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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Barbarisi: Papelbon enters Cy Young debate

A Papel visit to Baseball-Reference once in a while would be nice.

The question took Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon off guard. Did he think he should be part of the Cy Young conversation?

“I don’t know man, how many times has a closer won the Cy Young, once?” Told it had happened at least seven times, he raised his eyebrows. “Seven times? I think for me, it’s just going out there and doing what I’m trying to do. If it happens, it happens. Who knows, man, we’ve still got a lot of baseball to determine that. Who knows?”

The idea of Papelbon contending for the Cy Young this year would shock many attentive Red Sox fans as well.

His core numbers are excellent: a 1.89 ERA and 36 saves. But anyone who has watched him - or looked up how many hits and walks he was allowing - could tell that for much of the year, this wasn’t the same pitcher who shortened games for Boston from 2006 to 2008. Papelbon allowed nearly 1.5 baserunners per inning before the All-Star break, and many of his successful saves were roller-coaster rides of walks, hits, and then finally strikeouts.

That has changed over the past month. Papelbon is now pitching efficiently and effectively, backing up his excellent core numbers with shutdown, worry-free performances, like Sunday’s three-strikeout scoreless inning. Since the end of July, he has improved to the point where talking about whether he should be in the Cy Young mix isn’t that crazy after all.

Repoz Posted: September 15, 2009 at 10:33 AM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: awards, red sox

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 15, 2009 at 11:17 AM (#3322058)
I always knew you wouldn't want to see Papelbon on Jeopardy.

Based on his knowledge of the Cy Young Award, I don't think you want to see him on "Stump the Schwab", either...
   2. Walt Davis Posted: September 15, 2009 at 11:30 AM (#3322060)
y'know, I'm starting to think:

I haven't blown a save all season. In fact, I've yet to give up an earned run. I think it's time my name got tossed into the Cy Young debate.

and Mike Crudale.
   3. JRVJ (formerly Delta Socrates) Posted: September 15, 2009 at 11:49 AM (#3322064)
I suppose it's cute that New England newspapers are joining the my-reliever-should-win-the-Cy over Greinke bandwagon, but as of right now, the only reliever who has a chance to win the Cy is Mariano (and he's not getting it, either, even as an audience appreciation award).

FTR - As of end of the Sunday's games, Mariano had a better ERA+, a better H/9, a better BB/9 and a MUCH better K/BB (and he pitched a scoreless, one BB inning yesterday).

Papelbon does have 3.1 more innings pitched than Mariano (which is not that much), and slightly better HR/9 and K/9 than Mariano, but the differences are negligible.
   4. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: September 15, 2009 at 11:53 AM (#3322066)
...What?
   5. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 15, 2009 at 12:00 PM (#3322069)
Y'know, just yesterday I was thinking to myself that at least the local papers hadn't joined the fanboy campaigning that we've seen for Jeter lately and started pimping Youk for MVP or something stupid like this.

Oh well.
   6. Textbook Editor Posted: September 15, 2009 at 12:05 PM (#3322073)
The only possible answer here is "No."
   7. OCD SS Posted: September 15, 2009 at 12:09 PM (#3322074)
Listen, even as a Sox fan, the only way I think a person can reasonably finish the phrase "Paplebon enters [the] CY Young debate" is by adding "by crashing through the front door uninvited, blundering loudly into the hostess, knocking her over, and then peeing in the fireplace before throwing up in the bathtub, which he passed out in. It was a great party."
   8. Rusty Priske Posted: September 15, 2009 at 12:18 PM (#3322076)
I honestly thought that 'enters the debate' meant he weighed in on who he thought should win.

The idea that he is a candidate is ludicrous.
   9. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: September 15, 2009 at 12:25 PM (#3322080)
Hahahahaha no
   10. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: September 15, 2009 at 01:09 PM (#3322090)
The only pitcher with a non-ridiculous argument for winning the Cy Young Award over Greinke is Felix Hernandez, because his ERA and innings are close enough, and he does have a much better record.

