TEN YEARS OF MLB SERVICE IS THE HOLY GRAIL FOR PLAYERS. THROUGHOUT BASEBALL HISTORY, FEWER THAN 10 PERCENT OF PLAYERS HAVE POSSESSED THE COMBINATION OF TALENT, HEALTH, RESILIENCE, PERSEVERANCE AND GOOD FORTUNE TO ACHIEVE THE FEAT.
THIS YEAR, THE MLBPA WILL BE RECOGNIZING THE NEWEST MEMBERS OF THE FRATERNITY, STARTING WITH THE PLAYERS WHO PASSED 10 YEARS OF SERVICE TIME IN APRIL, MAY, JUNE, JULY & AUGUST.
Xander Bogaerts joined Sidney Ponson, Calvin Maduro, Eugene Kingsale and Radames Dykhoff as the fifth Aruba native to play in the majors when he made his debut with the Red Sox in 2013. A natural shortstop, he contributed to Boston’s World Series run despite playing out of position at third base as a rookie. He went on to capture another ring, make four All-Star teams and win four Silver Slugger Awards before signing with the Padres as a free agent in December. Since 2016, Bogaerts leads all shortstops in hits, doubles and walks and is fourth in home runs.
Travis d’Arnaud has been a solid and reliable catcher over parts of 11 major league seasons with the Mets, Braves, Rays and Dodgers. After signing with the Phillies out of his Long Beach, Calif., high school in 2007, d’Arnaud went to Toronto as part of a four-team, 10-player trade in 2010. He reached the majors with New York two years later and has since made a National League All-Star team and won a Silver Slugger Award in Atlanta. His older brother Chase played seven seasons in the majors with the Pirates and five other clubs.
Brad Boxberger, a Southern California native, pitched for the USC Trojans and was a second-team All-American. He followed in the footsteps of his father, Rod, who was named Most Outstanding Player in the 1978 College World Series while at USC. Boxberger has logged 501 relief appearances with the Rays, Padres, Brewers, Royals, Diamondbacks, Cubs and Marlins. He recorded a league-leading 41 saves for Tampa Bay while making the All-Star team in 2015, and notched 32 saves with Arizona in 2018. He has a career ratio of 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings.
Kyle Gibson, born in Indiana, pitched for the University of Missouri and entered pro ball as a first-round pick by Minnesota in the 2009 draft. He has logged a 102-98 career record and a 4.55 ERA, almost exclusively as a starter, in stops with the Twins, Rangers, Phillies and Orioles. Gibson made the All-Star team with Texas in 2021. He is active in charity work off the field and has made off-season missionary trips to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. He is a two-time Roberto Clemente Award nominee, with Minnesota in 2019 and Philadelphia in 2022.
Nick Castellanos, a Florida native, was the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year as a high school senior. He signed with Detroit as the 44th overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft and spent almost a decade in the Tigers’ organization before moving on to play for the Reds, Cubs and Phillies. He was a National League All-Star in 2021 and ’23 and also has a Silver Slugger Award on his resume. From 2014-2022, Castellanos amassed 305 doubles, fifth highest total in the majors behind Freddie Freeman, Nolan Arenado, Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts.
Aaron Hicks was born and raised in Long Beach, Calif., and is a product of Major League Baseball’s Urban Youth Academy. He signed with the Twins as a first-round draft pick in 2008 and made his MLB debut five years later, wearing No. 32 in honor of Hall of Famer Dave Winfield. He has since logged time in the outfield with the Yankees and Orioles. Hicks put up his most productive offensive numbers in 2019, hitting 27 homers, driving in 79 runs and posting an .833 OPS in 137 games with New York.
Illinois native Jake Odorizzi signed out of high school as a first-round pick with the Brewers, made his MLB debut with the Royals and has since pitched for the Rays, Twins, Astros and Braves. Odorizzi’s best season came in 2019 with Minnesota, when he went 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA, averaged 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings and made the All-Star team. The Rangers acquired Odorizzi by trade from Atlanta in November, but he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in April and has missed the entire 2023 season. He’s a career 74-69 with a 3.99 ERA.
