy Young award the following year. He finished 2016 with a league-leading 22 wins and an ERA of 3.15. He also finished second in the league in WHIP of 1.009 and additionally won the AL comeback player of the year. Despite his successful season, his Porcello’s numbers have fluctuated between great and awful. As of this December, he has an average ERA of 4.50, which is higher than expected of a Cy Young caliber player. On a positive note, 2018 served as a great year for Sox starter, as he led the team with 17 wins en rout to a World Series championship.
The future in Boston for Rick Porcello may be uncertain, but his value for the Sox over the past few years has been underestimated.
2). Jon Lester
Number two on the list goes to Jon Lester, who was Drafted 57th overall in the second round of the 2002 MLB draft. It took Lester minimal developmental time to make an impact in the majors. Throughout the first four and a half years of the decade, Lester served as a force to be reckoned with. From 2010 to mid-2014, he averaged an ERA of 3.95, while sporting a record of 68- 47. In that span, Lester also dealt with six combined complete games, including a no-hitter.
During his years in Bean-town, Lester accumulated several individual achievements as well. During his tenure in Boston Lester, represented the Red Sox in three different All-Star games. Lester also won two World Series before being while becoming a fan favorite. Although Lester’s had an impressive run in Boston, the top spot in this list belongs to another ace.
1). Chris Sale- After spending seven years with the Chicago White Sox, Sale was at his limit with the organization. Year after year, his talents were squandered with a mediocre ball club. Enter the Boston Red Sox, who dealt one of two of their top prospects in Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech. Upon his arrival in Boston back in 2017, Sale came just as advertised: tall, lanky, and nasty on the mound. He piled up monster numbers, leading the A.L in K’s (308) and I.P (214.1). Additionally, Sale finished that year in B.A. (2.08), A.B.(794), and ERA (2.90).
Fast forward a couple of years, and these statements are still ringing true. While his numbers over the last season dipped dramatically due to injury, Sale is still one of the games best. As of today, his ERA with the Red Sox sits at 3.13. That includes Sale’s down 2019 campaign, where he had a dreadful ERA of 4.40 while battling ongoing injuries. Since joining the Red Sox, Sale has racked up 35 wins against 23 losses. He was a starter for the A.L in the All-Star game in back to back years from 2017-18, demonstrating why he is one of the game’s top pitchers.
While his 2019 was tarnished due to nagging injuries, when healthy he is still one baseballs elite talents.