Greinke not winning would be stupid. Anyone but Hernandez winning over Greinke would be criminal.
   11. The Original SJ Posted: September 15, 2009 at 01:10 PM (#3322091)
He is probably in the top 40.
   12. Famous Original Joe C Posted: September 15, 2009 at 01:12 PM (#3322092)
I was trying to think of some crazy way to justify sneaking Papelbon in as at least a top 3 candidate, based on some creative "analysis" that I didn't really believe but could be right if you saw it through just the right red colored lenses...

...but no. There's no way. I love Papelbon, defended him when other Red Sox fans were saying earlier this year that he was hurt or losing his effectiveness...but there's NO argument for him to even be in the CYA discussion.
   13. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: September 15, 2009 at 01:26 PM (#3322098)
My CYA ballot would be:

1. Greinke
2. Hernandez
3. Halladay

If Halladay's ERA were to jump up a couple of tenths in the last month and Rivera were to go the rest of the month without giving up a run (while actually pitching), I could see putting Rivera in there at 3, but those top two look to be pretty much locked in right where they are.

If there were ten spots, I could put Papelbon on there somewhere at the bottom.
   14. Nasty Nate Posted: September 15, 2009 at 01:31 PM (#3322102)
not a bad season for a guy who is 'done' and seriously injured
   15. plim Posted: September 15, 2009 at 01:43 PM (#3322113)
as a sox fan, if he couldn't garner a single vote in the last 3 years, then there's no way he could get one, let alone win this year.

if you choose selective end points, i wasn't able to find a single closer besides dennis eckersley who had 2 years, let alone consecutive, of 2.00 era and 0.800 whip or better. and those aren't even papelbon's best numbers - that would be 1.85 and 0.776. gagne comes close. no gagne, nathan, rivera, wagner, etc.

in fact, mariano had his first such season last year!

eck 89, 90
gagne 03
goose 81
nathan 06
papelbon 06, 07
putz 07
rivera 08
saito 07
wagner 99

that's the list.
   16. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 15, 2009 at 03:10 PM (#3322173)
Granted, Wagner's season was 10 years ago, but it is kind of cool that the Red Sox bullpen current has 3 of the 9 pitchers on the above list...and I still think Bard is the second-best reliever the Red Sox have.
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: September 15, 2009 at 03:26 PM (#3322187)
Papelbon allowed nearly 1.5 baserunners per inning before the All-Star break, and many of his successful saves were roller-coaster rides of walks, hits, and then finally strikeouts.


am I reading this right, he is in the discussion because he sucked for the most part early in the season then got hot? I'm guessing Yankee writers aren't the only one with a case of the stupids. Seriously is there any way he would be considered a Cy Young favorite if the award was for relievers only? I guess I can see a third place vote for him behind Nathan and Rivera but Aardsma deserves consideration also.
   18. Dale Sams Posted: September 15, 2009 at 03:33 PM (#3322196)
Someone was just trying to get Papelbon to say something stupid.
   19. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 15, 2009 at 03:34 PM (#3322197)
Notably in his absence from that list is Hoffman, of course.

It's a weird list, Gagne is the only guy to do it in more than 80 innings, while Wagner, Eck's '90, Putz and Rivera are the only guys over 70. Gossage (in a strike year), Eck's '89 and Papelbon's '07 all came in fewer than 60 innings.
   20. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 15, 2009 at 03:38 PM (#3322200)
What's also weird is that the different between .800 and .900 is huge, there's 11 seasons at .800 and under, but 30 at .900 and under. I guess that's just the nature of the modern closer.
   21. RJ in TO Posted: September 15, 2009 at 03:47 PM (#3322208)
Someone was just trying to get Papelbon to say something stupid.


Although I agree with you that this is obviously what happened, I'm somewhat shocked by the notion that you would actually have to try to get Papelbon to say something stupid. I figured that he'd be more than willing to bring the stupid without any external prompting.
   22. Dizzypaco Posted: September 15, 2009 at 03:52 PM (#3322214)
am I reading this right, he is in the discussion because he sucked for the most part early in the season then got hot?