Ryan Pressly has appeared in 555 games – all in relief – over parts of 11 big league seasons. The Red Sox selected him out of Edward S. Marcus High School in Dallas in the 2007 draft, and Pressly made his big league debut as a Rule 5 pick with Minnesota six years later. After pitching primarily in a setup role with the Twins, Pressly has blossomed as a closer in Houston. He’s amassed 102 saves with the Astros, made two All-Star teams, and recorded the final out against Philadelphia in the clinching game of the 2022 World Series.
Sonny Gray grew up in Nashville, Tenn., and stayed close to home to pitch for Vanderbilt University. After he helped lead the Commodores to the first College World Series berth in school history, the Oakland A’s selected him with the 18th pick in the 2011 MLB draft. Gray logged a combined 28-17 record over the 2014-2015 seasons, surpassed 200 innings both years and made his first All-Star team at age 25. In 2015, he finished third in American League Cy Young Award balloting behind Dallas Keuchel and David Price. Gray spent two years with the Yankees and has since been an All-Star with the Reds and his current team, the Twins.
Michael Wacha grew up in Texas and pitched collegiate ball for Texas A&M before breaking into professional ball with the St. Louis Cardinals as the 19th pick in the 2012 MLB draft. As a 6-foot-6 right-hander, he elicited comparisons to veterans Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright early in his career. Wacha made a big early impression by throwing 13 2/3 shutout innings against the Dodgers to win the 2013 NLCS Most Valuable Player Award. His best season came in 2015, when he went 17-7 with a 3.38 ERA and made the NL All-Star team. After seven seasons in St. Louis, he has spent the last four years with the Mets, Rays, Red Sox and Padres.
Christian Yelich, a Southern California native, was a first-round pick by the Marlins in the 2010 MLB draft. He is a two-time batting champion, a three-time Silver Slugger Award winner and a two-time All-Star over 11 seasons with the Marlins and his current team, the Brewers. Yelich hit .326 with 36 home runs and a league-high 343 total bases to win the National League MVP Award in 2018 and followed up with 44 homers and a .329/.429/.671 slash line to finish second in MVP balloting the following year. He has hit for three career cycles – all with Milwaukee against the Cincinnati Reds – and is one of only six big leaguers ever with three.
Corey Dickerson is a .280 career hitter with an .803 OPS over parts of 11 seasons as an outfielder with the Rockies, Rays, Pirates, Phillies, Marlins, Blue Jays, Cardinals and Nationals. A Mississippi native, Dickerson signed with Colorado as an eighth-round pick out of Meridian Community College in 2008. In 2017, he hit .325 with 17 home runs in the first half as Tampa Bay’s DH to win a starting berth in the All-Star Game. The following year in Pittsburgh, he led major league left fielders with a .996 fielding percentage and won a Gold Glove.
Brad Hand broke into professional ball in 2008 as a second-round draft pick by the Marlins out of Chaska High School in Minnesota. He began his career as a starter before transitioning to the bullpen at age 25. Hand led the major leagues with 82 appearances for San Diego in 2016 and has since logged time in the bullpen with Cleveland, Washington, the Mets, Toronto, Philadelphia and Colorado. He has recorded 131 saves, made three All-Star teams and limited lefty hitters to a .191 batting average over the course of his career.
Wil Myers is a .252 hitter with 156 home runs over 11 seasons with the Rays, Padres and Reds. A North Carolina native, Myers was a highly regarded catching prospect in the Royals organization before being traded to Tampa Bay as part of a seven-player deal in December 2012. In 2013, Myers batted .293 with 13 homers in 88 games to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award. He averaged 29 homers, 84 RBIs and 24 stolen bases during his age 25-26 seasons and made the National League All-Star team as San Diego’s regular first baseman in 2016.