He's not in the discussion. The only one's talking about him being a candidate is one writer from a small, unimportant newspaper, and people on this thread. The first sentence said the question took him off-guard. Doesn't that suggest that no one has raised it before?
   23. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 15, 2009 at 03:53 PM (#3322217)
The first sentence said the question took him off-guard. Doesn't that suggest that no one has raised it before?
Well, this is Jonathan Papelbon, so who knows?
   24. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 15, 2009 at 05:37 PM (#3322392)
There is no question but that the Cy Young Award should go to Yankee Captain Derek Jeter. Zach and King Felix's teams are out of the playoff picture, so clearly they lack leadership abilities. Derek Jeter is so good with the glove, especially that exciting jump-throw from the hole he loves to do, that it's like having an extra pitcher in the field. An extra Cy Young Award-winning pitcher on the field.

And that is why Derek Jeter should win the Cy Young Award.
   25. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: September 15, 2009 at 05:55 PM (#3322415)
What's also weird is that the different between .800 and .900 is huge, there's 11 seasons at .800 and under, but 30 at .900 and under. I guess that's just the nature of the <strike>modern closer</strike> Bell curve.

FTFY.
   26. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 15, 2009 at 06:09 PM (#3322445)
FTFY.
Well, yes. But I more meant that because closers throw so few innings, a small number of base runners can change the figure. For example, Rivera would have qualified in '05 if he'd allowed six fewer base runners. That's not even one every ten appearences. By the same token, if Nathan had allowed one more walk or hit in '06 it wouldn't be on the list.

It's a fun list, but with differences that small, I'm not sure it means too much.
   27. plim Posted: September 15, 2009 at 06:33 PM (#3322472)
Granted, Wagner's season was 10 years ago, but it is kind of cool that the Red Sox bullpen current has 3 of the 9 pitchers on the above list...and I still think Bard is the second-best reliever the Red Sox have.

and they used to have gagne. i think that's what theo was doing: take papelbon's best seasons, see who duplicated that, and acquire them, just in case if we lose papelbon. no matter if they haven't done that in 5 years =P

What's also weird is that the different between .800 and .900 is huge, there's 11 seasons at .800 and under, but 30 at .900 and under. I guess that's just the nature of the modern closer.


if you lower it to papelbon's career numbers (1.85/.776), the number goes down to 8, and half of them are eck/pap.

speaking of eck, there's some evidence for you. eck finished 6th and 5th in 89/90, argubably 2 of the best seasons in closer history. the irony being that he won it in 92, with worse numbers.
   28. Walt Davis Posted: September 15, 2009 at 09:07 PM (#3322701)
i think that's what theo was doing: take papelbon's best seasons, see who duplicated that, and acquire them, just in case if we lose papelbon. no matter if they haven't done that in 5 years =P

This would also explain Smoltz. :-)
   29. Famous Original Joe C Posted: September 16, 2009 at 02:12 AM (#3323078)
Three pitchers. Two and one.

A: 1082 IP, 202 ERA+
B: 1118 IP, 200 ERA+

Which of A or B is two pitchers, which is one, and who are they all?

One of them should be plainly obvious for this crowd.
   30. AJMcCringleberry Posted: September 16, 2009 at 02:30 AM (#3323094)
m I reading this right, he is in the discussion because he sucked for the most part early in the season then got hot?

Why not, it works for MVPs.
   31. Srul Itza Posted: September 16, 2009 at 03:17 AM (#3323138)
So which 2 pitchers are B?
   32. villageidiom Posted: September 16, 2009 at 03:33 AM (#3323148)
A is Mariano Rivera.
   33. villageidiom Posted: September 16, 2009 at 03:38 AM (#3323151)
B is Papelbon + Wagner?
   34. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 16, 2009 at 03:50 AM (#3323156)
Easy. B is Rivera plus Emiliano Fruto.
   35. Famous Original Joe C Posted: September 16, 2009 at 04:30 AM (#3323176)
B is Papelbon + Wagner?

Yeah. I love me some Papelbon, but he still has to have Billy Wagner's career, which would take him through age 42, to catch Rivera in career value - and then there's the postseason. Rivera is the Jerry Rice of baseball.
   36. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: September 16, 2009 at 11:54 AM (#3323263)
Papelbon enters Cy Young debate

...and promptly gets kicked out.

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