Zack Wheeler, a Georgia native, signed his first professional contract with the Giants as the sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft. Two years later, San Francisco traded him to the Mets for veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran. After logging 185 innings for New York in 2014, Wheeler underwent Tommy John surgery and missed two seasons. His best season came in 2021, when he made the National League All-Star team, finished second in Cy Young balloting and punched out 247 hitters to become the first Phillies pitcher since Curt Schilling in 1998 to lead the league in strikeouts.
Gerrit Cole has made five All-Star teams as a starting pitcher over 11 major league seasons with the Pirates, Astros and Yankees. He has finished among the top five in Cy Young Award balloting five times. A Southern California native, Cole starred in college at UCLA and signed with Pittsburgh as the top overall pick in the 2011 draft. Cole recently became the 87th pitcher in MLB history and the ninth active pitcher to log 2,000 career strikeouts. Only Chris Sale and Pedro Martinez needed fewer innings to reach the milestone.
Marcell Ozuna is a .267 hitter with 207 home runs over 11 seasons as an outfielder with the Marlins, Cardinals and Braves. Ozuna turned pro out of his native Dominican Republic at age 17 and made his major league debut with Miami in 2013. He is a two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner and won a Gold Glove with the Marlins in 2017. Ozuna led the National League with 18 homers, 56 RBIs and 145 total bases during the Covid-shortened 2020 season and finished sixth in NL MVP balloting.
Anthony Rendon, born and raised in Houston, was an All-American at Rice University before signing with Washington as the sixth overall pick in the 2011 draft. He is a .285 career hitter with two Silver Slugger Awards and four top 10 Most Valuable Player finishes over parts of 11 seasons with the Nationals and Angels. In 2019, Rendon led the NL with 44 doubles and 126 RBIs and finished third in NL MVP voting. He hit .328 with three home runs in the postseason to help lead the Nationals to a World Championship.
Alex Wood, a North Carolina native and University of Georgia Bulldog, signed with the Braves as a second-round draft pick in 2012. He broke into the big leagues with Atlanta a year later and has since pitched for the Dodgers, Reds and Giants. Wood’s best season came in 2017, when he went 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA for the Dodgers, made the National League All-Star team and finished ninth in Cy Young Award balloting. He notched his 1,000th career strikeout against his former team, the Braves, on June 23, 2022.
Nolan Arenado, a Southern California native, ranks among the most decorated and accomplished third basemen in baseball history at age 32. He is a seven-time All-Star with five Silver Slugger Awards and six top 10 MVP finishes for the Rockies and Cardinals. Arenado’s 10 career Gold Gloves tie him with Mike Schmidt for second most at his position behind Brooks Robinson’s 16. He is one of only eight players with 300 home runs and 10 or more Gold Gloves.
Avisail Garcia, a Venezuela native, broke into the big leagues with the Tigers in 2012 and made a World Series appearance at age 21. He has since played for the White Sox, Rays, Brewers and Marlins. Garcia hit .330 with an .885 OPS for Chicago in 2017 and made the American League’s All-Star outfield. His best power production came in 2021, when he hit 29 homers and drove in 86 runs for Milwaukee.
Starling Marte is a two-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winning outfielder over parts of 12 seasons with the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Marlins, Athletics and Mets. In 2012, Marte became the first graduate of Pittsburgh’s Latin American complex in the Dominican Republic to reach the majors. He is one of 31 players in MLB history to hit a home run on the first pitch of his first career at-bat. Marte ranks second to Elvis Andrus among active big leaguers with 322 stolen bases.
Will Smith, a product of Newnan, Ga., and Gulf Coast State College, signed with the Angels as a seventh-round draft pick in 2008. He has logged 523 career appearances -- all but 17 in relief -- with the Royals, Brewers, Giants, Braves, Astros and Rangers. Smith recorded 34 saves with San Francisco and made the NL All-Star team in 2019. Two years later, he notched a career-high 37 saves for Atlanta. He has a stellar 1.47 ERA in 20 career postseason appearances.